AKRON Akron RubberDucks centerfielder Greg Allen received his 2016 Rawlings Gold Glove Award, presented to only one player at each position across all levels of minor league baseball, prior to the team’s April 25 game against the Binghamton Rumble Ponies.
Allen, who had a .994 fielding percentage with 15 assists with Akron and Lynchburg in 2016, received his award for defensive excellence by Minor League Baseball president and chief executive officer Pat O’Conner and Eastern League President Joe McEacharn. Players from the 10 domestic-based, full-season minor leagues are eligible for the award and Allen was the only player selected from the Cleveland Indians organization.
He split his 2016 season between Akron and Lynchburg, playing in the latter stop for his current manager with the RubberDucks, Mike Budzinski. Budzinski and Allen both said during the team’s media day last month that they were glad to team up again, this time in Akron, and the veteran manager praised Allen’s abilities in the field.
“Some of the plays he made last year were unbelievable,” Budzinski said. “He’s got everyone’s attention in the (Indians) organization with his defensive prowess.”
O’Conner noted that the nine Gold Glove winners across the minor leagues “displayed extraordinary skills at their positions.” The awards were originally announced in September, but at that point, the season was over for minor leaguers and so Rawlings and MiLB elected to wait until this spring to officially recognize the winners.
Allen, who was originally selected by Cleveland in the sixth round of the 2014 first-year player draft out of San Diego State University, becomes the latest top outfield prospect to patrol the outfield in Akron, following the likes of Tyler Naquin, Bradley Zimmer and Clint Frazier.
While Gold Glove awards are handed out each year in Major League Baseball, the minor-league edition of the awards was revived in 2011 after an almost 50-year hiatus. The minor-league award is modeled after the MLB version, including the current version that will be awarded to the top defenders at each position in MLB following the current season.
Through his first 18 games this season, Allen has committed just one error in center field. His .286 average at the plate ranks fourth on the team and his eight stolen bases are tops on the roster.
Merryweather named EL Pitcher of the Week
RubberDucks right hander Julian Merryweather has been selected as the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week for the week of April 24. Merryweather, who was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the fifth round of the 2014 draft out of Oklahoma Baptist University, started two games for the RubberDucks last week and had a record of 2-0 with 11 strikeouts and a 1.42 ERA.
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound right hander made his first start of the week on Monday against the visiting Binghamton Rumble Ponies, giving up two runs, one earned, on three hits over 6 2/3 innings to earn the win in Akron’s 5-2 victory. It was his first win of the season and was quickly followed by his second, as he pitched six innings in his next start, an 11-2 win over Bowie in which he allowed just one run over six innings to pick up the win, giving up four hits while striking out five batters and walking one.
Merryweather tied for the league lead in strikeouts (11) and wins (2) last week and also ranked second in innings pitched (12 2/3). Overall, he has a record of 2-1 with a 3.04 ERA in five starts for the RubberDucks this season.
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