The Los Angeles Dodgers announced that they have named infielder Gavin Lux as the Branch Rickey Minor League Player of the Year and right-handed pitcher JoJo Gray as the Branch Rickey Minor League Pitcher of the Year. It is the third straight year that the Player and Pitcher of the Year have both played in Tulsa during the season.
Lux, 21, started the 2019 season with Double-A Tulsa batting .313 (81-for-259) with 13 home runs and 37 RBI in 64 games. He was selected to the Texas League All-Star Game and appeared in the 2019 Sirius XM MLB Futures Game. Lux was promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City on June 27 and went on to hit .392 (78-for-232) with 13 home runs and 39 RBI in 49 games. Among Pacific Coast League batters with at least 200 plate appearances, Lux ranked second in average (.392), first in OBP (.478), fourth in SLG (.719) and third in OPS (1.197). The Kenosha, Wisconsin native was named the 2019 Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year after hitting a combined .347 (159-for-458) with 26 homers and 76 RBI in 113 combined games between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City. He was the third Dodger to win the award since its inception in 1981, joining Mike Marshall in 1981 and Paul Konerko in 1997. In four minor league seasons, Lux has amassed 79 doubles, 29 triples, 48 homers and driven in 193 runs while slashing .305/.383/.483 in 396 games.
The Dodgers first round selection (20th overall) in the 2016 First Year Player Draft out of Indian Trail High School (Wi.) joins Billy Ashley (1993-94), Paul Konerko (1996-97), Chad Billingsley (2004-2005), Joe Thurston (2000, 2002), James McDonald (2007-08), Zach Lee (2013, 2015) and Joc Pederson (2010, 2012) as two-time Branch Rickey Award recipients. He made his Major League debut on September 2, going 2-for-5 with three runs, becoming the first Dodger in franchise history to score three runs in his Major League debut.
In 26 games (25 starts) combined this season between Single-A Great Lakes, Single-A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Tulsa, Gray finished with an 11-2 record and a 2.70 ERA (33 ER/130.0 IP) and 147 strikeouts against just 31 walks. The 21-year-old started his season in the Midwest League, posting a 1.93 ERA (5 ER/23.1 IP) in five starts before being promoted to Rancho Cucamonga. In 12 California League starts, he went a perfect 7-0 with a 2.14 ERA (16 ER/67.1 IP) with a 0.97 WHIP and a .209 opponents' batting average. After earning a promotion to Double-A Tulsa on July 17, Gray pitched to a 2.75 ERA (12 ER/39.1 IP) across nine games (eight starts) for the Drillers.
The New Rochelle, New York native was selected in the second round of the 2018 First Year Player Draft by the Cincinnati Reds from Le Moyne College. He was acquired along with infielder Jeter Downs in a trade from the Reds on December 21, 2018. In 38 career minor league games (37 starts) over two seasons, the right-handed pitcher is 26-7 with a 2.37 ERA (48 ER/182.1 IP) and has struck out 206 batters against 48 walks.
Lux and Gray will both be presented with their respective awards and honored in a pregame ceremony at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 21 prior to the Dodgers' game vs. Colorado.
Branch Rickey Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year: 1989-2019
Year Player of the Year / Pitcher of the Year
1989 Mike Huff, Albuquerque (OF) / Jim Poole, Vero Beach (LHP)
1990 Henry Rodriguez, San Antonio (OF) / Jamie McAndrew, Bakersfield/San Antonio (RHP)
1991 Eric Karros, Albuquerque (IB) / Pedro Martinez, San Antonio/Albuquerque (RHP)
1992 Mike Piazza, San Antonio/Albuquerque (C) / Todd Williams, Bakersfield/San Antonio (RHP)
1993 Billy Ashley, Albuquerque (OF) / Kip Gross, Albuquerque (RHP)
1994 Billy Ashley, Albuquerque (OF) / Greg Hansell, Albuquerque (RHP)
1995 Adam Riggs, San Bernardino (IF) / Gary Rath, San Antonio/Albuquerque (LHP)
1996 Paul Konerko, San Antonio/Albuquerque (IF) / Billy Neal, Vero Beach (RHP)
1997 Paul Konerko, Albuquerque (IF) / Dennys Reyes, San Antonio/Albuquerque (LHP)
1998 Angel Peña, San Antonio (C) / Luke Prokopec, San Bernardino/San Antonio (RHP)
1999 Chin-Feng Chen, San Bernardino (OF) / Eric Gagné, San Antonio (RHP)
2000 Joe Thurston, San Bernardino (IF) / Carlos Garcia, San Bernardino (RHP)
2001 Phil Hiatt, Las Vegas (IF) / Ricardo Rodriguez, Vero Beach (LHP)
2002 Joe Thurston, Las Vegas (IF) / Edwin Jackson, South Georgia (RHP)
2003 Franklin Gutierrez, VB/Jacksonville (OF) / Greg Miller, Vero Beach/Jacksonville (LHP)
2004 Joel Guzman, Vero Beach/Jacksonville (OF) / Chad Billingsley, Vero Beach/Jacksonville (RHP)
2005 Andy LaRoche, Vero Beach/Jacksonville (IF) / Chad Billingsley, Jacksonville (RHP)
2006 James Loney, Las Vegas (1B) / Mark Alexander, Jacksonville/Las Vegas (RHP)
2007 Chin-lung Hu, Jacksonville/Las Vegas (IF) / James McDonald, Inland Empire/Jacksonville (RHP)
2008 Ivan De Jesus, Jr., Jacksonville (IF) / James McDonald, Jacksonville/Los Angeles (RHP)
2009 Dee Gordon, Great Lakes (IF) / Scott Elbert, Chattanooga/Albuquerque/Los Angeles (LHP)
2010 Jerry Sands, Great Lakes/Chattanooga (IF/OF) / Rubby De La Rosa, Great Lakes/Chattanooga (RHP)
2011 Scott Van Slyke, Chattanooga (IF/OF) / Shawn Tolleson, Great Lakes/Rancho/Chattanooga (RHP)
2012 Joc Pederson, Rancho Cucamonga (OF) / John Ely, Albuquerque (RHP)
2013 Scott Schebler, Rancho Cucamonga (OF) / Zach Lee, Chattanooga (RHP)
2014 Joc Pederson, Albuquerque (OF) / Julio Urias, Rancho Cucamonga (LHP)
Corey Seager, Rancho Cucamonga/Chattanooga (IF)
2015 Alex Verdugo, Great Lakes/Rancho Cucamonga (OF) / Zach Lee, Oklahoma City (RHP)
2016 Edwin Rios, Great Lakes/Rancho Cucamonga/Tulsa (IF) / Brock Stewart, R. Cuc./Tulsa/OKC (RHP)
2017 Keibert Ruiz, G. Lakes/R. Cuc./Tulsa (C) / Walker Buehler, R. Cuc./Tulsa/OKC (RHP)
2018 Gavin Lux, Rancho Cucamonga/Tulsa (INF) / Tony Gonsolin, Rancho Cucamonga/Tulsa (RHP)
2019 Gavin Lux, Tulsa/Oklahoma City (INF) / Josiah Gray, Great Lakes/Rancho Cucamunga/Tulsa (RHP)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.