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For the second time in three years, John Tavares is in Las Vegas as a finalist for the Hart Memorial Trophy. The Islanders' captain was a finalist for the NHL's most valuable player honors in 2013, but lost out to Alexander Ovechkin, who is a finalist this season as well.

But tonight in "Sin City", the odds-on favorite to win the award isn't Ovechkin this time, it's Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price. Price is up for two other awards as well -- the Vezina Trophy and the Ted Lindsay Award.

Tavares had a banner year for the Islanders in 2014-15. He had recorded a career-high in goals (38) and points (86) while playing in all 82 games of the regular season. Tavares also led the league in overtime goals (4) and he finished third in the NHL in game-winning goals (8).

Tags: Hart Trophy, Islanders, john tavares, new york islanders, NHL Awards
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First baseman Allan Dykstra and catcher Kevin Plawecki were named Sterling Minor League Organizational Co-Players of the Year. Gabriel Ynoa won the Sterling Pitcher of the Year award.

"The 2013 Sterling Awards are emblematic of the Most Valuable Player for each of the organization?s nine minor league affiliates," the team said.

Dykstra, 26, hit .274/.436/.503 for Double-A Binghamton. He walked 102 times in 489 plate appearances, hit 22 doubles, 21 home runs and 82 RBI.

Tags: Sterling Awards, Andrew Vazzano
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It's that time of year again. Award time. We give our nominees for our Giants awards and have nominated five players for the major NFL awards as well.

Giants 2012 Nominees

MVP: WR Victor Cruz, K Lawrence Tynes, S Antrel Rolle, QB Eli Manning

Tags: 2012 New York Giants, 2012 New York Giants Awards, 2012 NFL Awards
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Wednesday, the Mets named 1B/2B/3B Wilmer Flores and RHP Rafael Montero their Sterling Organizational Player and Pitcher of the year respectively.

The Mets also named a Sterling Award Winner for each affiliate:

AAA - RHP Matt Harvey

Tags: Awards, Toby Hyde
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The big man won the AAA Home Run Derby in front of?17,244 fans in Buffalo.

It looked like this.

Tags: Awards, Toby Hyde
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Wilmer Flores and Zack Wheeler were selected to represent the Mets at the All-Star Futures game to be held in Kansas City on Sunday, July 9 at 5 pm.

Flores has enjoyed a bounce-back 2012, hitting .289/.336/.463 for St. Lucie, and yesterday earning a promotion to double-A Binghamton. His 10 homeruns are already one off a career-high set in 2010, and his extra-base hit rate is above 8% for the first time since 2010. At the plate, his strikeout rate of 11% is the lowest of his professional career. He has always hit for plenty of contact. However, this year, the Mets have been very pleased by his improved selectivity at the plate as well. It's relatively rare for a prospect to make repeat appearances in the Futures Game, but Flores appeared back in 2009?which is a testament to both how long he has been on the prospect radar, and his improvements in 2012. The Mets moved him off shortstop in 2012, and while he's played third almost the whole year, the team tried him out at second, a position he played relatively extensively in winter ball, for a few games at the end of the first half in St. Lucie. Oh, and he's 20. He's going to play in the big leagues, but his future position and value, two propositions which are very closely tied, are still unclear.

Wheeler has just been very, very good in double-A. He's third in ERA (1.88), strikeouts (73) and WHIP (1.00), first in opponents' batting average (.176) and second in strikeout rate for starters (9.17). The fastball and slider look like plus pitches, while his curve and changeup are coming along. His command is still rough around the edges and his walk rate of 3.64 BB/9 is about the only thing keeping him from triple-A at this point. His delivery is more fluid since his Giants' days, producing better pitchers and a happier pitcher.

Tags: Awards, Wilmer Flores, Zack Wheeler, Toby Hyde
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@ FSL South All-Stars 6, FSL North All-Stars 3?

3B Wilmer Flores was 3-for-4 with 3 RBI and a walk to help the FSL All-Stars score six runs in the final two innings for the comeback win. His two-run single off hard-throwing Tigers' prospect Bruce Rondon, on a pitch that MiLB.com reports was 100 mph, capped the game's scoring. Flores told MiLB.com of the swing:

"I've faced him a few times this season and I knew he was going to come with another fastball. It was all about squaring it up and putting into play."
Flores can hit. Before the All-Star Game, Rondon had allowed just one run in his previous 17.1 innings of work in the FSL while striking out 23.

