CURVE, Pa. - The Altoona Curve, Double-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, announced their 2017 team awards on Sunday night at Peoples Natural Gas Field. First baseman Edwin Espinal was selected as the team's Most Valuable Player, and right-handers Alex McRae and Austin Coley were named the team's Co-Pitchers of the Year.
Additional award recognitions included the selection of first baseman/outfielder Jerrick Suiter as the team's Unsung Hero and reliever Tate Scioneaux as the Fireman of the Year.
This year's Altoona Curve Most Valuable Player Edwin Espinal ranks second on the team with a career-best 15 home runs this season. At the time of his promotion to Triple-A Indianapolis on July 28, Espinal ranked second in the Eastern League with 72 RBIs, second with 25 doubles and seventh with 104 hits while posting a .283 batting average.
Defensively, Espinal was the top first baseman in the Eastern League this season, posting a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in 81 games at the position. He set the record for the best fielding percentage by a Curve first baseman in franchise history, eclipsing the .995 mark set by Justin Howard (2013), Simon Pond (2006) and Josh Bonifay (2005).
Espinal was selected as the league's first baseman on the Season-Ending All-Star Team. He was also picked as an Eastern League Mid-Season All-Star in 2016 and 2017, becoming the fourth player in Curve history to receive multiple mid-season all-star nods, joining Shawn Garrett (2002-03), Jason Delaney (2008-09) and Brock Holt (2011-12).
Co-Pitcher of the Year Alex McRae was picked as an Eastern League Mid-Season All-Star this year, the first selection of his career. He is currently ranked tenth in the Eastern League with a 3.61 ERA, fourth with 149.2 innings pitched and fourth with a 2.09 BB/9 IP ratio. McRae is tied for the team lead with 10 wins and has posted 14 quality starts, the most on the club.
Co-Pitcher of the Year Austin Coley has a 5-4 record and currently ranks fourth in the league with a 3.16 ERA, leads the Curve with 112 strikeouts heading into his final regular-season start on Sunday night, is second on the team with 136.2 innings pitched and second with 13 quality starts. Arguably his best performance of the season came on Tuesday, when he worked seven scoreless innings, allowed four hits and matched a career high with eight strikeouts as the Curve defeated Richmond to clinch a 2017 playoff berth.
2017 Altoona Curve Unsung Hero Jerrick Suiter has set a new career high with 10 home runs this season, tied for the team lead among active players, and leads the current roster with 58 RBIs. His .376 on-base percentage is ranked sixth overall in the Eastern League this year. Suiter has spent time playing at first base, left field and right field this season. He has added a .287 batting average and 20 doubles.
2017 Altoona Curve Fireman of the Year Tate Scioneaux has pitched more innings than any Altoona reliever in the last 12 seasons, tallying 81.0 frames this year while posting a 2.44 ERA, which ranks second in the Eastern League for pitchers with at least 80 innings pitched. He has pitched in 46 games this season, the third-most in the league. Scioneaux ranks fourth among relievers with a .219 batting average against, first with a 1.44 BB/9 IP ratio and second with a 9.00 baserunners/9 IP ratio. His 14 saves are tied for the most on the team.
The players were honored during a pregame awards presentation on Sunday night at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
The Curve are currently leading the Eastern League Western Division. The 2017 E.L. Playoffs begin on Wednesday, and the locations of the games will be set with the results of Sunday and Monday's action. For playoff tickets or more information, visit AltoonaCurve.com, call 877.99.CURVE or stop by the PNG Field box office.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.