I like any award based on merit. So congratulations are in order to the Paul Owens award winners for the best minor league position player J.P. Crawford and pitcher Luis Garcia.
We have been watching Crawford ever since his first professional base hit in 2013 season in the GCL last year and have branded him as a can’t miss major league star in the near future. We watched him this season both in a game with Lakewood and in the second half with the Threshers.
Also last season we watched Garcia pitch for the first time in 2013 with the Threshers throwing 95 mph fastballs out of the pen after signing as a free agent. He was so dominating with Lehigh Valley as its closer this season.
So it was time for another Baseball Ross award. This time it is my Phillies Minor League Pitcher Comeback Player of the Year. Our award goes to Colin Kleven. He came back this season from a back injury which cost him to miss most of the 2013 season. He made only three starts for Clearwater before being forced to shut it down last year.
Kleven finished strong this season going 4-3 over his last 10 starts for the Threshers, striking out 52 in 54.1 innings. In fact his 32 strikeouts in only 27.1 innings in August was the third highest in the Florida State League for the month.
It’s always nice to end the season watching a Tampa Yankee hitter shaking his head as he walks away on Kleven’s next to last “swing and miss” strikeout. Eric Jagielo was a first round 2013 draft pick of the Yankees. See Kleven’s final two strikeouts of the 2014 season HERE and HERE. He made all 24 starts this season and just kept getting stronger and stronger as the season came to an end.
Colin Kleven clearly earned the Baseball Ross Phillies Minor League Pitcher Comeback Player of the Year.