The State College Spikes finished handing out 2017 team awards prior to the club's season finale at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park on Thursday, September 7. Third baseman Evan Mendoza earned the Spikes' 2017 MVP award, while record-settting left-hander Daniel Castano garnered team Pitcher of the Year honors. Mendoza and Castano joined Levi MaVorhis , who had earlier in the week received the Josiah Viera Perseverance Award, on the Spikes' 2017 honor roll.
Mendoza became the first Spikes player to win two NYPL Player of the Week awards as he captured back-to-back honors for July 24-30 and July 31-August 6. The 2017 11th-round draft choice out of N.C. State hit .370 with 14 doubles, three triples, three home runs and 28 RBI over 41 games before being called up to Single-A Peoria on August 10.
Despite being out of the league for nearly a month, Mendoza was also awarded the 2017 NYPL batting title by Major League Baseball Advanced Media, the official statistician of Minor League Baseball, pursuant to Rule 9.22 (a). The rule states that a player who does not have the minimum amount of plate appearances to qualify as a league leader will still be awarded the title if he would still lead the league with the required amount of plate appearances charged to him.
Even with 23 additional at-bats without a hit, Mendoza would still have led Ben Breazeale of Aberdeen for the batting title. Mendoza follows Steven Ramos, who captured the 2013 crown, as Spikes to cop the NYPL batting championship.
Mendoza joined Justin Byler (2007), Chase d'Arnaud (2008) Brock Holt (2009), Adalberto Santos (2010), Wes Freeman (2011), D.J. Crumlich (2012), David Washington (2013), Danny Diekroeger (2014), Casey Grayson (2015) and Tommy Edman (2016) on the list of Spikes MVP award winners.
Castano set new single-season club records for strikeouts (81) and innings pitched (91) while matching the franchise wins record with nine on the season. The southpaw, a 2016 19th-round draft choice out of Baylor, also tied single-game records for strikeouts and innings pitched during the year. Castano earned the honor of starting the New York-Penn League All-Star Game as well.
The Austin, TX native joins Tony Watson (2007), Alan Knotts (2008), Kyle McPherson (2009), Kevin Decker (2010), Nick Kingham (2011), Clay Holmes (2012), Nick Petree (2013), Will Anderson (2014), Pedro Echemendia (2015) and Steven Farinaro (2016) as recipients of the Spikes' Pitcher of the Year award.
MaVorhis became the third recipient of the Josiah Viera Peseverance Award, which is annually selected by Viera, the Spikes' honorary bench coach. The right-hander joined catcher Jose Godoy , who won the award in 2015, and infielder Danny Hudzina , who was chosen in 2016, on the list of honorees.
The Josiah Viera Perseverance Award was introduced in 2014 as a tribute to the Spikes' honorary bench coach. Josiah faces challenges everyday due to Hutchinson/Gilford progeria but has become a rallying point for the Spikes over the past five seasons thanks to his determination, perseverance and joyous spirit in the face of adversity.
MaVorhis began the season in the starting rotation, but quickly adapted to a long relief role and became a linchpin in the bullpen. The former non-drafted free agent out of Kansas State is 1-1 with two saves and 2.16 ERA in 16 appearances, including three starts, this year through September 3. MaVorhis has recorded 38 strikeouts and just 11 walks over 41 2/3 innings during that span.
Spikes fans can now look forward to an All-Star summer in State College, as Medlar Field at Lubrano Park will host the 2018 NYPL All-Star Game next August. More information on All-Star Game events will be available in the coming months.
To inquire about 2018 Season Ticket memberships and a variety of group packages and experiences for the 2018 season, call the Spikes at (814) 272-1711. Additional team and ticket information can also be viewed at StateCollegeSpikes.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.