On Monday night, the Tampa Bay Rays handed out their annual Minor League Awards at Tropicana Field prior to the start of the game against the Yankees. The Stone Crabs were well represented in the ceremony with six of the awards going to current or former Stone Crabs players.
Hak-Ju Lee was named the MVP of the Stone Crabs as well as named the best defensive player in the minor league system. Lee hit .318 with 16 doubles, 11 triples and 4 home runs in 97 games with the Stone Crabs before his call-up to Montgomery. Defensively he finished the season with a .964 fielding percentage in 94 games at shortstop for the Stone Crabs.
Tyler Bortnick was named the best baserunner of the organization. Bortnick set the franchise record for stolen bases this season by swiping a league high 43 bases. He was only caught stealing 4 times for a 91% success rate.
Two former Stone Crabs highlighted the ceremony as Matt Moore was named the Pitcher of the Year and Stephen Vogt was named the Hitter of the Year and was Montgomery’s MVP. Moore continued to dominate hitters and eventually found himself on the Ray’s roster in September, making his first MLB start against the Yankees where he picked up double digit strikeouts. Vogt continued to swing a hot bat between the Biscuits and Bulls this season.
Topping out the honors was Matt Hall who was named the winner of the Erik Walker Community Award. Hall’s commitment to the community and youth baseball earned him the annual award given to the Rays minor leaguer who demonstrates great qualities both on and off the field.