Bucs announce 2nd round of Minor League honors

November 9th, 2022

The Pirates announced their second batch of end-of-season Minor League awards, recognizing Jacob Gonzalez and Luis Ortiz as the Manny Sanguillen Teammates of the Year and FCL/Double-A coach Jonathan Prieto as the Danny Murtaugh Coach of the Year.

The Manny Sanguillen Teammates of the Year Award goes to the players who “best exemplify Sanguillen’s passion for the game and building friendships among teammates.”

Ortiz, ranked Pittsburgh's No. 30 prospect per MLB Pipeline, rapidly ascended through the Pirates’ Minor League system over the past year. Ortiz finished the 2021 season with Single-A Bradenton, then began this season with Double-A Altoona, skipping over High-A Greensboro entirely. The 23-year-old earned a promotion to Triple-A Indianapolis on Sept. 1, then earned his first big league callup just two weeks later and started four games in the Majors. Ortiz, who recorded the fourth most strikeouts in a single season in Curve history (126), was named Altoona’s Pitcher of the Year.

“I’ve just seen him punch a lot of people out," Gonzalez said. "I haven’t got to see him up close yet but I’ve watched from afar and it’s pretty special.”

Gonzalez exploded out of the gate, slashing .393/.477/.652 with four home runs and reaching base in all 24 games with Bradenton to start the year before earning a promotion to Greensboro on May 10. At that time, Gonzalez’s 1.129 OPS ranked seventh among all qualified Minor Leaguers. Gonzalez ended the season with a .305/.377/.459 slash line with 13 home runs and 61 RBIs.

Gonzalez, the son of former Major Leaguer Luis Gonzalez, discussed his father's influence.

“I grew up in the locker room, around him and all the other guys," Gonzalez said. "Getting to watch him all the time and just the way that he interacted with everyone in the whole building and see how he carried himself throughout the day and the work that he put into it and getting to know everybody. I think that helps on the field, as well. I definitely learned a ton from him growing up.” 

The other honor Pittsburgh announced on Wednesday, the Danny Murtaugh Coach of the Year Award, goes to the Pirates Minor League coach who “has had the biggest impact on the development of talent throughout the season.”

Prieto has been part of the organization for more than two decades, spending four years from 1998-2001 as a player in the Pirates' Minors system after being signed as a non-drafted free agent in July '97.

This year, Prieto spent time coaching with the Florida Complex League Pirates, which had the fourth-youngest hitting core in the league (20.8 years), and at Double-A Altoona. Prieto has also coached for the Pirates in the Venezuelan Summer League (2005-11) and the Dominican Summer League ('12-13), as well as for Jamestown ('14), West Virginia ('15-18) and Bristol ('19).