Bulls dominate IL All-Star awards

Hellickson, Johnson, Montoyo honored by league

Jonathan Albaladejo (l) and Jeremy Hellickson were among the top arms in the IL.

By Danny Wild / MLB.com | August 31, 2010 11:57 AM

A trio of Durham Bulls were among those honored on Tuesday when the International League revealed its postseason awards and All-Star team.

Bulls ace Jeremy Hellickson was named the league's Most Valuable Pitcher, slugger Dan Johnson took home Most Valuable Player honors, and Durham skipper Charlie Montoyo was selected as Manager of the Year.

Gwinnett's Freddie Freeman was voted the league's top rookie.

Hellickson, a prized prospect since joining the Rays organization in 2005, was primed for a big year after reaching Triple-A last summer and earning Triple-A National Championship Game MVP honors. The right-hander was on pace to win the league's pitching triple crown when he was promoted to Tampa Bay at the beginning of August. His 2.45 ERA still leads the IL, wnd he remains near the top in wins (12) and strikeouts (123). The Rays have since aimed to make him a reliever heading into the 2010 postseason.

Johnson is a veteran journeyman who enjoyed a resurgence in Durham as a 31-year-old. The former Athletics seventh-round pick spent the 2009 season in Japan but returned to the Minors this spring, where he victimized Triple-A pitchers for an IL-best 30 homers and 95 RBIs. Johnson, who was promoted to Tampa Bay earlier this month, tops the circuit in slugging percentage (.624), on-base percentage (.430) and walks (75). He was a midseason All-Star and won the Triple-A Home Run Derby en route to returning to the Majors for the fifth time in his career.

Montoyo, who managed Durham to the Governors Cup last fall, has led the Bulls to four straight division titles, a record for the organization since joining Triple-A. He led the IL squad in the 2010 Triple-A All-Star Game as well.

"I'm just very lucky to have good players -- that's all," Montoyo said after the Bulls claimed the South Division title on Aug. 20. "I've gone through everything in the Minors. I know how to tough is to win with all the movement, so this is awesome."

Freeman's career mirrored that of fellow Braves star Jason Heyward until this spring, when he remained with Gwinnett and hit a rough stretch in May. He's been on fire since, though. The 20-year-old first baseman leads the IL with 147 hits and 240 total bases and is second in average (.319), RBIs (87), doubles (35) and extra-base hits (55). He also leads all first baseman with a .994 fielding percentage.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre also had three members named to the postseason All-Star team -- shortstop Eduardo Nunez, catcher Jesus Montero and closer Jonathan Albaladejo. Nunez led the Yanks with 134 hits and 23 steals before being called upon to replace Alex Rodriguez in the Bronx last week. Montero survived trade-deadline rumors and continues to lead SWB in homers (18), RBIs (66), doubles (30) and runs scored (60). Albaladejo has dominated all season, setting an IL record with 43 saves to match a sterling 1.42 ERA.

The full list of postseason award-winners and All-Stars is below:

2010 International League Postseason All-Star Team
POS Batters Team BA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB
1B Freddie Freeman Gwinnett .319 461 73 147 35 2 18 87 6
2B Chris Valaika Louisville .304 424 49 129 28 2 4 53 3
SS Eduardo Nunez Scranton/Wilkes-Barre .289 464 55 134 25 3 4 50 23
3B Dan Johnson Durham .303 340 66 103 19 0 30 95 0
C Jesus Montero Scranton/Wilkes-Barre .284 422 60 120 30 3 18 66 0
OF Wladimir Balentien Louisville .283 396 70 112 22 2 25 77 12
OF Jose Constanza Columbus .318 380 67 121 11 8 1 32 33
OF Jeff Frazier Toledo .258 454 69 117 32 2 24 72 7
DH Barbaro Canizares Gwinnett .339 395 53 134 25 1 12 73 2
UT Elliot Johnson Durham .314 401 66 126 22 4 10 53 30
POS Pitchers Team W-L ERA SV G IP SO
SP Jeremy Hellickson Durham 12-3 2.45 0 21 117 2/3 123
RP Jonathan Albaladejo Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 4-2 1.42 43 57 63 1/3 82

Most Valuable Player: Dan Johnson, Durham
Most Valuable Pitcher: Jeremy Hellickson, Durham
Rookie of the Year: Freddie Freeman, Gwinnett
Manager of the Year: Charlie Montoyo, Durham

Danny Wild is an editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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