Tags: Awards, Wilmer Flores, Toby Hyde
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- Three Gnats SS TJ Rivera, OF Travis Taijeron and LHP TJ Chism were selected to the South Atlantic League Southern Division All-Star Team. Rivera told me that it will be his first All-Star game since an All-NYC game back when he was at Lehman HS in the Bronx. Also, I love that All-Star game logo.

- In his weekly Farm Report at ESPNNY, Adam Rubin spoke with St. Lucie 3B Wilmer Flores. The 20-year old is hitting .313/.356/.505 in 56 games.He explained his approach to Rubin:

?Right now, I?m just trying to swing at more good pitches,? he said. ?I?m just trying to minimize my strike zone -- just swing at strikes, you know??
- At MiLB.com, Andrew Pentis has a really weird conversation with Gnats' pitching prospect Michael Fulmer. Why weird? He asks Fulmer to grade all of his pitches, and Fulmer hands average-to-plus grades on all four of his offerings. I like Fulmer as a prospect, and it's based on his good size plus fastball. None of his secondary stuff is average yet, although the slider has a chance.

Tags: Awards, Wilmer Flores, Toby Hyde
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RHP Cory Mazzoni, LHP Adam Kolarek, LHP Chase Huchingson, C Blake Forsythe, 3B Wilmer Flores, SS Wilfredo Tovar and OF Cory Vaughn were all selected to the Florida State League All-Star Game. The Mets staff of manager Ryan Ellis, pitching coach Phil Regan and hitting coach Benny DiStefano will also be heading to the game.

This seems like a good time to point out that the St. Lucie Mets are 41-12 with a 15-game lead for first place in the FSL South Division and a magic number of three to clinch the first half crown.

Tags: Awards, St. Lucie Mets, Toby Hyde
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Giants' WRs Mario Manningham and Victor Cruz are enjoying their newfound stardom to the hilt. Tonight, they accompanied actress Pauley Perrette (NCIS) on stage at the Grammy Awards in LA to present Best Rock Performance (won by Foo Fighters).

Cruz was asked to salsa onstage. He kindly obliged....

Tags: Grammy Awards, New York Giants, Victor Cruz
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Tonight, for the first time ever, the NFL will host an event to distribute their top awards for the season. We'd like to hear your take on who you think should win some of these awards....please comment below....

  • AP Most Valuable Player
  • AP Coach of the Year (Presented by XFINITY, only from Comcast)
  • AP Offensive Player (Presented by Castrol)
  • AP Offensive Rookie of the Year (Presented by Pepsi Max)
  • Pepsi Rookie of the Year
  • NFL.com Fantasy Player of the Year
  • Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award (Presented by Prilosec OTC)
  • Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award
  • Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year
  • AP Comeback Player of the Year (Presented by Van Heusen)
  • AP Rookie of the Year (Presented by Pepsi Max)
  • Fantastic Finish of the Year
  • Play of the Year (Presented by Bridgestone)
  • Salute To Service Award (presented by USAA)
Tags: NFL, NFL Awards, NFL Honors
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1. Minorleaguebaseball.com hands out their Mets organization awards. ?It's a goofy list of guys at different levels, but does have a generous helping of quotes from Paul DePodesta, Wally Backman and Pedro Lopez to get you fired up about each player.

DePodesta on Matt Harvey:

We were tremendously pleased..Matt obviously came with high expectations. Our goals for him were for him to get established on a five-day schedule.

Tags: Awards, Links, Toby Hyde
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Before the Giants battle the Dolphins, let's take a look at the most important players from the first act of the Giants' 2011 season.

Defensive Player of the Year: Jason Pierre-Paul

Considering how dominant he?s been this season, it?s amazing that JPP was thought to be a project when he was drafted just two seasons ago.? Many fans and experts complained that Pierre-Paul was too rough around the edges to be taken 15th overall, and that the Giants should have taken Derrick Morgan or Sean Witherspoon.? I would guess that, if the 2010 draft were held right now, Pierre-Paul would not make it to #15.

Tags: awards, bye week, giants, mvp, New York Giants
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In a week without Giants football, I figured I'd take a look back and hand out some early hardware. Part one of the "Bye Week Awards" is plays of the year (so far).

Click the links for the highlights.

Best Highlight Reel Play:

Tags: awards, giants, New York Giants, play of the year
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Last week, I wrote a few things about each of the top three upper level Sterling Award Winners. Lets move towards completing the series (because I'm a completist, after all) with a look today at the Sterling Award winner as the team's most valuable player for the Savannah Sand Gnats, LHP Angel Cuan.

