Mariners announce 2015 minor league award winners

Seattle Mariners Director of Player Development Chris Gwynn announced today the Mariners Minor League Awards for the 2015 season: INF/DH Jesus Montero (Tacoma/Seattle) and OF Tyler O'Neill (Bakersfield) were named Co-Players of the Year, RH Edwin Diaz (Bakersfield/Jackson) was named the Starting Pitcher of the Year, LH Paul Fry (Bakersfield/Jackson) was named Relief Pitcher of the Year and OF Jabari Blash (Jackson/Tacoma) received the Heart and Soul Award for his exemplary play and leadership.

Montero, O'Neill, Diaz, Fry and Blash will be honored in a pre-game ceremony at Safeco Field prior to the Mariners game vs. the Athletics on Saturday, October 3. The Mariners will also recognize SS Drew Jackson, who was named Northwest League Player of the Year and Rob Mummau, who was named Northwest League Manager of the Year.

Co-Players of the Year

Jesus Montero (1B/DH: 2013 - 4th season with Mariners organization acquired in trade in 2012)

Tyler O'Neill (OF: 2013 - 3rd round - Garibaldi Secondary, British Columbia)

Montero hit .355 (140x374) with 70 runs scored, 18 doubles, 6 triples, 18 home runs, 85 RBI, 29 walks and 3 stolen base in 98 games over three stints with Tacoma. Amongst PCL league leaders ranked 2nd in average (.355) and slugging percentage (.569), 3rd in on-base percentage (.398) and OPS (.966), 7th in RBI (85), 8th in hits (140) and 10th in total bases (224). He was recently named to the All-PCL Team and was also a member of the PCL All-Star Team, but did not participate after being promoted to Seattle.

O'Neill hit .260 (106x407) with 68 runs, 21 doubles, 2 triples, 32 home runs and 87 RBI in 106 games with Bakersfield. He was 1 of 7 minor league players to hit at least 30 home runs, including finishing T2nd along with Mariners farmhand Jabari Blash with 32 home runs. Prior to this season O'Neill had hit only 14 home runs combined in his first two professional seasons. He was also a member of Team Canada who won the gold medal in the Pan Am Games on July 19 with a 7-6 victory in 10 innings over Team USA.

Heart & Soul Award

Jabari Blash (SS: 2010 - 8th round - Charlotte Amalie High School, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands)

Blash hit .271 (110x406) with 79 runs scored, 24 doubles, 2 triples, 32 home runs, 81 RBI, 59 walks and 8 stolen bases in 116 games combined between Jackson and Tacoma. Blash along with Mariners farmhand Tyler O'Neill finished 2nd among all minor league players with 32 home runs this season, including being 1 of 7 players with at least 30 home runs in 2015. Blash hit 10 home runs in his final 16 games (w/AB) and 14 home runs in 29 games in August (w/AB). His 14 homers in August led all minor league players during the month and were also the most in any single month during the season.

Starting Pitcher of the Year

Edwin Diaz (RHP: 2012 - 3rd round - Caguas Military Academy, Puerto Rico)

Diaz, who was named Mariners Co-Starting Player of the Year in 2014, went 7-10 with a 3.82 ERA (60 ER, 141.1 IP) in 27 starts combined between Bakersfield and Jackson. He limited opponents to a .237 batting average (123x520), while walking 46 and striking out 145. Diaz led all Mariners farmhands with 145 strikeouts and finished T3rd with 7 wins. Amongst all minor league players he ranked 9th in strikeouts per 9.0 innings (9.23) and T13th in strikeouts (145).

Relief Pitcher of the Year

Paul Fry (RHP: 2013 - 17th round - St. Clair Community College)

Fry went 4-5 with 9 saves and a 2.03 ERA (18 ER, 80.0 IP) in 50 relief appearances combined with Bakersfield and Jackson. He limited opponents to a .230 average (68x296), while walking 24 and striking out 113. With Jackson he went 0-2 with 7 saves and a 1.80 ERA (5 ER, 25.0 IP) in 22 relief appearances, including allowing only 1 earned run over his final 17.1 innings (0.52 ERA). Amongst all minor league pitchers his strikeout rate (12.71 K/9.0 IP) was 3rd-lowest (min. 75.0 IP).

Northwest League Player of the Year

Drew Jackson (SS: 2015 - 5th round - Stanford University)

Jackson was named Player of the Year by the Northwest League after batting .358 (81x226) with 64 runs scored, 12 doubles, 1 triple, 2 home runs, 26 RBI, 30 walks and 47 stolen bases in 59 games with the AquaSox this season. He led the league in average, stolen bases, on base percentage and runs scored, while finishing 2nd in OPS and hits. Jackson was recently named the Northwest League Player of the Month for August, won two Player of the Week awards during the season and was rated by Baseball America as the #5 prospect in the Northwest League following the 2015 season.