Indians announce Minor League Player of the Year award winners

CLEVELAND, OH - The Cleveland Indians today named INF GIOVANNY URSHELA the Lou Boudreau Award winner (top organizational position player) and LHP RYAN MERRITT the Bob Feller Award recipient (top pitcher) for the 2014 Minor League season.

Urshela, 23, split the 2014 campaign between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus, batting a combined .280 (136-485) with 36 doubles, 6 triples, 18 home runs, 84 RBI and 78 runs scored. Urshela began the season with Akron where he hit .300 (27-90) with 9 doubles, 5 home runs, 19 RBI and a .914 OPS (.347 OBP/.567 SLG) in 24 games before his promotion to Triple-A in early May. The 6-foot, 197-pound third baseman recorded his first Triple-A home run in first start with Columbus, and went on to bat .276 (109-395) with 27 doubles, 6 triples, 13 homers and 65 RBI in 104 games with Columbus. On the season, Urshela led all Tribe minor leaguers with 78 runs scored and ranked 2nd in the system in RBI (84), 3rd in hits (136) and 4th in home runs (18).

Merritt, 22, finished the 2014 season with a Carolina League-best 13 victories, while holding down a 2.58 ERA (46 ER/160.1 IP) in a career-high 25 starts at Single-A Carolina. Merritt's 160.1 innings led all Carolina League hurlers, while his 2.58 ERA (3rd), 2 complete games (T1st), 127 strikeouts (4th) and 0.95 WHIP (1st) all ranked in the top 5 in the league. Ryan was named to the Carolina League and organizational (MiLB.com) postseason all-star squads and led all Tribe minor league pitchers in ERA (2.58) and ranked second in wins (13). A native of Celina, Texas, Merritt was the club's 16th round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of McLennan Community College.

Urshela and Merritt were both added to the club's 40-man roster in November.

WINTER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM BEGINS 20TH-YEAR

The Indians annual Winter Development Program starts today in Progressive Field. The week-long program, started in 1996 by Indians Team President MARK SHAPIRO, focuses on honing the players' physical, mental and fundamental skills in advance of the 2015 season. Participants from within the Player Development system will have classroom sessions, conditioning and fundamental work and will hear from guest speakers Terry Francona, Mickey Callaway, Jason Bere, Chris Antonetti, Carter Hawkins, Tim Belcher, Mike Chernoff, Chuck Kyle & Mark Shapiro during the week. Players participating in the 2015 Winter Development Program:

RHP Dylan Baker

RHP Mike Clevinger

INF Yandy Diaz

OF Anthony Gallas

RHP Louis Head

RHP Jeff Johnson

LHP Nick Maronde

LHP Ryan Merritt

C Alex Monsalve

LHP Shawn Morimando

OF James Ramsey

RHP Grant Sides

OF Jordan Smith