Marlins announce 2018 Minor League award winners

The Miami Marlins today announced its 2018 Minor League award winners, highlighted by Player of the Year Austin Dean, Pitcher of the Year Nick Neidert, Student of the Year Walner Espinal, and Staff Member of the Year Bruce Walton.

September 19th, 2018

The Miami Marlins today announced its 2018 Minor League award winners, highlighted by Player of the Year Austin Dean, Pitcher of the Year Nick Neidert, Student of the Year Walner Espinal, and Staff Member of the Year Bruce Walton


Dean, who made his Major League debut with Miami on August 15 in Atlanta, combined to hit .345 (137x397) with 20 doubles, five triples, 12 home runs and 68 RBI in 109 games between Double-A Jacksonville and Triple-A New Orleans. He opened his 2018 campaign by being named Southern League Player of the Week for the second week of the season, then garnered Southern League Player of the Month honors for April. He earned a promotion to New Orleans on April 29 and took home Pacific Coast League Player of the Week honors on August 12. Dean, Miami's fourth-round selection in the 2012 Draft, ranked fourth among all full-season Minor Leaguers in average, and over his six-year Minor League career has hit .280 with 135 doubles, 27 triples, 47 home runs, and 319 RBI. 


Neidert, whom the Marlins acquired from Seattle on December 17, 2017, posted a 12-7 record, 3.24 ERA (152.2 ip/55 er), 31 walks and 154 strikeouts in 26 starts at Double-A Jacksonville. His innings total tied for the lead across all of Double-A, while his strikeout total ranked second and wins were tied for secondmost. The 2018 Southern League All-Star led all Marlins farmhands in wins and strikeouts. A secondround selection of the Mariners in the 2015 Draft, Neidert has a lifetime record of 30-18 with a 3.01 ERA, 75 walks, and 368 strikeouts in 81 starts. 


Espinal, signed by Miami as an International free agent in 2016 out of the Dominican Republic, completed his first season with the Gulf Coast League Marlins, batting .252 (38x151) with eight doubles, one triple, three home runs, and 26 RBI in 45 games. He logged the most hours of any player in his Burlington English software in the computer lab, helping him advance and achieve success with his teachers, coaches, and teammates. 


Walton, in his first season as pitching coach for Single-A Jupiter, saw his pitching staff record the lowest team ERA (3.43) in the Florida State League, and the second-lowest WHIP (1.25). As a team, the Hammerheads issued the second-fewest walks in the FSL, behind only Fort Myers (362).  


The following are affiliate MVP honorees: 


New Orleans -- RHP Jeff Brigham

Brigham combined to go 10-3 with a 2.36 ERA in 17 starts between Jacksonville and New Orleans. He tallied 94 strikeouts in 95.1 innings pitched. Prior to being called up by the Marlins on September 1, he went 5-2 with a 3.44 ERA in nine starts for the Baby Cakes, with 48 strikeouts in 52.1 innings. He opened the season by being named Southern League Pitcher of the Week for April 5-15 with Jacksonville, where he began his season prior to being promoted to New Orleans. Brigham, acquired by Miami from the Dodgers on July 30, 2015, was originally selected by Los Angeles in the fourth round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft. 

Jacksonville -- INF Isan Diaz

Diaz split the 2018 campaign between Jacksonville and New Orleans, combining to hit .232 (100x431) with 23 doubles, five triples, 13 home runs and 56 RBI in 119 games. He was twice named Southern League Player of the Week, once in June and July. Diaz, who came to Miami via trade on January 25, 2018, was originally a Competitive Balance Round B selection of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2014. In 481 career Minor League games, he has hit .254 with 109 doubles, 21 triples, 62 home runs, and 257 RBI. 


Jupiter -- RHP Parker Bugg

In a team-leading 37 appearances out of the bullpen for Jupiter in 2018, Bugg held opponents to a .202 batting average, and posted a 3.07 ERA (67.1 ip/23 er). He led Jupiter's relief corps with 81 strikeouts in 67.1 innings, while walking just 13. The 27th-round Miami selection in the 2016 Draft has compiled a career 5-4 record and 3.69 ERA (131.2/54) in 74 appearances. 


Greensboro -- INF Jose Devers

Miami's 12th-ranked prospect, Devers earned South Atlantic League All-Star honors and finished the season with a .273 average (92x337), 12 doubles, four triples, 24 RBI and 13 stolen bases in 85 games for the Grasshoppers. He was acquired by Miami with Starlin Castro and Jorge Guzman from the Yankees on December 11, 2017.  


Batavia -- LHP Manuel Rodriguez

Rodriguez appeared in 13 games (four starts) for Batavia, posting a 3-2 record and 1.06 ERA (51.0 ip/6 er). The 2018 New York-Penn League All-Star limited opponents to a .228 batting average and struck out 42. His ERA was the lowest on the staff among qualifying pitchers, and his 1.02 WHIP ranked second. Signed by Miami as an International free agent in 2013 out of Venezuela, Rodriguez owns a career 16-14 record and 3.68 ERA (242.1/99) in 85 appearances. 


GCL Marlins -- OF Davis Bradshaw

Miami's 11th round selection in the 2018 Draft, Davis combined to hit .354 (58x164) between the GCL Marlins and Batavia. In 27 GCL games, he tallied 35 hits in 93 at-bats (.376 avg.) with four doubles, three triples, 13 RBI, and 15 stolen bases.  


DSL Marlins -- RHP Luis Palacios

Palacios was named Co-Pitcher of the Year in the DSL after finishing 8-0 with a 0.85 ERA (63.2 ip/6 er) over 15 games (four starts). He led the DSL in wins and in WHIP (0.60), while ranking second in ERA. He tossed 33.0 consecutive scoreless innings, spanning seven games (three starts) from June 26-August 1, allowing a total of 10 hits and two walks, with 31 strikeouts, during that time. Palacios signed with Miami as an International free agent in 2016 out of Venezuela, and in 30 career games has gone 12-0 with a 1.63 ERA (110.1/20). 


Award winners will be available to the media in the press conference room following the on-field presentation.  


As part of Thank You Weekend, Miami's top four draft selections from this year's draft, Connor Scott, Osiris Johnson, Will Banfield, and Tristan Pompey, as well as Jorge Guzman and Jose Devers, will participate at various selfie stations on the promenade level beginning at approximately 6:15 p.m.