Since 2011, Rawlings and Minor League Baseball have been handing out their Minor League Gold Glove Awards and they’ve just announced the 2013 crop of winners. The Detroit Tigers led the way by having three players, first baseman Jordan Lennerton, third baseman Wade Gaynor and left fielder Jason Krizan, take home awards.
First baseman Jordan Lennerton earned his gold glove playing at the highest minor level for the Toledo Mudhens. The 27 year old from Langley, British Columbia has been slowly but steadily rising through the Tigers organization since being drafted out of Oregon State University in the 33rd round of the 2008 draft. While he’s not a classic power hitter, Lennerton has hit for a solid average, decent power and excellent on-base percentages at every level of the minor leagues, including this year in which he hit .278/.382/.430 with 17 home runs. He profiles very similarly to another defensive wizard, Lyle Overbay, and wins a Gold Glove for a season in which he made only five errors.
I found this fairly critical scouting report from 2011 on Erie Sea Wolves (Double-A) third baseman Wade Gaynor over at our sister site Motor City Bengals. Obviously, the 25 year old from Hawesville, Kentucky has made great strides with the glove since then but his limited bat is going to put the brakes on his prospect status. Gaynor only hit .226/.290/.375 with 12 home runs this season for Erie. The third round pick from 2009 had a .967 fielding percentage with just 11 errors in over 300 chances.
Left fielder Jason Krizan stepped up a level to play for the High-A Lakeland Flying Tigers in the Florida State League with no problems. Krizan, 24, has shown a solid bat since being drafted out of Dallas Baptist University in the eighth round of the 2011 draft. With a .288/.388/.396 slash line, Krizan really impressed with his ability to get on base by walking 62 times (to just 44 strikeouts) and shone on defense, making only one error and throwing out nine runners on the bases.
The winning pitcher, 24-year-old Taylor Hill, pitched at three different minor league levels for the Washington nationals system. Hill, a 2011 sixth-round pick out of the pitching powerhouse Vanderbilt, had an excellent season for Potomac (High-A), Harrisburg (Double-A) and Syracuse (Triple-A), combining for 164 2/3 innings with a 2.95 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. Known for his great control (only 29 walks), Hill did not commit an error in 46 chances and contributed to five double plays.
Catcher Blake Forsythe is the winner among the backstops in the minor leagues. The 24 year old was selected in the third round of the 2010 draft out of the University of Tennessee and spent 2013 with the Double-A Binghamton Mets. Not known for his bat (he hit .191/.271/.362), Forsythe only made one error all season in over 700 chances, committed only four passed balls and threw out 36% of potential base stealers.
25-year-old Carlos Alonso won the award for second baseman playing in his second season for the Phillies’ High-A affiliate Clearwater Threshers. Alonso, a 2010 32nd-round pick, has a solid bat, hitting .260/.360/.349 but really excelled with the glove, making only two errors all season in over 500 chances for a .996 fielding percentage and contributing to 75 double plays.
The Arizona Diamondbacks can now say that they picked up a Gold Glover when they traded away Justin Upton last winter. Light-hitting shortstop Nick Ahmed, 23, made the grade for Rawlings and Minor League Baseball based on his outstanding play at shortstop for the Double-A Mobile Bay Bears where he posted a .980 fielding percentage and made just 13 errors. Ahmed didn’t have a great year with the bat, hitting .236/.288/.324 but showed excellent speed with 26 stolen bases in 33 attempts.
Center fielder Dalton Pompey is the second Canadian to win a Minor League Gold Glove award this year and the youngest of the award winners, having been drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 16th round of the 2010 draft out of John Fraser Secondary School in Mississauga, Ontario (just outside of Toronto). With the Lansing Lugnuts in 2013, Pompey had a very solid season, hitting .261/.358/.394 and stealing 38 bases as a 20 year old. Playing center field for the Lugnuts, Pompey did not make an error and had eight outfield assists in over 230 total chances.
Randal Grichuk, 22, earned his Gold Glove playing right field for the Arkansas Travelers in the Double-A Texas League. Grichuk, drafted by the Angels out of Texas’s Lamar Consolidated High School in the first round of the 2009 draft, posted another solid season with his bat moving up a level from last year. He hit .256/.306/.474 with 27 doubles, eight triples and 22 home runs on the season. He also showed off his strong arm, throwing out 11 runners on the bases.
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