The State College Spikes announced their 2018 year-end award winners before Friday's regular season home finale at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. Infielder Stanley Espinal was named the club's Most Valuable Player, while right-handed pitcher Franyel Casadilla earned the Spikes' Pitcher of the Year award and Brady Whalen won the Josiah Viera Perseverance Award.
Espinal leads the Spikes through August 30 with seven home runs and 40 runs batted in over 60 games this season. The Santiago, Dominican Republic native is also tied for fourth in the New York-Penn League with 66 hits, and his .291 batting average ranks eighth in the league entering Friday's action. Espinal came over to the Cardinals organization in a trade with the Red Sox in July 2017.
The infielder joins 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), Tommy Edman (2016) and Evan Mendoza (2017) on the list of Spikes MVP award winners.
Casadilla, a native of Santa Teresa del Tuy, Venezuela, went 4-2 with a 3.07 earned run average in his first 11 appearances for the Spikes, eight of them in a starting role. The righty has recorded 41 strikeouts to 15 walks over 55 2/3 innings through August 30, and also posted a save this season. Casadilla, who signed with the Cardinals as an international free agent in November 2013, has held opponents to just a .190 batting average this year.
Casadilla 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), Steven Farinaro (2016) and Daniel Castano (2017) as recipients of the Spikes' Pitcher of the Year award.
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 six seasons thanks to his determination, perseverance and joyous spirit in the face of adversity.
Whalen, the Cardinals' 2016 12th-round draft choice out of Union High School in Washington, helped lead several rallies this year and keep others alive. The first baseman is hitting .208, but is reaching base at a .339 clip with 37 walks this year, the second-best total in the NYPL. Whalen has also smashed six home runs and knocked in 37 runs this year.
The Vancouver, Washington native follows 2015 catcher Jose Godoy , 2016 third baseman Danny Hudzina , and 2017 pitcher Levi MaVorhis as a recipient of this prestigious honor.
Fans can inquire about 2019 Season Ticket memberships and a variety of group packages and experiences for the 2019 season by calling 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.