Red Sox announce winners of 2021 Minor League awards
Recipients to be recognized in pre-game ceremony Wednesday
BOSTON, MA—The Boston Red Sox today announced the winners of the organization’s 2021 Minor League Awards:
- Offensive Player of the Year: INF Nick Yorke
- Defensive Player of the Year: INF/OF Ceddanne Rafaela
- Starting Pitcher of the Year: RHP Brayan Bello
- Relief Pitcher of the Year: RHP Durbin Feltman
- Baserunner of the Year: INF Christian Koss
- Latin Program Position Player of the Year: OF Allan Castro
- Latin Program Pitcher of the Year: RHP Jedixson Paez
Additionally, right-handed pitcher Kutter Crawford has been recognized as the 2021 recipient of the Lou Gorman Award. Created in 2011, the award is given annually to a Red Sox minor league player who has demonstrated dedication and perseverance in overcoming obstacles while working his way to the major league team.
The 2021 Minor League Awards are selected by the Red Sox baseball operations department and minor league roving instructors. The recipients will be honored during a pre-game, on-field ceremony at Fenway Park tomorrow prior to Boston’s 7:10 p.m. game against the New York Mets.
Yorke, 19, is ranked as one of the top 100 prospects in baseball by both MLB.com (No. 98) and Baseball America (No. 63). The right-handed hitter made his professional debut in 2021 and appeared in 97 games between Low-A Salem and High-A Greenville, batting .325 (123-for-378) with 20 doubles, five triples, 14 home runs, 62 RBI, 76 runs scored, a .412 on-base percentage, a .516 slugging percentage, and a .928 OPS. Beginning June 12, he reached base in 68 of his final 69 games of the season, batting .363 (99-for-273) with a 1.053 OPS in that time. Among Red Sox minor leaguers, Yorke ranked first in hits (123), runs scored (76), and total bases (195). Selected by Boston in the first round of the 2020 June Draft, he was signed by Josh Labandeira.
Rafaela, 21, spent the 2021 season with Low-A Salem. Ranked by Baseball America as the Red Sox’ No. 25 prospect, he made 51 starts in center field, nine in left field, and one in right field, as well as 17 at third base, 15 at shortstop, and six at second base. As an outfielder, he recorded nine assists and committed only one error. The right-handed hitter led Salem with nine triples and 73 runs scored while adding 10 home runs and 53 RBI. Acquired as an international free agent in July 2017, the Curacao native was signed by Dennis Neuman, Todd Claus, and Rolando Pino.
Bello, 22, is ranked as the Red Sox’ No. 6 prospect by both Baseball America and MLB.com. The right-hander began his 2021 season with High-A Greenville, where he made six starts and went 5-0 with a 2.27 ERA (8 ER/31.2 IP). He followed with 15 starts for Double-A Portland and averaged 12.30 strikeouts per 9.0 innings for the Sea Dogs, going 2-3 with a 4.66 ERA (33 ER/63.2 IP), 87 strikeouts, and 24 walks. Acquired as an international free agent in July 2017, the Dominican Republic native was signed by Manny Nanita, Todd Claus, and Rolando Pino.
Feltman, 24, has split the 2021 season between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Worcester, going 8-1 with two saves, a 2.90 ERA (16 ER/49.2 IP), a 1.09 WHIP, a .217 opponent batting average, 59 strikeouts, and 14 walks in 37 appearances, all in relief. In his last 11 games for the WooSox, the right-hander has posted a 1.08 ERA (2 ER/16.2 IP) with 18 strikeouts and only three walks. Selected by the Red Sox in the third round of the 2018 June Draft, Feltman has averaged 10.79 strikeouts per 9.0 innings in his minor league career. He was signed by Brandon Agamennone.
Koss, 23, batted .271 (116-for-428) with 10 stolen bases, 18 doubles, seven triples, and 15 home runs over 104 games for High-A Greenville. The right-handed hitter led High-A East in triples and ranked second in hits, eighth in batting average, and tied for ninth in extra-base hits (40). In 27 games from July 1-August 5, the infielder hit .358 (39-for-109) with eight home runs and 24 RBI, including a career-high three home runs against Rome on August 5. He was acquired from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for left-handed pitcher Yoan Aybar on December 3, 2020.
Castro, 18, leads the Dominican Summer League Red Sox Red in runs scored (21), extra-base hits (16), total bases (61), triples (7), and home runs (tied, 3), while leading qualified players with an .800 OPS. In 38 games, the switch-hitting outfielder is batting .237 (32-for-135) while ranking second on the team in hits and tied for third in RBI (15). The Dominican native has made 19 starts in right field, nine in left field, and four in center field. He was signed by Manny Nanita.
Paez, 17, has made a team-leading 12 starts for the Dominican Summer League Red Sox Blue, going 2-1 with a 3.04 ERA (16 ER/47.1 IP) and .235 opponent batting average (42-for-179). The right-handed starter also leads the team in strikeouts (46) with only nine walks, posting a 5.11 strikeout to walk ratio and 8.75 strikeouts per 9.0 innings pitched. From July 26-September 11, the Venezuelan native allowed no more than two earned runs in any of his nine starts, going 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA (9 ER/36.0 IP). He was signed by Angel Escobar.
Crawford, 25, was selected by the Red Sox in the 16th round of the 2017 June Draft as the 491st overall pick. After making 47 starts from 2017-19 and reaching the Double-A level, the right-hander underwent Tommy John surgery in October 2019. He missed the 2020 season but returned to Portland in 2021 and threw 4.0 scoreless innings in his season debut, en route to a 3.30 ERA (17 ER/46.1 IP) with the Sea Dogs. Crawford was promoted to Triple-A Worcester in July and make six starts before his first selection to the major league roster. He made his big league debut on September 5 against Cleveland, earning the start and throwing the first 2.0 innings for Boston.