ZEBULON, N.C. - Carolina Mudcats catcher Mario Feliciano has been voted the 2019 Carolina League Most Valuable Player, as announced today by the league front office. Feliciano was also named the league's top catcher while teammate Noah Zavolas earned Pitcher of the Year and Starting Pitcher honors, on the honorary year-end All-Star team.
At the time of the announcement, the 20-year-old Feliciano was batting .273/.324/.474 with a .798 OPS and a Carolina League leading 19 home runs over 113 games played this season. Feliciano was also first in the league in slugging (.474), first in extra-base hits (45), second in RBI (78), fifth in OPS (.798), seventh in hits (117), first in total bases (203) and seventh in runs scored (60).
"I'm very happy," said Feliciano. "I worked hard in the off-season during my rehab routine and now to win the MVP, I feel very happy. My first few years I had injuries, but this year everything is good, I worked hard so I feel very happy."
The Bayamon, Puerto Rico native was selected 75th overall by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2016 MLB Draft out of the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy. He was limited due to injury to just 42 games during the 2018 season with Carolina, but returned for 2019 and has set career highs for games (113), runs (60), hits (117), doubles (23), homers (19) and RBI (78).
"I'm just so proud and happy for him," said Mudcats Manager Joe Ayrault. "He got off to a great start and has kept it going all year long. From making the All-Star team to now, it's been an unbelievable year for him. Hopefully, he continues to do that and I'm sure he will, there's a great future ahead for him."
Currently rated as the No. 9 prospect in the Brewers minor league system per MLB.com, Feliciano was also a mid-season All-Star with the Mudcats earlier this season after slashing .267/.321/.498 with a .819 OPS, 12 doubles, one triple, 14 homers and 48 RBI before the break. Two of those five first half homers were walk-offs as he lifted the Mudcats to home victories with game winning home runs on both May 11 versus Myrtle Beach and May 20 versus Lynchburg. Feliciano's May 11 game against the Pelicans, meanwhile, saw him go 3-for-5 overall with a walk-off three-run home run, a two-run homer in the eighth, a career high three runs scored and a career high five RBI.
The first half also saw him earn Carolina League Player of the Week honors for the week ending on June 9. Feliciano clubbed a league high five home runs, slugged a league best 1.286 and totaled a league high 1.786 OPS during the week of games running from June 3 through June 9. He also slashed .429/.500/1.286 with 27 total bases, eight runs and 11 RBI, all of which were also league highs, during same week. It was a week that also saw Feliciano take over the league lead in homers after hitting his 10th and 11th big flies of the season on June 3 versus Frederick (3-for-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI). He has led the league in homers ever since.
Feliciano is the first Mudcats player to earn the league's MVP award since Carolina joined the Carolina League in 2012. Feliciano, however, is the fifth player overall in team history to be named league MVP as Mark Johnson (1994), Jason Kendall (1995), Gaby Sanchez (2008) and Dave Sappelt (2010) were all named Southern League MVP during Carolina's Double-A and Southern League era (1991-2011).
Feliciano previously earned mid-season All-Star honors during the 2017 season while playing for Milwaukee's Low-A affiliate, the Midwest League's Wisconsin Timber Rattlers and was named a MiLB.com Organization All-Star for the Brewers system that same season.
Voting for the year-end All-Star team, and for the 2019 Carolina League superlatives, was done by league managers, team general managers and local media.
The Carolina Mudcats are the proud Carolina League, Class-A Advanced affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. First established in 1991, the two-time Southern League Champion Mudcats are currently in their 29th consecutive season of baseball at Five County Stadium in Zebulon, N.C. The Mudcats are owned and operated by the Milwaukee Brewers.
# # #
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.