Pirates announce organization’s minor league hitter, reliever, defenseman and base runner of the year
The Pittsburgh Pirates today announced the organization honorees for Willie Stargell Slugger-of-the-Year, Kent Tekulve Reliever-of-the-Year, Bill Mazeroski Defender-of-the-Year and Omar Moreno Baserunner- of-the-An. The announcements were made by John Baker, the organization’s Director of Coaching and Player Development.
Matt Gorski was named Willie Stargell Slugger-of-the-Year after hitting 24 homers in 81 combined games between Greensboro, Altoona, Bradenton and Indianapolis last season. Gorski ranked first in all minor league baseball with 17 homers when he was promoted from Greensboro to Altoona on May 24. He was also first in the South Atlantic League in RBI (37), slugging (.754), OPS (1.131), tied for first in runs scored (34) and second in extra hits (22) at the time of his promotion on May 24. Gorski, who was selected by the Pirates in the second round of the 2019 Freshman Draft, also ranked first in all of MiLB with 23 home runs before being placed on the June 30 disabled list.
Tyler Samaniego was named the Kent Tekulve Reliever-of-the-Year after going 4-4 combined with a 2.45 ERA (47.2ip/13er), 14 saves, two home runs allowed, 20 walks, 47 outs at bat, .80 WHIP and . 114 batting average against in 38 relief appearances between Greensboro and Altoona. Samaniego, 23, who was selected in the 15th round of the 2021 freshman draft, went 41 straight hits at one point in the season between Greensboro and Altoona without allowing a hit. Samaniego hasn’t allowed a run in 20 of his 24 outings as a member of the curve. His 10 saves with Altoona were tied for fourth in the Eastern League and fifth among all Double-A pitchers from June 1 to the end of the season.
Jared Triolo was named the organization’s Bill Mazeroski Defenseman of the Year for the second consecutive season. The 24-year-old Triolo, who was selected by the Pirates in the Competitive Balance B round of the 2019 Freshman Draft, entered the 2022 season ranked as the “Top Defensive Player in Pittsburgh” by Baseball America a year after Rawlings won a Minor League Gold Glove at third base. Triolo has spent time at three different positions in 2022, making 87 appearances at third base, 19 at shortstop and seven at center field. He ranked third among all Eastern League third basemen in double plays (15), tied for first in assists (165) and second in total chances (237) and fielding percentage (.970) among players with at least 60 games played at the .
Tsung-Che Cheng was named Omar Moreno Baserunner of the Year after finishing second in the Florida State League with 33 stolen bases (St. Lucie’s Omar De Los Santos led the way with 70 stolen bases). Cheng, 23, who was signed by the Pirates as an undrafted free agent on July 2, 2019, spent the entire 2022 season with Bradenton, where he ranked first in the league in triples (seven) and points scored. (79), second in on-base percentage (.376), third in doubles (25) and extra hits (38), fourth in batting (.270), fifth in OPS (.794) tied for seventh in RBI (52) and seventh in slugging (.418).
The Willie Stargell Slugger-of-the-Year is awarded to the best hitter in the Pirates minor league system. The award is named after the Pirates Hall-of-Famer who was selected to seven All-Star teams, led the Pirates to two World Series championships and won the 1979 MVP award.
The Kent Tekulve Reliever-of-the-Year award is named in honor of the Pirates career backup leader. Tekulve kicked off 12 seasons with the Pirates, amassing 158 saves and a 2.68 ERA during that span while helping the club win their fifth World Championship in 1979 while also being named to the All-Star Team of 1980.
The Bill Mazeroski Defender of the Year Award is given to the best defender in the Pirates’ minor league system. The award is named for Pirates Hall of Fame second baseman Bill Mazeroski, who won eight Gold Glove awards during his 17-year career and earned a reputation as one of the best second basemen in game history.
The Omar Moreno Baserunner of the Year award is given to the best base stealer in the Pirates minor league system. The award is named for former Pirates outfielder Omar Moreno, who played in center field for the Pirates from 1975 to 1982 and led the league in stolen bases in 1978 and 1979 with 71 and 77 respectively.