Mariners announce 2019 Minor League award winners

September 10th, 2019

SEATTLE, Wash. – Seattle Mariners Director of Player Development Andy McKay announced today the Mariners Minor League Awards for the 2019 season:

OF Jarred Kelenic received the Ken Griffey Jr. Minor League Hitter of the Year.
RH Logan Gilbert received the Jamie Moyer Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
INF Joe Rizzo received the Alvin Davis “Mr. Mariner” Award.
INF Donnie Walton received the Dan Wilson Minor League Community Service Award.
INF Connor Hoover received the Edgar Martinez “Rake Report” Award.
RHP Penn Murfee received the “60 ft. 6 in. Club” Award.
Manager Rob Marcello received the Dave Henderson Minor League Staff Member of the Year Award.

Kelenic, Gilbert, Rizzo, Walton, Hoover, Murfee and Marcello will be honored in a pre-game ceremony at T-Mobile Park prior to the Mariners game vs. the Oakland Athletics on Friday, September 27.


OF Jarred Kelenic (AA Arkansas/High-A Modesto/A West Virginia)

Kelenic, 20, hit .291 (192x443) with 80 runs scored, 31 doubles, 5 triples, 23 home runs, 68 RBI, 3 HBP, 50 walks and 20 stolen bases in 117 games in his first full season combined between A West Virginia (4/4-5/28), High-A Modesto (5/29-8/9) and AA Arkansas (8/10-9/2). He led all Mariners farmhands in runs scored and doubles, while also ranking T2nd in home runs, 3rd in hits and 4th in RBI. Kelenic was 1 of 10 minor league players this season to record at least 20 home runs and steal 20 bases and first Mariners prospect to accomplish this feat since outfielder Kalian Sams hit 24 home runs and stole 26 bases in 113 games combined between A Clinton and High-A High Desert in 2011. Kelenic hit safely in a season-high 18 games with West Virginia, April 11-May 2, batting .444 (32x72) with 15 runs scored, 11 doubles, 6 home runs, 17 RBI, 1 HBP, 7 walks and 3 stolen bases. His 18-game hitting streak was T2nd-longest by a Mariners minor leaguer this season (also: Bobby Honeyman) and trailed only Milkar Perez’s 21-game hitting streak for the Dominican Summer League Mariners. Kelenic was 1 of 3 prospects to represent the Mariners in the 21st annual SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game on Sunday, July 7th at Progressive Field in Cleveland.

Kelenic was acquired by Seattle along with Jay Bruce (of), Anthony Swarzak (rhp), Gerson Bautista (rhp) and Justin Dunn (rhp) from New York-NL in exchange for Robinson Canó (inf), Edwin Díaz (rhp) and cash considerations on Dec. 3, 2018. He was originally selected by the Mets in the 1st round (6th overall) of the 2018 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Waukesha (WI) High School. In his first two minor league seasons, Kelenic is batting .290 (192x663) with 122 runs scored, 41 doubles, 11 triples, 29 home runs, 110 RBI, 7 HBP, 76 walks and 35 stolen bases in 173 career games.


RHP Logan Gilbert (AA Arkansas/High-A Modesto/A West Virginia)

Gilbert, 22, went 10-5 with a 2.13 ERA (32 ER, 135.0 IP) in 26 starts combined between A West Virginia, High-A Modesto and AA Arkansas in his first professional season. He limited opponents to a .198 (95x481) average, while walking 33 and striking out 165. Among all minor league pitchers (min. 125.0 IP), Gilbert ranked 3rd in ERA (2.13), 5th in average (.198), T7th in strikeouts (165), while his 10 wins were 2nd-most among all Mariners farmhands. He opened the season making 5 starts with West Virginia, going 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA (4 ER, 22.2 IP). He tossed 12.0 scoreless innings over his first 3 starts before allowing a solo home run in the 4th inning on April 15 vs. Lakewood. Gilbert was promoted to Modesto on May 1, going 5-3 with a 1.73 ERA (12 ER, 62.1 IP) in 12 starts. He set career-highs in both innings pitched and strikeouts on May 19 at Rancho Cucamonga, allowing only 2 hits and striking out 11 over 7.0 innings to earn the win. Gilbert made 9 starts with Arkansas after being promoted a second time on July 15. He went 4-2 with a 2.88 ERA (16 ER, 50.0 IP) in 9 starts. He allowed 3 earned runs or less in 8 of his 9 starts, including tossing a season-high 18.0 scoreless innings over 4 starts (dating back to the 5th inning on Aug. 3 at Springfield-Aug. 24). From July 28-28, Gilbert went 4-1 with a 1.03 ERA (4 ER, 35.0 IP) in his last 6 starts. During this stretch, he limited opponents to a .169 (20x118) average while walking 9 and striking out 39. He was twice named Pitcher of the Week: May 13-19 with Modesto and Aug. 12-18 with Arkansas.

