The Texas Rangers announced today the club's minor league award winners for June. Outfielder Lewis Brinson was named Player of the Month, right-handed pitcher Pedro Payano was named Pitcher of the Month, SS Michael De Leon was named Defender of the Month, and left-hander Ryne Slack was named Reliever of the Month.
Brinson, 21, batted .304 (28-92) with 7 doubles, 2 triples, 4 home runs, 12 RBI, 11 walks, and 19 runs scored in 22 games with High-A High Desert. Since returning from the disabled list on June 5, Brinson leads the California League with 76 total bases, while also ranking among the circuit's leaders in hits (2nd, 41), extra-base hits (2nd, 18), OPS (2nd, 1.037), home runs (T2nd, 7), and walks (T3rd, 16). Brinson recorded the 5th multi-home run performance of his career with a pair of long balls on June 10 vs. Lake Elsinore. Overall, Brinson is batting .313 (60-192) with 11 doubles, 4 triples, 9 home runs, and 26 RBI in 47 games with the Mavericks this season. This is his first Player of the Month award after winning Defender of the Month in April 2014 and July 2013.
Payano, 20, combined to go 1-1 with a 1.27 ERA (3 ER/21.1 IP) and 29 strikeouts against 3 walks over 4 games/3 starts with the DSL Rangers and AZL Rangers in June. The right-hander opened his season with the DSL Rangers and did not allow an earned run over 15.2 innings in his first 3 starts. In his final start with the DSL Rangers on June 15 vs. the DSL Nationals, Payano registered a career-best 10 strikeouts. Payano was promoted to the AZL Rangers on June 21 and recorded 7 strikeouts over 5.2 innings in his stateside debut on June 22 vs. the AZL Royals. Payano was signed as a non-drafted free agent by Rodolfo Rosario on July 2, 2011. He tied for the team lead with 7 victories for the DSL Champion Rangers1 last season.
Slack, 22, went 1-1 with a 1.40 ERA (3 ER/19.1 IP) and 18 strikeouts in 8 relief appearances for High-A High Desert in June. The southpaw converted his only save opportunity during the month and held California League batters to a .176 average (12-68). Slack closed out the month with 13.1 scoreless innings over his last 6 outings. Overall, Slack is 6-1 with a 4.50 ERA (23 ER/46.0 IP) and 47 strikeouts in 23 relief appearances with the Mavericks this season.
De Leon, 18, appeared in 13 games at shortstop and one at second base in the month of June for Low-A Hickory. The switch-hitting infielder committed just one error during the month. De Leon rates statistically as the top defensive shortstop in the South Atlantic League this season with a .974 fielding percentage (7 E/265 TC) in 58 games at the position. He has also appeared in 6 games at second base. The native of the Dominican Republic is currently the youngest player in the South Atlantic League and all of Low-A. De Leon was signed as a non-drafted free agent by Danilo Troncoso on July 2, 2013. The award is the second of his career, as he was also named Defender of the Month in June 2014.