Yankees Pitching Prospect Awards

Nik Turley really blossomed in 2012

Rather than merely hand out awards like the Pitcher of the Year and the like, we hand out various prospect superlative awards including, but not limited to; the "Phil Hughes Award" to the pitcher who best combined results with talent, the "Manny Banuelos Award" to the lower level pitching prospect who is much better than the national media realizes, etc, etc.

The Phil Hughes Award is more than just the Pitcher of the Year award, a distinction that normally only requires above average statistics. It's given to the pitching prospect who best combined actual game results with overall pitching talent, not to a pitcher who merely put up numbers.

This year's award goes to Tampa and Trenton left-hander Nik Turley. He not only finished second in the farm system in both ERA [3.00] and wins [tied with Vidal Nuno with ten victories], he finished fifth in strikeouts with 117 [and just nine strikeouts behind the organizational leader] despite missing nearly a month with blister problems. Throw in the fact his fastball got harder and his curveball improved greatly, he has become a sleeping giant on the prospect scene.

The David Phelps Award [formerly known as the Zach McAllister award] is given to the pitching prospect who wasn't considered among the top few pitching prospects the year before but broke out in a big way the following season.

This year's award goes to Charleston and Staten Island left-handed pitcher Evan Rutckyj. He posted a combined 8-8 record and a solid 3.91 ERA between the two clubs, and that was after flat-out dominating batters for a couple of months during Extended Spring Training. He still walked a few too many batters [49 in 101.1 innings], but, like Turley, he was throwing harder, his breaking ball improved, and his star is clearly on the rise.

The Manny Banuelos Award is given to the pitching prospect in the short-season leagues who, despite showing a great combination of results and stuff, has flown under the national radar and is currently underrated.

This year's recipient is GCL Yankees' right-handed pitcher Giovanny Gallegos. Not only did he post a 1.67 ERA in his first season in the United States, but all five earned runs he served up on the year came in one start -- he had a 0.00 ERA in his other eleven games. Throw in the fact he owns both an above average fastball with plus potential and a similar curveball, both with great command, he has a sky-high ceiling few national pundits are aware of.

The George Kontos Award is given to the pitching prospect who was drafted out of college and immediately showed a combination of stuff and results that same season.

This year's award goes to right-handed reliever Nick Goody. It's tough to be any better than Goody was in his debut season, posting a 1.13 ERA over three minor league levels and striking out 52 batters in 32 innings. He doesn't have quite the same upside as last year's recipient of this year's award, Mark Montgomery, but with a 91-94 fastball that tops out at 96, a quality slider, and a developing changeup, it's close enough.

The Phil Coke Award is given to the perceived organizational pitcher whose stuff got dramatically better to put himself on the prospect map at an older age.

This year's award goes to right-handed reliever Kelvin Perez. Like last year's recipient of this award, Manny Barreda, Perez's stuff got better but he did show glimpses of this type of stuff - 95-97 mph fastball, plus breaking ball -- once before but took some time to harness control of his stuff after spending most of his younger days in the lower-level starting rotations. The now 27-year old has become a viable in-house relief pitching candidate.

The D.J. Mitchell Award is given to the pitcher who was a later-round pick and didn't get much mound time upon signing, but who also quickly showed some good stuff heading into his first full minor league season.

The year's award goes to 2011 27th round pick Chaz Hebert. Yet another left-handed pitcher, he had some great numbers in the Gulf Coast League this year [2.52 ERA, 30 strikeouts in 25 innings with just four walks], but showed a vastly improved changeup by season's end and a radically more effective curveball during Instructs. Showing Daniel Camarena-like pitch-ability and some similar offspeed stuff now, he's a strike-thrower who already knows how to mix his pitches.

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