Indy's Brault named top pitcher, RailRiders' Pedrique again manager of year
Rhys Hoskins is the first Lehigh Valley player to be named either IL MVP or Rookie of the Year. (Ken Inness/MiLB.com)
By International League | August 30, 2017 11:45 AM ET
The International League today announced its postseason All-Star Team and Award Winners as selected by the circuit's managers, coaches, media, and club representatives. The 2017 IL Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year is Lehigh Valley first baseman Rhys Hoskins, who leads the League in RBIs, slugging, and runs scored. The IL's ERA leader, Steven Brault of Indianapolis, has been elected as the Most Valuable Pitcher. For the second consecutive year the IL Manager of the Year is Al Pedrique, who has his Scranton/Wilkes-Barre club back in the playoffs and ready to defend the Triple-A national championship this September.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER & ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Rhys Hoskins (Lehigh Valley)
Before embarking on one of the most prolific beginnings to a Major League Baseball career ever seen, Rhys Hoskins dominated International League competition in his first season at the Triple-A level to earn honors as the circuit's Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year for 2017. He had blasted a then-League-best 29 home runs at the time of his promotion to Philadelphia earlier this month, while his 91 RBIs, 78 runs scored, and .581 slugging percentage still pace the IL. Hoskins is the first member of the Lehigh Valley franchise to win either the IL MVP or Rookie of the Year Awards. The 24-year- old is also the first baseman on the IL Postseason All-Star Team, just the second for the IronPigs at that position joining Andy Tracy (2009). Hoskins was the 2016 Eastern League Rookie of the Year playing for Double-A Reading, and following the season he was honored as the organization's Minor League Player of the Year. In just his fourth season as a pro, he made his big league debut for the Phillies on August 10 and has hit more home runs in the first twenty games of his career than any player in MLB history. Hoskins is the 16th player in the International League to claim both Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player honors in the same season, and the first since Syracuse's Steven Souza Jr. in 2014.
MOST VALUABLE PITCHER: Steven Brault (Indianapolis)
With the potential to become just the third qualifying IL pitcher in the past three decades to complete an entire season with an ERA below 2.00, Steven Brault of Indianapolis has been named the International League Most Valuable Pitcher for 2017. Currently pitching for Pittsburgh as a reliever, Brault can lay claim to being one of the IL's most dominant starters this season. In only three of his twenty starts did the opposition score more than two runs against him. The 25-year-old left-hander is 10-5 for the Indians and is near the top of the League leaderboard with a .199 opponents' batting average (2nd lowest) and a 1.07 WHIP (4th). Brault was winless over his first six starts this season, but turned things around quickly enough to be elected to the IL mid-season All-Star Team. Barely a week after throwing a scoreless inning in the Triple-A All-Star Game, he was promoted to Pittsburgh for the first of five appearances to date with the Pirates this season. Brault's honor marks the fourth IL Most Valuable Pitcher Award for the Indianapolis Indians, following Fred Ackley (1963), Ben Hendrickson (2004), and Zach Duke (2005). Brault has also been named the starting pitcher on the 2017 IL Postseason All- Star Team.
MANAGER OF THE YEAR: Al Pedrique (Scranton/Wilkes-Barre)
The fourth man in International League history to claim back-to-back Manager of the Year Awards is Scranton/Wilkes-Barre skipper Al Pedrique. He joins Jack Tighe of Toledo (1967-68), Eddie Haas of Richmond (1981-82), and Rick Sweet of Louisville (2008-09) thanks to an IL-best 85-50 record. The RailRiders, who have already clinched another North Division title, are gearing up to defend the Governors' Cup and Triple-A national championships won a year ago in Pedrique's first season at the helm. SWB will play host to the 2017 Gildan Triple-A National Championship Game in September, but the RailRiders have a shot to return to the event thanks to a League-best 42-25 record away from home this season. Pedrique has once again molded his club into a well-balanced machine, leading the League as a team in runs scored (647) and ERA (3.30). The 57-year-old is the fourth different manager from the SWB franchise to be so honored in the IL, along with Lee Elia (1992), Marc Bombard (2002), John Russell (2006), and Dave Miley (2007 and 2012).
In addition to Hoskins (1B) and Brault (SP), ten other players have been named to the International League Postseason All-Star Team. In all, eight IL clubs are represented on the All-Star Team, with four (Columbus, Lehigh Valley, Pawtucket, and Rochester) tied for the lead with two All-Stars.
CATCHER: Mitch Garver (Rochester)
Less than two weeks into his big league career with the Twins, Mitch Garver has been named the 2017 IL Postseason All-Star catcher. The 26-year-old prospect excelled in his rookie campaign at the Triple-A level, as evidenced by his .291 batting average (8th in the IL), .541 slugging percentage (2nd), and .387 on-base percentage (2nd) in 88 games with the Red Wings. Garver is just the third Rochester catcher since WWII to be named to the IL Postseason All-Star Team, following John Bucha (1951) and Jose Morales (2007).