Gilbert was originally selected by Seattle in the 1st round (14th overall) of the 2018 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Stetson University. Gilbert is rated the 2nd overall prospect in the Mariners organization and the 48th overall prospect by MLB Pipeline. He is also rated the 70th overall prospect by Baseball America in their end of the season rankings.


INF Joe Rizzo (High-A Modesto)

Rizzo, 22, received the Alvin Davis “Mr. Mariner” Award for his exemplary play and leadership skills both on and off the field this season. He spent the entire season with High-A Modesto, batting .295 (153x518) with 77 runs scored, 30 doubles, 3 triples, 10 home runs, 63 RBI, 4 HBP and 45 walks in 129 games with the Nuts. Rizzo led all Mariners farmhands in hits (153), games (129) and at-bats (518), while also ranking 2nd in runs scored. Among California League leaders, he ranked 3rd in hits (153), 3rd in doubles (30), 4th in total bases (219), 6th in average (.295), 6th in runs scored (77), T9th in extra-base hits (43), T13th in RBI (63), 14th in on-base percentage (.354), 15th in slugging percentage (.423), 17th in OPS (.777) and 19th in walks (45). Rizzo started at third base for the California League North Division All-Star team, going 0-for-2. Rizzo reached base safely in 24 of his final 27 games, including recording at least 1 hit in 21, Aug 1-Sept. 2. During this 27-game stretch he hit .342 (39x114) with 18 runs scored, 6 doubles, 2 home runs, 19 RBI and 8 walks. He recorded a career-high 5 hits on Aug. 24 at Visalia, going 5-for-5 with 2 runs scored.

Rizzo was the Mariners 2nd round selection in the 2017 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Oakton (VA) High School. In parts of 4 minor league seasons, he is batting .267 (415x1557) with 192 runs scored, 75 doubles, 7 triples, 23 home runs, 190 RBI, 10 HBP, 166 walks and 11 stolen bases.


INF Donnie Walton (AA Arkansas)

Walton, 25, was honored for his individual effort in the Little Rock community over the course of the season, participating in numerous community events, youth baseball camps, speaking appearances and autograph sessions. He made visits to the local Ronald McDonald House, Boy and Girls Clubs and visited elementary classrooms to read with children. He also volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, helped organize food, toy and clothing drives and collected equipment to be sent to the Dominican Republic.

Walton appeared in 124 games with Arkansas, batting .300 (144x480) with 72 runs scored, 22 doubles, 3 triples, 11 home runs, 50 RBI, 10 HBP, 63 walks and 10 stolen bases. He set career-highs in nearly every offensive category, including games (124), runs scored (72), hits (144) home runs (11), RBI (50) and walks (63). He was 1 of 5 qualifying players in the Texas League to finish the season with a .300 average, while also ranking among the league leaders in hits (2nd, 144), on-base percentage (2nd, .390), walks (T2nd, 63), OPS (5th, .817), total bases (5th, 205), runs scored (7th, 72), slugging percentage (14th, .427), doubles (T15th, 22) and extra-base hits (T18th, 36). Walton hit safely in 15 of 17 games from June 4-27, batting .464 (32x69) with 15 runs scored, 4 doubles, 2 home runs, 9 RBI, 2 HBP, 9 walks and 1 stolen base. Walton was named to the Texas League North Division All-Star team, going 1-for-1 with a runs scored and walk.

Walton was selected by Seattle in the 5th round of the 2016 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of the Oklahoma State University. In 4 minor league seasons, Walton is batting .283 (380x1341), with 211 runs scored, 72 doubles, 9 triples, 24 home runs, 143 RBI, 26 HBP, 164 walks and 35 stolen bases in 358 career games.


