The Reading Fightin Phils announced their annual end-of-season player awards prior to Friday night’s game against the Portland Sea Dogs at FirstEnergy Stadium. Below is a listing of the awards and the recipients for the 2018 season.
FirstEnergy Reading Fightin Phils MVP & Big Stick Award – Deivi Grullon
Reading catcher Deivi Grullon was one of the best players in the Eastern League this season. Grullon has been hitting .287 with 21 home runs, 58 runs batted in, 13 doubles and a .547 slugging percentage. He’s currently third in the Eastern League in home runs (leads the team). He was named to the Eastern League All-Star game and participated in the home run derby. He hit an impressive 25 home runs (14 in the first round and 11 in the final round) to win the derby. Grullon’s defense has also been solid as he has thrown out 30% of base stealers, which ranks seventh in the Eastern League. He’s worked with various pitchers who have been promoted to either Philadelphia or Triple-A, Lehigh Valley.
FirstEnergy Pitcher of the Year– Edgar Garcia
One of the youngest pitchers on the staff, Edgar Garcia blossomed into a late-inning relief pitcher for the Fightin Phils. Through the first two months of the season, he allowed just two earned runs in 29 1/3 innings pitched with 34 strikeouts. Overall on the season, he has struck out 68 batters in 59 2/3 innings while issuing just 25 walks. Opponents are hitting just .204 against him and he’s 8-for-12 in save opportunities.
Strikeout Leader– Harold Arauz
Harold Arauz has been the model of “consistency” in 2018 for the Fightin Phils. Needing innings, manager Greg Legg and pitching coach Steve Schrenk could always count on the 23-year-old right hander to take some pressure off the bullpen. Leading the Fightin Phils in both starts (22) and innings (121.0), Arauz also led the staff in strikeouts with 107. He spent a short time in Triple-A with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, as he made two starts. He struck out 12 batters in eight innings pitched.
Railroad House Player of the Game – Cornelius Randolph
The former first round pick heated up as the 2018 season rolled along and made a significant impact for the Fightin Phils. Since the All-Star break, he’s currently hitting .291 with seven doubles, four home runs, 20 runs batted with a .362 on-base percentage and a .433 slugging percentage. In 115 games played this season, Randolph is hitting .242 with 18 doubles, five home runs, 40 runs batted in, 40 walks 52 runs scored. He provided some lat game heroics, as he won the game on July 22nd against the Altoona Curve by providing the walk-off RBI off a fielding error. He also hit a pinch-hit three-run home run against the Binghamton Rumble Ponies in the bottom of the ninth inning with two outs.
“Broadway” Charlie Wagner Unsung Hero Award & Eugene L. Shirk Community Service Award – Austin Bossart
Always positive and upbeat, Austin Bossart gave it his all on the field during his time with the Fightin Phils this season. Known as “Dad” amongst his teammates, Bossart displayed a constant work ethic and found a way to provide a few heroics throughout the season. He hit a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning against Richmond’s Caleb Simpson to give the Fightin Phils a 5-4 win. He followed suit two games later against Simpson and the Flying Squirrels, as he hit another walk-off RBI single to give the Fightin Phils a 6-5 win. On top of their careers of professional baseball players, the Fightin Phils lend a hand in the Berks County community as part of the Philadelphia Phillies Community Service initiative. This season, catcher Austin Bossart has the honor of taking home the Eugene L. Shirk Community Service Award after helping with baseball camps, hospital visits, and other community appearances. Bossart has been an active participant in multiple meet and greets with fans prior to Fightin Phils games this season.
Pepsi Stolen Base Leader – Malquin Canelo
Whether it was batting first or ninth, fans could always count on Malquin Canelo stealing second base. The infielder currently has 22 stolen bases (leads the team and second in the Phillies organization) and is batting .261 with 15 doubles, six triples (leads team), nine home runs, 31 runs batted in and 61 runs scored (leads team). In his second season with the Fightin Philes, he has made significant improvements from last season and is expected to continue to rise throughout the Phillies organization.