What do we have here? ?A little lefty who was very effective both as a reliever in the first half and as a starter in the second. ?Cuan finished second on the Gnats in innings pitched, and for what it's worth (next to nothing) first in wins at 10.

Tags: Angel Cuan, Awards, Toby Hyde
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Gorski had a tremendous year. A 7th round pick in 2009 out of Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, he struggled with Savannah in 2010, posting a 4.58 ERA with 125 hits allowed in 114 innings pitched. ?His K/BB ratio rose from 2.5 (109 K/43 BB) last year to 4.8 (140 K /29 BB) this year. ?I was told that his velocity was up and his command improved over 2010. ?That's good stuff.

On last night's SNY broadcast, Gorski explained his success this year to Chris Carlin:

Tags: Awards, Darin Gorski, Toby Hyde
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I was a little surprised by this pick, but the more I look at it, the more it makes sense. Harvey was dominant in the Florida State League. Honoring him with an award, gives him another opportunity to go to New York, and for fans and media to see a guy who could be a rotation cornerstone as soon as the end of next season if all goes well.

Harvey chatted with Carlin during Wednesday's SNY Broadcast.

Tags: Awards, Matt Harvey, Toby Hyde
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Familia had a great season. I had him ranked as the Mets' #3 pitching prospect entering the year, and #10 overall. He'll move up from #10, surely. ?He owns a big fastball and a nasty slider. ?He should start 2012 in AAA.

Other Good Candidates:2011 B-Mets StatsJosh Satin earned the Organizational Player of the Year.

Tags: Awards, Jeurys Familia, Toby Hyde
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For the first time since April 7, or five months and twelve days, there were no games played by at least one Mets minor league affiliate on Wednesday, September 13. So, with no games, it's now officially awards season.

Of course, the minor league season isn't over: the Gnats have at least two and maybe three games left.

The Mets announced their Sterling Organization Player of the Year Awards for each affiliate Wednesday.

Tags: Awards, Toby Hyde
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We've gone through the full-season Sterling Award winners including Organization Player of the Year Lucas Duda, Pitcher of the Year Mark Cohoon, AAA winner Dillon Gee, AA winner Kirk Nieuwenhuis, A+ winner Wilmer Flores, and A winner Cesar Puello,? so lets move on to the short-season award recipients, starting with Darrell Ceciliania of the Brooklyn Cyclones.

Ceciliani didn't just win the New York-Penn League batting title by hitting .351, a new Cyclones' record.? He won the NYP batting title by 21 points. He led the League in hits (95) and triples (12), was third in OBP (.410), and tied for third in doubles (19) and in extra-base hits (33) with teammate Cory Vaughn.? Oh, and he was the youngest player on the Cyclones.

Ceciliani is not just a hitter.? One Mets person suggested to me that that Ceciliani was just about the best defensive CF in the system.? That's high praise.

Tags: Analysis, Awards, Darrell Ceciliani, Toby Hyde
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I've written about the Sterling Award winners including Organization Player of the Year Lucas Duda, Pitcher of the Year Mark Cohoon, AAA winner Dillon Gee, AA winner Kirk Nieuwenhuis and A winner Cesar Puello.? So lets plug the holes and finish this series.

Wilmer Flores, who turned 19 in August, won the Sterling Award as the St. Lucie Mets MVP despite playing exactly on half season in the FSL after being promoted at the SAL All-Star break.

The chart below tracks his production since Opening Day 2009 in the South Atlantic League.

Tags: Analysis, Awards, Wilmer Flores, Toby Hyde
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Before tonight's game, the Mets will honor their Sterling Award Winners for their Organization Pitcher and Player of the Year and the MVP of each affiliate. So, if you want to catch some minor leaguers in street clothes, head on out to Citi early tonight.

I'll write a little more about each of these guys tonight, but here's the list.? Most of these choices were pretty obvious.

Sterling Organizational Player of the Year

Tags: Awards, Toby Hyde
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AAA

Fernando Martinez has returned to active duty for the Buffalo Bisons, sending Connor Robertson (0-3, 5.46) down to AA.? Robertson had 23 K and 10 BB in 28 innings while giving up 32 hits. The Mets also claimed LHP Arturo Lopez from the San Diego Padres.? Lopez had a 2.77 ERA in 20 games with the Portland Beavers.

