2016 Clarence A's Awards
One day after finishing off their 2016 campaign, the Clarence A's have announced the winners of their annual awards:
Jay McKee Most Valuable Player: Pat Doherty
Previous winners: Pat Doherty (2015), Jimmy Honsberger, Jr. (2014), Trevor Elston (2013)
Doherty put together an incredible season, finishing with a .397 batting average and led the team in doubles (3), triples (3), home runs (4), and RBI (23). He also posted the team's highest OBP (.653) and SLG (.759) in his 19 games played. Doherty was the only A's player to play in every game this season, and to put up those numbers in more games than anyone else is a true testament to his offensive prowess. Doherty also threw 60 innings on the mound, more than any other A's pitcher, logging a 3.30 ERA and 1.43 WHIP.
Best Hitter: Pat Doherty
Previous winners: Pat Doherty (2015), Jimmy Honsberger, Jr. (2014)
Best Pitcher: Mason King
Previous winners: Mason King (2014-2015)
This is the third time in three attempts King will be taking home the hardware for Best Pitcher on the Clarence A's. He finished with a 2.17 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 29 innings pitched. King saw the mound in some of the toughest games of the season, including the second game of the semifinal series against the Nationals, a game in which King got the win. His dominance with his fastball and ability to hit spots with his offspeed pitches are what made him a dominant pitcher in the Buffalo MABL this season and is without a doubt a pitcher teams need to gameplan for.
Unsung Hero: John Strohmeier
Previous winners: Andrew King (2015), Evan Weitz (2014)
Strohmeier was the epitome of this award: showed up, contributed every game, and didn't necessarily make it noticed. After winning the Best Rookie award last year, Strohmeier came into this season with a mission to make more of an impact at the plate than he had in his first season with the team. Things certainly worked out; he finished the season with a .390 batting average and .509 OBP. As with most of the other rewards, there were multiple guys who could've won, but in this case Strohmeier played into the unsung model more than anyone else.
Coach's Award: Jimmy Honsberger, Jr.
Previous winners: None
One of two new awards being handed out by the organization this year, the Coach's Award goes to the player that displayed great leadership, both on and off the field and through words and actions. Honsberger, Jr. fit this mold perfectly; on the bench and off the field, he made it known his philosophy was to give other teams hell and he showed exactly how to do it when he laced up his cleats. He finished the season with the team's best batting average (.429), the most hits (24), and the most stolen bases (18). The rest of the Buffalo MABL took notice of Honsberger, Jr. and quickly gameplanned against him getting pitches over the plate and swiping bags, but the adjustments he made in his game are what made him the super star shortstop he was once again this season.
Most Improved Player: Mitch Alexin
Previous winners: None
The other of the two new awards this season, the Most Improved Player commemorates the player that put in the most work in the offseason and showed his true colors on the field. This year, Mitch Alexin was hands down the most improved of the Clarence A's. After posting batting averages around .175 the past couple of seasons, Alexin batted .238 with a .378 OBP. He's best known as quoting "I don't get on that often" when being thrown out on a tag from second on a fly to right field, but based on the numbers, Alexin was getting on more than he, or anybody, had ever anticipated. His fielding abilities also improved this season, going from a hit-or-miss second baseman and outfielder to a sure thing on fly balls and sacrificing his body to keep balls in the infield.
Best Rookie: Anthony Castellani
Previous winners: John Strohmeier (2015), Zach Zabel (2014), Sully Curry (2013)
Castellani joined the A's after playing his last few seasons in the Town of Clarence Baseball Association Senior League and made it known he was going to be a force to be reckoned with as soon as he took his first steps on the fields at Brighton Park. Before moving to Rochester, NY for a job with the Buffalo Bills, Castellani quickly became an all-star for the A's: he batted .400 in 8 games with one home run, 4 stolen bases, and a .621 OBP. He also excelled in the field, holding down the entire area from left-center to right-center as a center fielder, best remembered by many when he sprinted 120 feet to camp under a deep fly ball hit by Snappers 1B/OF Doug Stoll.
Congratulations to all of our winners!