Boston's Cecchini wins Stenson Award

Third baseman honored for his character in Fall League

Garin Cecchini had 18 hits and 17 walks in his first fall campaign. (Courtesy Arizona Fall League)

By Kelsie Heneghan / | November 16, 2013 4:56 PM ET

Each year when the Arizona Fall League comes to a close, one player is recognized for his strengths that can't be measured by the number of home runs he hit or strikeouts he threw.

The Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award is given to the player who represents the late Reds outfielder's core values of hard work, leadership and unselfishness.

This year, the honor went to Surprise's Garin Cecchini.

"This has to be the top honor I've ever received," Boston's No. 7 prospect told "You always want to be recognized for your on-field performance, but to be recognized for your off-field performance, for being a good teammate, for your character, it's humbling."

Cecchini tied Richie Shaffer (Rays) for most walks this autumn with 22. He added another base-on-balls for Surprise in the AFL title game against Mesa on Saturday, which the Saguaros won, 2-0.

The 22-year-old third baseman was nominated by Surprise manager Gary Kendall and the Saguaros coaching staff.

"Cheech is a guy who shows up every day, and whether he went 0-for-4 or 4-for-4 prior, he's not affected by results," Kendall told "He plays the game the right way. He plays hard from start to finish. He's a good guy in the clubhouse, he's a good guy in the dugout and he's a good player."

The five other nominees were Salt River infielder Andy Burns (Blue Jays), Glendale infielder Travis Mattair (Reds), Peoria infielder Jonathan Meyer (Astros), Mesa infielder Devon Travis (Tigers) and Scottsdale outfielder Cory Vaughn (Mets).

In the 10 years of the award's existence, Cecchini is the first Red Sox player to be honored. Previous recipients include Mark Teahen -- who won the first Stenson Award -- and the Dodgers' Andre Ethier.

The Louisiana native, who is's No. 82 prospect overall, played for Class A Advanced Salem and Double-A Portland this season. He earned two Carolina League Player of the Weeks and a Mid-Season All-Star nod and combined to hit .322 across the two levels.

Fourth-ranked Cubs prospect Kris Bryant won the AFL's Joe Black Award as the Most Valuable Player.

Kelsie Heneghan is a contributor to Follow her on Twitter @Kelsie_Heneghan. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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