AA

Tags: Awards, Binghamton Mets, Buffalo Bisons, Robert Carson, Savannah Sand Gnats, Transactions, Toby Hyde
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Monday, the SAL named LHP Jimmy Johnson, RHP Jeff Kaplan, OF Sean Ratliff and 2B/1B Josh Satin to the Southern Division All-Star team.? The game will be played on June 23rd, at the home of the West Virginia Power.

Satin (.310/.409/.411) is tenth in the SAL in batting average and third in OBP.

Ratliff (.304/.346/.487) is tied for fourth in the league with 16 doubles.

Tags: Awards, Daily Recap, Jimmy Johnson, Joshua Satin, Sean Ratliff, Toby Hyde
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On the New York Baseball Digest Blog Talk Radio Show, Howard Megdal of the New York Observer named Mets Minor League Blog the Mets Blog of the Year.? You can listen to the complete show here.? Howard and his co-host Mike Silva hand out the hardware right near the end.

I'm thrilled by the honor.? Thank you Howard.

Here are actual quotes from Howard, and yes, these will find a way onto my resume:

Tags: Awards, Toby Hyde
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MinorLeagueBaseball.com named Fernando Martinez the 32nd best prospect in baseball in their rankings.

Statistically speaking: Talk about a split. During the 2008 season, F-Mart had 106 at-bats against left-handers and 246 vs. righties. Martinez, a left-handed hitter, hit just .217 with a .665 OPS against southpaws while the numbers jumped to .317 and .819 vs. right-handers.
Tiny sample size alert, but in the DWL in 2008:
Vs. L: 25 AB - .320/.346/.800/1.146 2 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR
Vs. R: 71 AB - .324/.388/.465/.852? 2 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR

Scouting report: ....many still believe Martinez will hit for average and power as he matures. Reviews are mixed, but most still like his bat speed from the left side. He's got a good arm and played good defense in center this past season.

Tags: Awards, Fernando Martinez, Toby Hyde
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Minorleaguebaseball.com announced the Topps AA All-Star team.? was the only Met to make the squad.? From MiLB.com:

Eddie Kunz (22) of Portland, Ore., recorded 27 saves in 30 opportunities for the Binghamton Mets, before being summoned to the big leagues in August. The right-hander made four appearances for the New York Mets and ended his year in Triple-A. Kunz was drafted in the second round in 2007 out of Oregon State University.
In AA this year, Kunz was 1-4 with a 2.79 ERA.? In 48.1 IP, he gaveup just 39 H for an opponents' batting average of .222.? He walked 25 and struck out 43.
Tags: Awards, Eddie Kunz, Toby Hyde
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DSL: Gonzalez Germen RHPDSL: 5-2, 1.34 ERA, 15 G, 74 IP, 41 H, 21 R, 11 ER, 15 BB, 70 K, 1.47 gb/fb

6?1? 175 lbs. b. 9/23/87

Tags: Awards, Toby Hyde
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SSA: Brad Holt

SSA: 5-3, 1.87 ERA, 14 GS, 72.1 IP, 43 H, 18 R, 15 ER, 3 HR, 33 BB, 96 K

What he is: At 6?4? and 200lbs, the 21-year-old Holt is the best Mets pitching prospect not currently on the big league roster

Tags: Awards, Brad Holt, Toby Hyde
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A: .286/.339/.402 25 2B, 5 3B, 6 HR, 32 BB, 93 K, 28/40 SB ? 455 AB, 111 G

A+:.234/.298/.247, 1 2B, 0 HR, 7 BB, 20 K ? 77 AB, 21 G

Tags: Awards, Greg Veloz, Toby Hyde
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A+: Dillon Gee RHP

A+: 8-6, 3.25 ERA, 21 GS, 127.1 IP, 117 H, 49 R, 46 ER, 6 HR, 19 BB, 94 K

AA: 2-0, 1.33 ERA, 4 GS, 27 IP, 18 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 HR, 5 BB, 20 K

Gee?s 3.25 ERA was 7th best in the FSL.