INF Connor Hoover ((AAA Tacoma/AA Arkansas/High-A Modesto/A West Virginia/Short-A Everett/Rookie AZL Mariners)

Hoover, 23, received the Edgar Martinez “Rake Report” Award after being recognized as the hitter in the Mariners organization that best embodied the Control the Zone philosophy, instilling a team approach at the plate instead of an individual approach. Hoover combined to appear in 72 games over all levels throughout the Mariners organization, batting .247 (60x243) with 44 runs scored, 15 doubles, 5 triples, 9 home runs, 43 RBI, 3 HBP, 45 walks and 16 stolen bases. He spent the majority of his season with Everett (7/17-8/6 & 8/13-9/2), batting .226 (26x115) with 21 runs scored, 7 doubles, 3 triple, 5 home runs, 24 RBI, 25 walks and 9 stolen bases in 34 games.

Hoover was selected by Seattle in the 21st round of the 2017 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of North Georgia University. In 3 minor league seasons, he is batting .244 (129x528) with 100 runs scored, 27 doubles, 7 triples, 14 home run, 78 RBI, 114 walks and 35 stolen bases in 171 games.

“60 ft. 6 in. CLUB” AWARD

RHP Penn Murfee (AAA Tacoma/AA Arkansas/High-A Modesto)

Murfee, 25, received the “60 ft. 6 in. Club” Award after being recognized as the pitcher in the Mariners organization that best embodied the Control the Zone philosophy. Murfee spent the majority of the season with High-A Modesto, but also appeared in 1 game with AA Arkansas (5/19) and 5 games with AAA Tacoma (4/9-21). He went 5-5 with a 3.07 ERA (35 ER, 102.2 IP) in 26 games, 20 starts with the Nuts. He allowed only 1 earned run in 29.1 innings over his first 10 games, 4 starts with Modesto from April 26-June 6, including tossing 23.1 consecutive scoreless innings from May 2-June 6. During this stretch he went 2-0 with a .031 ERA (1 ER, 29.1 IP) while walking 5 and striking out 38. After moving to the starting rotation fulltime on May 26, Murfee went 4-5 with a 3.50 ERA (34 ER, 87.1 IP) in 19 starts. He allowed 2 earned runs or less in 13 of his 19 starts, including 5 starts without allowing a run. Among California League Leaders, Murfee finished T10th in strikeouts (122), T16th in starts (20) and 20th in innings pitched (102.2).

Murfee was originally selected by Seattle in the 33rd round of the 2018 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Vanderbilt University. He spent his first three collegiate seasons at Santa Clara before transferred to Vanderbilt for his senior season in 2018. In 2 minor league seasons, he is 9-7 with a 4.24 ERA (69 ER, 146.1 IP) in 51 games, 20 starts. He has limited opponents to a .255 (143x561) batting average, while walking 43 and striking out 159.


Rob Marcello (Pitching Coach – High-A Modesto Nuts)

In his first season in the Mariners organization, his first as pitching coach for the Modesto Nuts, Rob Marcello was named the Dave Henderson Minor League Staff Member of the Year. He has been an integral member of the Player Development staff this season, making sure pitchers are prepared to succeed on a daily basis. The Nuts ranked among the California League leaders in nearly every pitching category, including leading the league in innings pitched (1,222.1) while also ranking 2nd in ERA (3.36) and strikeouts (1,442), 3rd in WHIP (1.30) and 4th in shutouts (9). The Nuts starters combined to go 38-41 with a 3.78 ERA (292, 695.2 IP), while the bullpen combined to 27-34 with 26 saves and a 3.58 ERA (224 ER, 563.2 IP).

“In Rob’s first year with the Mariners, the Modesto Nuts pitching staff flourished in both team and individual accomplishments.” Director of Player Development Andy McKay said. “His work with Gilbert, Delaplane, McClain, Kerr, Newsome, McKinney, Murfee, and Gerber was exceptional. Rob has exceeded all expectations for how he impacted our players this year.”

Prior to joining the Mariners organization, Rob was the Director of Operations and Co-Owner of TLA in Orlando, FL. He began his collegiate pitching career at Indian River State College before transferring to Division 1, Appalachian State University. He was a nationally recognized player and ranked in the Top 200 by Baseball America in 2013. That same year he began his professional career after being drafted in the 17th round by the Philadelphia Phillies. After concluding his pitching and playing career, Rob joined the coaching staff right back where he started, Indian River State College. Since then he has also been a head pitching coach at St. Petersburg College in Clearwater, FL and on the coaching staff at Rollins College in Winter Park, FL.