The Boston Red Sox announced the winners of their annual Minor League Awards on Wednesday, and a pair of members of the 2019 Greenville Drive were recognized.
Infielder Triston Casas completed his first full season of professional baseball, having been selected by the Red Sox in the first round (26th overall) of the 2018 June Draft. In 118 games for the Drive and two for High-A Salem, the left-handed hitter batted .256 (110-for-429) with an .830 OPS, 26 doubles, five triples, 20 home runs, 81 RBI, and 66 runs scored. He was recognized by the South Atlantic League as both a mid-season and post-season All-Star, as he ranked second in the league with 49 extra-base hits. Casas is the first Red Sox minor leaguer to hit as many as 20 home runs in a season-all before turning 20 years old-since Xander Bogaerts did so in 2012.
Right-handed Thad Ward made 13 starts with the Drive and 12 with High-A Salem in 2019. Between the two clubs, the right-hander was 8-5 with a 2.14 ERA (30 ER/126.1 IP), a .198 opponent batting average, 157 strikeouts, and only six home runs allowed. He surrendered three earned runs or fewer in each of his 25 starts, including seven scoreless outings of at least 5.0 innings. Selected by Boston in the fifth round of the 2018 June Draft, Ward was named a South Atlantic League mid-season All-Star. From the beginning of the season until he was promoted to Salem on June 20, he led the league in ERA (1.99), strikeouts (87), and opponent batting average (.194).
In addition, former Drive infielder Ryan Fitzgerald was tabbed as the Defensive Player of the Year, while outfielder Jarren Duran was named the Baserunner of the Year. Fitzgerald spent the entire season with High-A Salem, making 108 starts at shortstop, eight at second base, and five at third base. At shortstop, he posted a .960 fielding percentage with 18 errors in 448 total chances. Duran batted .303 (157-for-519) with 46 stolen bases, 24 doubles, eight triples, and five home runs in 132 games between High-A Salem (50 games) and Double-A Portland (82 games). The left-handed hitter was leading all of Minor League Baseball in batting average (.387) and on-base percentage (.456) at the time he was promoted to Portland on June 3, and was hitting .404 through May 30.
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