Tags: Awards, Dillon Gee, Toby Hyde
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Jonathan Niese LHP

AA: 6-7, 3.04 ERA, 22 GS, 124.1 IP, 118 H, 53 R, 42 ER, 5 HR, 44 BB, 112 K, 1.5 gb/fb

AAA: 5-1, 3.40 ERA, 7 GS, 39.2 IP, 34 H, 15 R, 15 ER, 4 HR, 14 BB, 32 K, 1.66 gb/fb

Tags: Awards, Jon Niese, Toby Hyde
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Daniel Murphy LF/1B/2B/3B

MLB: .360/.448/.528, 7 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 15 BB, 16 K ? 89 AB, 37 G

AA: .308/.374/.496, 26 2B, 3B, 13 HR, 39 BB, 46 K ? 357 AB, 95 G

Tags: Awards, Dan Murphy, Nick Evans, Toby Hyde
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Over the next two days I'll be doing a discussion of each of the Mets Sterling Award winners, starting with co Players of the Year Dan Murphy and Nick Evans.
Tags: Awards, Toby Hyde
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The Mets named Dan Murphy and Nick Evans Sterling Minor League Organizational Co- Players of the year and LHP Jon Niese as the Sterling Pitcher of the Year. There was also a winner for each team:

AAA: Brian Stokes

Tags: Awards, Toby Hyde
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The Eastern League named Mike Carp, Dan Murphy and Eddie Kunz to the post-season All-Star team.

Carp (pictured) is the lone player of the three still with the B-Mets. Now hitting .294/.394/.471 he leads the team in HR (17), RBI (69), R (64) and hits (130).

Murphy hit .308/.374/.496 with Binghamton and has torn up big league pitching to a .404/.491/.617 tune in 18 games after a one-day stopover in New Orleans.

Kunz converted 27 of 30 save opportunities in double-A to go along with a 2.79 ERA. In 48.1 IP, he walked 25 and struck out 43, but his control improved markedly over the course of the year. After walking over five batters per nine innings in the first two months, he only walked on 11.1 July innings. His gb/fb ratio was a crazy high 3.55. After a brief and rough introduction to the major leagues, Kunz is waiting for another chance at triple-A New Orleans.

Tags: Awards, Dan Murphy, Eddie Kunz, Mike Carp, Toby Hyde
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Three Cyclone pitchers Brad Holt, Yury Santana and Chris Schwinden were named to the NYP League All-Star game to be held August 19th in Joseph L. Bruno Stadium in Troy, NY. Hopefully the game will move more quickly than the Albany legislative process.

Holt is third in the league with a 2.08 ERA and tied for second with 61 strikeouts while his 25 walks are second. The Mets drafted Holt with the 33rd overall pick in the supplemental round out of UNC Wilmington this June. I wrote about Holt here, focusing on his fastball on a night when it was special, and took a look at his developing curveball here. Both pieces have video.

Schwinden (3-1, 1.09) has been sparkling statistically for the Cyclones. In 41.1 IP, he?s struck out 45 and walked just nine while yielding only 28 hits, good enough for an opponents batting average of .204. The Mets scooped up Schwinden with the 674th overall pick in the 22nd round out of Fresno Pacific University. I wrote about Schwinden here.

Santana (2-1, 2.95) is tied for fourth in the league with nine saves. In 18.1 IP, he?s fanned 26 while walking only eight. The last time I saw him, Santana worked with a fastball that sat 91-92 to go along with a slider from 80-82 mph.

Tags: Awards, Brad Holt, Chris Schwinden, Toby Hyde
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The Appalachian League named Kingsport Mets second baseman Kyle Suire the as the circuit?s Player of the Week for the week ending July 27th. For the wek, Suire hit .426/.533/.885. His 12 hits tied him with teammate Dock Doyle for the league lead while his three homers tied him with teammate Doug McNulty for the league in that category, but his 12 RBI paced the field all by himself. Suire joins SS Wilmer Flores as K-Mets to win the weekly award.
Tags: Awards, Toby Hyde
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Monday, the PCL named Willie Collazo (4-6-2, 4.07) as the PCL?s All-Star game starter against the International League in Louisville on July 16th. It?s been a season of filling in for Collazo: taking OF Chris Aguila?s place on the All-Star roster after Aguila was promoted to the Mets and Collazo merited inclusion on the team for his fine job both as a reliever and as a fill-in in the Zephyrs starting rotation. Collazo?s first 14 appearances in 2008 came out of the bullpen, before moving into the rotation for 10 starts from May 13-June 29th. In 90.2 IP this year, Collazo has struck out 45 hitters and walked 26 with a solid gb/fb ratio of 1.42.

Collazo is now the second Zephyr, alongside Daryle Ward to appear in two triple-A All-Star Games. Last season, he pitched a perfect fifth in Albuquerque. Darryl Ward, a triple-A All-Star in 1998 and 1999, won ASG MVP in 1999 at a game played at Zephyrs Field when he drilled a three-run homer.

Tags: Awards, Toby Hyde
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