ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Gulf Coast League announced today that outfielder Jeremias Pineda of the Twins is its 2012 Most Valuable Player and Tom Prince, of the league-champion Pirates, its 2012 Manager of the Year. A quarter of the 12-man Gulf Coast League All-Star Team is comprised of Tigers, the club which shared the best record in the GCL with the Pirates at 36-24.
First baseman Jesus Ustariz of the Tigers ranked among the top 15 players with 16 extra-base hits, 13 doubles, 26 walks, a .379 on-base percentage, .411 slugging percentage and .791 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS). He also led all qualifying first baseman with a .993 fielding percentage.
Second baseman Jerison Lopez of the Yankees also excelled in the field, leading those at his position with a .981 fielding percentage. Lopez finished fourth in the league with a .321 average and fifth in on-base percentage (.385). He was also among the top 10 in doubles (13) and OPS (.801).
Shortstop Aderlin Mejia of the Twins hit .324, third best in the GCL. His 55 hits and 13 doubles ranked sixth. Mejia was also the toughest player to strike out, fanning just once every 14.77 plate appearances.
Third baseman Darwin Rivera of the Astros ranked among the top three in hits (62), doubles (14) and total bases (88). He also ranked among the top 10 in several other categories, including RBIs (29), batting average (.310), walks (18), on-base percentage (.373) and slugging percentage (.440).
Catcher Jin-De Jhang of the Pirates did not commit an error behind the plate in leading all catchers with a 1.000 fielding percentage. Jhang hit .305 with a .780 OPS and finished among the top 15 with 23 RBIs.
Designated hitter Wyatt Mathisen of the Pirates hit .295 with a .388 on-base percentage, which ranked him 10th and fourth among qualifying players respectively. Mathiesen also ranked among the top 20 in the GCL with 10 stolen bases and 24 runs.
Matt Foat of the Nationals, who spent time at first base, second base, left field and designated hitter, is the utility player. Foat ranked second in the league with a .333 batting average and .404 on-base percentage. He was among the top 10 in hits (54) and OPS (.806).
Outfielder Jose Colorado of the Red Sox hit .286 and led the league with 17 doubles. Colorado also finished among the top eight in RBIs (30), runs (33), extra-base hits (19), walks (28), on-base percentage (.382), stolen bases (15) and hits (53).
Outfielder Jeremias Pineda played in 16 games for the Red Sox, before being traded to the Twins. The change of scenery did not bother Pineda, who hit .421 after the trade on his way to leading the GCL in batting average (.365), hits (70), stolen bases (23), on-base percentage (.406) and OPS (.875). Pineda ranked second with 90 total bases and fifth with a .469 slugging percentage.
Outfielder Austin Schotts of the Tigers ranked sixth in batting average (.310), runs (31) and slugging percentage (.452). He was also among the top 10 in stolen bases (15) and OPS (.812).
Pitcher Yorfrank Lopez of the Tigers led all starters with a 2.32 ERA and 57 strikeouts. The right-hander tied for the league lead with five wins and ranked second with a 1.03 WHIP and a .219 batting average against.
Reliever Jose Valdez of the Tigers led the GCL with 15 saves and had an ERA of 0.82. The right-hander struck out 28 in 22.0 innings and held opposing hitters to a .188 average.
Tom Prince guided the Pirates to their first GCL championship since they joined the league in 1968. After qualifying for the playoffs as the Wild-Card team, the Pirates shut out the Cardinals, 1-0, to advance to the Finals. Prince's club then won two straight from the Red Sox to win the league title. Prince, who has piloted the Pirates since 2007, was also named the GCL Manager of the Year in 2008, after leading his club to a league-best 37-18 record and the South Division title.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.