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Cubs' Bryant named Fall League MVP11/16/2013 9:29 PM ET
By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com
Kris Bryant already had a Golden Spikes Award to his name this year. Now he can add another trophy to his 2013 mantle.
The Cubs' No. 4 prospect has been named the winner of the 2013 Joe Black Award, given to the Most Valuable Player in the Arizona Fall League. The award was announced before Saturday's AFL title game, which Mesa lost, 2-0, to Surprise.
"It has been an incredible year for me," Bryant told MLB.com's Jim Callis. "It didn't end the way I wanted, but I'm very excited about the future. I'm thankful the Cubs gave me the chance to come out here and work on my game."
Bryant led the circuit known as the graduate school for the game's best prospects with six homers, a .727 slugging percentage and a 1.184 OPS through 20 games for East Division champion Mesa. He also ranked among the league leaders in batting average (.364, fifth), OBP (.457, fourth), doubles (eight, second) and RBIs (17, seventh).
The 21-year-old third baseman started the year with an extremely impressive junior season at the University of San Diego, where he slashed .329/.493/.820 with a NCAA-high 31 homers and 62 RBIs. For his work, he was named the winner of the Golden Spikes Award, given to the best amateur baseball player in the country.
The Cubs selected Bryant second overall in the Draft in June, and he continued to exhibit the same impressive hitting prowess in the lower levels of the Minor Leagues. The right-handed slugger batted .336/.390/.688 with nine homers and 32 RBIs in 36 games between the Rookie-level Arizona League, Class A Short-Season Boise and Class A Advanced Daytona. He helped the D-Cubs to a Florida State League title, batting .350 with four RBIs in six playoff games.
"I'm such a perfectionist, so everything can always go better," he told MLB.com. "But this year has been one of the best years of my life. When I think about it in the offseason, I'll think of the great times I had in college, my first taste of pro ball and the Fall League, all the great players. It has been an incredible year."
Past winners of the Black Award in recent years include Chris McGuiness (2012), Nolan Arenado (2011) and Dustin Ackley (2010).
The Fall League also announced that No. 7 Red Sox prospect Garin Cecchini is the 2013 winner of the Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award. The honor, named after the deceased Reds outfielder, is given to the player who exhibits values of unselfishness, hard work and leadership.