BOSTON, MA—The Boston Red Sox today announced the winners of the organization’s 2022 Minor League Awards:
- Offensive Player of the Year: 1B Niko Kavadas
- Defensive Player of the Year: INF/OF Ceddanne Rafaela
- Starting Pitcher of the Year: RHP Brayan Bello
- Relief Pitcher of the Year: RHP Franklin German
- Baserunner of the Year: INF David Hamilton
- Latin Program Position Player of the Year: INF/OF Andy Lugo
- Latin Program Pitcher of the Year: RHP Eybersson Polanco
Additionally, right-handed pitcher Zack Kelly has been recognized as the 2022 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 2022 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 tonight prior to Boston’s 7:10 p.m. game against the Baltimore Orioles.
Kavadas, 23, batted .280 with a .990 OPS, 25 doubles, 26 home runs, and 86 RBI over 120 games between Single-A Salem (59 games), High-A Greenville (37), and Double-A Portland (24). The left-handed hitter was one of 23 minor leaguers to record at least 25 doubles and 25 home runs this year, while ranking fifth in the minors with 102 walks. He led qualified Red Sox minor leaguers in slugging percentage (.547), OPS, and RBI (tied), and ranked second in home runs and on-base percentage (.443). Selected by Boston in the 11th round of the 2021 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Notre Dame, the first baseman is ranked by MLB.com as the Red Sox’ No. 21 prospect.
Rafaela, 22, is ranked by Baseball America as the No. 81 prospect in baseball and as Boston’s No. 4 prospect. The right-handed hitter split the season between High-A Greenville (45 games) and Double-A Portland (71), and led Red Sox minor leaguers in hits (144), extra-base hits (63), total bases (259), and RBI (tied, 86) while batting .299 (144-for-181) with an .880 OPS, 32 doubles, 10 triples, and 21 home runs. Named the 2022 Red Sox Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America, Rafaela appeared in 91 games in center field, 20 at shortstop, one at second base and three at designated hitter. The Curacao native was signed by Dennis Neuman, Todd Claus, and Rolando Pino as an international free agent in July 2017. This is Rafaela’s second consecutive season being named the Red Sox’ Minor League Defensive Player of the Year.
Bello, 23 is ranked by Baseball America as the No. 21 prospect in baseball and as Boston’s No. 2 prospect. The right-hander began the season with Double-A Portland, going 4-2 with a 1.69 ERA (7 ER/37.1 IP) and 48 strikeouts over seven starts before being promoted to Triple-A Worcester on May 17. With the WooSox, he posted a 2.81 ERA (16 ER/51.1 IP) and 72 strikeouts over nine outings (eight starts). Bello was recalled on July 6 and made his Major League debut that night against the Tampa Bay Rays. Acquired as an international free agent in July 2017, the Dominican Republic native was signed by Manny Nanita, Todd Claus, and Rolando Pino. This is Bello’s second consecutive season being named the Red Sox’ Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year.
German, 25, posted a 2.72 ERA (15 ER/49.2 IP), .155 opponent batting average, and 0.91 WHIP with 64 strikeouts over 43 appearances between Double-A Portland (11 games) and Triple-A Worcester (32). In 13 outings from July 6 through August 21, the right-hander allowed just four hits and one run over 16.1 innings (0.55 ERA). He was selected to the active roster on September 17 and made his Major League debut that day against Kansas City. German was acquired from the New York Yankees with right-handed pitcher Adam Ottavino in exchange for cash considerations on January 25, 2021.
Hamilton, 24, hit .251 (116-for-463) with 16 doubles, nine triples, and 12 home runs in 119 games for Double-A Portland. The left-handed hitter led Double-A in stolen bases (70-for-78) and tied for the lead in triples. His 70 steals set a new franchise record for Portland and were tied for third most in the minors. Hamilton was acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers along with outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and minor league infielder Alex Binelas in December 2021.
Lugo, 18, finished tied for the Dominican Summer League lead in hits (70) and runs (52) and led the Dominican Summer League Red Sox Blue in total bases (91) and stolen bases (21). In 56 games, the right-handed hitter batted .318 (70-for-220) with 11 doubles, two triples, two home runs, 30 RBI, 11 walks, and a .782 OPS. The Dominican native made 22 starts in center field, 15 in left field, 10 in right field, six at third base, two at second base and two at designated hitter. He was signed by Esau Medina.
Polanco, 19, made 12 starts for the Dominican Summer League Red Sox Red, going 2-1 with a 1.78 ERA (10 ER/50.2 IP), a .179 opponent batting average (31-for-173), and zero home runs allowed. The right-hander led the team in strikeouts (50) and WHIP (0.95). From July 1-13, the Venezuelan native did not allow an earned run across three starts, going 1-0 with 15 strikeouts, five hits allowed and three walks in 13.0 innings pitched. Polanco represented the Red Sox in the 2022 Dominican Summer League All-Star Game on July 24, retiring all three batters faced in a scoreless relief inning. He was signed by Lenin Rodriguez.
Kelly, 27, was signed as a minor league free agent by the Red Sox on December 12, 2020. An undrafted free agent out of Division II Newberry College, he signed with the Oakland Athletics in 2017 and the Los Angeles Angels in 2018 but was released by both clubs. The right-hander was signed by the Red Sox after undergoing elbow surgery to repair a UCL injury during the 2020 season. He posted a 2.72 ERA (15 ER/49.2 IP) with 72 strikeouts in 44 appearances with Triple-A Worcester this season before being selected to the active roster on August 29. Kelly made his Major League debut that night at Minnesota, pitching a scoreless sixth inning with two strikeouts. In nine outings with Boston, he has allowed three runs in 9.2 innings (2.79 ERA).