SECOND BASEMAN: Ozzie Albies (Gwinnett)
This season 20-year-old Ozzie Albies showed why MLB.com ranked him among the game's top ten overall prospects. Before making his Major League debut earlier this month for Atlanta, Albies was among the IL's top ten hitters with Gwinnett, boasting a .285 batting average and a League-best eight triples. The most recent Braves farmhand to earn honors as the IL Postseason All-Star second baseman was Richmond's Martin Prado in 2007.
SHORTSTOP: Tyler Wade (Scranton/Wilkes-Barre)
In his first season playing above the Double-A level, 22-year-old Tyler Wade of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre is among the top four in the IL in batting average and on-base percentage, in addition to being 3rd in stolen bases with 26. He made his Major League debut in late-June and has seen action in 21 games for the Yankees so far this season. Wade is the third shortstop in SWB franchise history to make the IL Postseason All-Star Team, along with Nick Punto (2002) and Eduardo Nunez (2010).
THIRD BASEMAN: Yandy Diaz (Columbus)
The 2016 IL Rookie of the Year was back for a stellar sophomore season at the Triple-A level. Last season Yandy Diaz narrowly missed winning the League's batting title, but he is in the driver's seat to do so in 2017. His .350 batting average and .454 on-base percentage both comfortably outdistance the rest of the IL this season, and are big reasons why the current big leaguer has played 23 games for the Indians this season.
OUTFIELDER: Bryce Brentz (Pawtucket)
Longtime member of the PawSox Bryce Brentz is an IL Postseason All-Star outfielder. His 30 home runs pace the entire League, just one of several statistical categories in which Brentz is among the top five including RBIs, slugging, runs scored, total bases, and extra-base hits. The 28-year-old attended the Triple-A All-Star Game in July and brought home the championship belt as the Triple-A Home Run Derby king. He was the second straight winner from Pawtucket following Chris Marrero, also the team's last IL Postseason All-Star outfielder.
OUTFIELDER: Rusney Castillo (Pawtucket)
For the first time since 2008 (Jeff Bailey & Chris Carter), the PawSox boast two IL Postseason All-Star outfielders. 30-year-old Rusney Castillo is 2ndin the International League in hitting (.314) and 4th in slugging (.507), while having also chipped in 22 doubles, 15 home runs, and 14 stolen bases. Like Brentz, Castillo was an IL mid-season All-Star. This marks the second straight season the International League Postseason All-Star Team has had outfielders from the same team (Ben Gamel & Aaron Judge, Scranton/WB).
OUTFIELDER: Zack Granite (Rochester)
Another current big leaguer, Minnesota's Zack Granite, is an IL Postseason All-Star outfielder on the strength of a .338 batting average in 71 games with Rochester. The 24-year-old made both his Triple-A and Major League debuts this season, and in June he earned recognition as the International League Player of the Month after hitting .470 with 12 RBIs and 23 runs scored in 29 games. Granite is the first outfielder from Rochester to make the IL Postseason All-Star Team since Jason Kubel in 2004.
DESIGNATED HITTER: Pedro Alvarez (Norfolk)
Former National League All-Star Pedro Alvarez leads the IL with 57 extra-base hits and 239 total bases to earn honors as the League's Postseason All-Star designated hitter. The 30-year-old is tied for 2ndin the IL with 89 RBIs and tied for 4th in homers with 26 in his first season seeing action at the Triple-A level since 2011 with Indianapolis. Prior to Alvarez, the only previous member of the Tides named as the IL Postseason All-Star designated hitter was Brian Daubach in 2005 (currently the hitting coach in Syracuse).
RELIEF PITCHER: Pedro Beato (Lehigh Valley)
Journeyman Pedro Beato, who has pitched for five IL teams over the past seven seasons, is now the League's Postseason All-Star reliever for Lehigh Valley. His 29 saves are ten more than any of the League's other closers and are tied for the most by anyone in the IL since Jonathan Albaladejo's record-setting 43-save campaign in 2010. Beato, 30, is the first member of the IronPigs to become the League's Postseason All-Star relief pitcher. He's allowed just 37 hits over 51.1 innings this season.
UTILITY PLAYER: Ronny Rodriguez (Columbus)
25-year-old Ronny Rodriguez is the All-Star utility man. He's played in 111 games with Columbus this season, splitting his time between first base (3 G), second base (61 G), shortstop (2 G), third base (22 G), and the outfield (23 G). On the offensive side of the plate, Rodriguez is among the League's top five hitters with a .294 average and has batted in each of the first eight slots in the Clippers lineup. Rodriguez is the second-ever Clipper to make the IL Postseason All-Star Team as the utility player, joining Luis Valbuena (2011).
2017 International League Postseason All-Star Team
* Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year
† Most Valuable Pitcher