Knapp, Pinto Named 2015 Paul Owens Award Winners

Catcher Andrew Knapp and right-handed pitcher Ricardo Pinto were selected as the recipients of the 2015 Paul Owens Award as the organization's top minor league player and pitcher, Joe Jordan, Director, Player Development announced today.

Knapp, a 23-year-old who just completed his third minor league season, batted .308 with 35 doubles, 13 home runs, 84 RBI, 77 runs scored and 51 walks between single-A Clearwater and double-A Reading, setting professional highs in all of those categories. After his promotion to Reading on June 26, the switch-hitting catcher hit a team-best .360 with 21 doubles, 11 home runs, 56 RBI and a 1.050 OPS over his final 55 games. He hit safely in all but nine of those contests, posting 24 multi-hit games and recording hitting streaks of 16 and 17 games.

Knapp's accolades this season also include Eastern League Player of the Month honors in August, two consecutive Phillies Minor League Player of the Week awards (July 27-August 2, August 3-9), an Eastern League Player of the Week award and a starting spot at catcher in the Florida State League All-Star Game. The Roseville, Calif., native was selected by the Phillies in the second round of the 2013 draft out of the University of California at Berkeley.

"Andrew made as much progress as any position player in our system this year," Jordan said. "He had a tremendous offensive season and certainly put himself in a position to be under consideration for our major league club in the future. What many people don't know is how much progress he made defensively. We challenged him early in spring training with a plan of improvement behind the plate and he answered many questions with his play."

Pinto split his season between single-A Lakewood and Clearwater, combining to go 15-4 in 24 starts with a 2.97 ERA and 105 strikeouts in 145.1 innings pitched. He allowed two earned runs or fewer in 17 of those starts, including five scoreless outings of 6.0 innings or more. Following his promotion to Clearwater on June 16, Pinto won nine of 11 decisions and finished tied for fifth in the league in wins despite pitching in just 13 games for the Threshers.

The Venezuela native was named Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Month for August after going 4-0 with a 0.73 ERA, 0.77 WHIP and .179 opponent's batting average. He also took home three separate Phillies Minor League Player of the Week awards. Pinto, who has now posted an ERA lower than 3.00 in all four of his professional seasons, was signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent in December of 2011.

"Coming into the year, very few people outside of our organization knew of Ricardo Pinto," Jordan said. "Based on his 2015 performance, that has certainly changed. Ricardo is one of our most talented young arms but equally one of our most determined, competitive and driven players.

"We are extremely proud of these young men. They are both very deserving."

The award, which was instituted in 1986, is named for the late Paul Owens, who spent 48 years in the Phillies organization as scout, farm director, general manager, manager and senior advisor. Knapp and Pinto will receive their awards on the field on October 1, prior to the Phillies 7:05 game against the New York Mets.