Arlington, Texas - The Texas Rangers today announced the club's 2019 minor league award winners:
Tom Grieve Minor League Player of the Year - 1B Curtis Terry
Nolan Ryan Minor League Pitcher of the Year - RHP Jason Bahr
Minor League Reliever of the Year - RHP Demarcus Evans
Minor League Defender of the Year - C Matt Whatley
True Ranger Award - LHP James Jones
The 22-year-old Terry slashed .293/.362/.537/.899 (138-471) with 25 home runs and 80 RBI over 129 games between Low-A Hickory and High-A Down East this season. He was named a South Atlantic League Mid-Season All-Star after batting .263 (61-for-232) with 15 HR and league-leading 24 doubles in 62 games at Hickory. Terry was promoted to High-A on June 21, and proceeded to pace Carolina League qualifiers in OPS (.909) from that point on, hitting .322 (77-239) with 10 HR and 33 RBI over a 67-game stint with the Wood Ducks.
Bahr led Texas farmhands with 126 strikeouts in 2019, going 10-4 with a 2.51 ERA (34 ER/122.0 IP) over 23 starts at Down East (11 GS) and Frisco (12 GS). He went 6-1 and posted the lowest ERA in the Carolina League among pitchers with at least 50.0 IP (1.71) in the first 'half', earning the starting nod for the South Division in the CL Mid-Summer Classic (1.0 SHO IP, 1 SO). Bahr was promoted to Frisco on June 21 and over his final 8 starts with the RoughRiders went 4-1, 1.88 ERA (9 ER/43.0 IP) to close the season.
Evans' 15.00 strikeouts per 9 innings figure (100 SO/60.0 IP) led the Rangers organization and finished as the 2nd-highest mark in all of Minor League Baseball this season (min. 60.0 IP). The 22-year-old paired an unblemished 6-0 record with a 0.90 ERA (6 ER/60.0 IP) over 47 relief appearances split between Down East (17 G) and Frisco (30 G). He garnered Minor League All-Star honors from Baseball America after going 2-0 with 0.96 ERA (4 ER/37.2 IP) in his first career stint through Double-A, ranking among Texas League leaders (min. 35.0 IP) in SO/9 (2nd, 14.78), ERA (2nd, 0.96) and opponent batting average (2nd, .114) during that stretch. Evans played for the 'Dads in 2017 and 2018 and is the back-to-back recipient of the Reliever of the Year award.
The 23-year-old Whatley started a career-high 84 games at catcher for the Hickory Crawdads in 2019. He threw out 33 of 89 runners for a caught stealing percentage of 37.1% over 742.1 innings spent behind the plate. Whatley totaled 99 assists from the catcher position, easily the most among Texas minor-leaguers and South Atlantic League backstops.
The True Ranger award for the club's minor league system was established earlier this year, and the inaugural winner is left-handed pitcher James Jones. The award highlights players who represent the core values of the organization in a positive light both on and off the field. Over 64.0 innings out of the bullpen between Frisco (56.1 IP) and Nashville (7.2 IP) the converted Major League outfielder notched a career-low 2.67 ERA (19 ER) and career-high 71 strikeouts. He was selected as one of 6 RoughRiders to appear in the Texas League All-Star Game in his second season as a full-time pitcher, and posted a 1.11 ERA (3 ER/24.1 IP) over 17 relief appearances in the 2nd 'half' with Frisco.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.