SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Padres today announced their 2012 organizational award winners for the 15th Annual Awards Dinner held this year at the San Diego Hall of Champions. Proceeds from tonight's event benefit the San Diego Hall of Champions' Jr. Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) Program in San Diego. This program of Major League Baseball aims to create playing opportunities for children. It is designed to increase participation and interest in baseball and softball, encourage academic participation and achievement and teach the value of team work.
As was previously announced, Chase Headley was named Most Valuable Player for the 2012 Padres by the San Diego chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA). In addition, Alexi Amarista was voted by the Madres as Favorite New Padre while Will Venable was chosen as the recipient of the Chairman's Award for his contributions to the community. Luke Gregerson was named winner of the Darrel Akerfelds Bullpen Award, previously known as the Fireman's Award. Also previously announced, Clayton Richard was named winner of the Clyde McCullough Award for Padres Pitcher of the Year, selected annually by the San Diego chapter of the BBWAA.
The Padres 2012 minor league award winners will also be recognized as part of the ceremony. Jedd Gyorko was named Offensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive year, Rico Noel was chosen as Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive year, as well as Baserunner of the Year. Matt Wisler was named Pitcher of the Year. The recipient of the Denny Galehouse Scout of the Year award was Padres scout Willie Bosque and winner of the Jack Krol Minor League Coach of the Year award was Nelson Cruz.
Headley, 28, set career-highs in nearly every offensive category by hitting .286 (173-for-604) with 31 doubles, two triples, 31 home runs, 115 RBI and 95 runs scored in 161 games played. His 115 RBI led the National League, becoming just the second player in Padres history to lead the league in RBI, joining Dave Winfield who also did so with 118 RBI in 1979. The switch-hitter also took home his first career Rawlings Gold Glove and Louisville Silver Slugger awards following the season.
Richard, 29, set career-highs in innings pitched (218.2) and tied his career-high in wins (14) and games started (33) in 2012. The southpaw finished with the fourth-most innings among National League pitchers while leading the club with 18 quality starts.
Gregerson, 28, was named winner of the Darrel Akerfelds Bullpen Award, given annually to the most outstanding member of the Padres bullpen as voted on by his peers. The right-hander led the Padres with 77 relief appearances in 2012. He went 2-0 with a career-best 2.39 ERA (19 ER/71.2 IP), nine saves and 72 strikeouts against 21 walks overall on the season. The award was renamed from the Fireman's Award following the 2012 season to honor the club's bullpen coach who passed away in June of last season after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Venable, 30, was the 2012 recipient of the Chairman's Award, given annually to the player, manager or coach who best exemplifies the community spirit of the club. Over the past couple of years, the outfielder has supported the community and club off-the-field with a number of programs, including the 11.11.11 Service Nation Project, After-School All-Stars, Farmers Insurance Open, Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, Military visits to Camp Pendleton, Padres Scholars, Rady Children's Hospital Celebration of Champions and the Star/PAL Baseball Camp and Superheroes for Youth Luncheon.
Gyorko, 24, combined to hit .311 (155-for-499) with 30 home runs, 28 doubles, 100 RBI, 80 runs scored while posting a .921 OPS in 126 games between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A Tucson in 2012. Despite playing in just 92 games with Tucson, the infielder finished ranked fifth in the Pacific Coast League with 24 home runs and sixth with 83 RBI.
Noel, 24, spent the entire 2012 campaign with Single-A Lake Elsinore. The outfielder committed just seven errors in 134 games played, seeing the majority of his action in center field. He posted a .978 fielding percentage while also recording 12 assists and factoring in to three double plays. On the base paths, the switch-hitter stole 90 bases in 113 attempts for a 79.6 stolen base percentage. His 90 steals ranked second-most in the California League and third-most in all of minor league baseball.
Wisler, 20, went 5-4 with a 2.53 ERA (32 ER/114.0 IP), a .227 (95-for-418) opponents batting average and 113 strikeouts against just 28 walks and one home run allowed in 24 games, 23 starts, for Single-A Fort Wayne in 2012. The right-hander ranked second in the Midwest League in WHIP (1.08) and third in ERA (2.53). Following the season, he was named the 9th-best prospect in the Midwest League for 2012 by Baseball America.
Short-Season Eugene Pitching Coach Nelson Cruz was the 2012 recipient of the Jack Krol Award for contributions to player development. He completed his second season with the Padres organization this past year and second as pitching coach for the Emeralds. Under his guidance, the Emeralds pitching staff led the Northwest League in nearly every category in 2012, including ERA (3.00), strikeouts (647) and WHIP (1.25) while allowing the fewest hits (588).
Bosque was honored with the 2012 Denny Galehouse Scout of the Year Award following his second year with the Padres organization. Since the 2011 season he has served as an amateur scout covering parts of Florida. In his two seasons with the Padres, he has signed a number of first and compensation round selections, including infielder Cory Spangenberg (10th overall) and right-handed pitcher Michael Kelly (48th overall) in 2011 and right-handers Zach Eflin (33rd overall) and Walker Weickel (55th overall) in 2012, as well as right-handed pitcher Kevin Quackenbush who was voted by fans as minor league baseball's Relief Pitcher of the Year in 2012 after going 3-2 with a 0.94 ERA (6 ER/57.2 IP) in 52 outings.