The Texas Rangers announced the organization’s 2021 Minor League award winners.
- Tom Grieve Player of the Year – 1B/3B Dustin Harris
- Nolan Ryan Pitcher of the Year – RHP Cole Winn
- Reliever of the Year – RHP Nick Snyder
- Defender of the Year – SS/2B Luisangel Acuña
- True Ranger Award – OF Bubba Thompson / INF Keyber Rodriguez
The honorees will be recognized in a pre-game ceremony before the October 2nd contest against Cleveland at Globe Life Field.
1B/3B Dustin Harris
Harris garnered Tom Grieve Player of the Year honors in his first season in the Texas organization after slashing .327/.401/.542/.943 (132-404) with career highs in home runs (20), RBI (85), and steals (25) across 110 games with Low-A Down East and High-A Hickory. The 22-year-old was one of 16 minor league players to post 20+ home runs, and 20+ steals this season, and his .327 average ranked 9th in the minor leagues (min. 300 AB).
Harris was tabbed by Baseball America as the 6th-best prospect in Low-A East after batting .301 with 10 home runs and 53 RBI in 73 games for the Wood Ducks. Following a mid-season promotion to Hickory on Aug. 3, he hit .372 with 10 home runs and 32 RBI, ranking among High-A East leaders (min. 100 AB) over that span in BA (2nd), OPS (2nd), HR (T4th), RBI (T4th), and XBH (T5th, 20).
RHP Cole Winn
Winn was named Nolan Ryan Pitcher of the Year after combining for a 4-3 record, 2.41 ERA (23 ER/86.0 IP), 11.2 strikeouts per 9 innings, and a 0.860 WHIP figure in 21 games/starts for Double-A Frisco (19 GS) and Triple-A Round Rock (2 GS). The 21-year-old held opponents to a .146/.239/.259/.497 slash line this season, the lowest opponent batting average among minor leaguers with at least 80 innings pitched.
Winn spent the entire season with Frisco until the conclusion of the Double-A schedule when he was promoted to Triple-A to make 2 final starts. The organization’s top pick (15th overall) in the 2018 June draft is currently rated among MLB’s top 100 prospects by Baseball America (no. 46) and MLB Pipeline (no. 60).
RHP Nick Snyder
Snyder earned the organization’s Reliever of the Year award after making the jump from High-A to the Major Leagues in 2021. The 25-year-old right-hander posted a 1-1 record, 2.45 ERA (9 ER/33.0 IP), 4 saves, and 47 strikeouts against 5 walks over 28 relief appearances for High-A Hickory (10 G), Double-A Frisco (13 G), and Triple-A Round Rock (5 G).
Texas selected his contract on Aug. 20, and he proceeded to compile a 4.91 ERA (2 ER/3.2 IP) over 4 relief appearances for the Rangers before being placed on the Injured List on Sept. 4 with right shoulder fatigue.
SS/2B Luisangel Acuña
Acuña, 19, was selected Defender of the Year in his stateside debut with Low-A Down East this season, seeing the action up the middle defensively at both shortstop (42 GS) and second base (36 GS). His 175 assists paced the Wood Ducks and ranked 8th among Low-A East position players.
The younger brother of Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr., Luisangel was rated as the 9th-best prospect in the Low-A East by Baseball America at the conclusion of the regular season. The publication noted: “(Acuña) showcased strong defense at shortstop, with quick actions, good speed and the range to stick at the position as well as plus arm strength and the versatility to handle second or third base.”
OF Bubba Thompson // INF Keyber Rodriguez
Thompson and Rodriguez were selected as co-winners of the True Ranger award, which was established in 2019 and highlights players who represent the core values of the organization in a positive light both on and off the field. Thompson had a career year for Double-A Frisco, posting a .275/.325/.483/.808 slash line with 16 home runs, 52 RBI, and 25 stolen bases. He ranked among league leaders in many categories, including triples (1st, 9) and hits (T2nd, 118).
Rodriguez, who also won the True Ranger award in 2020, batted .271 with 5 home runs and 63 RBI in 103 games with Low-A Down East.
Featured Image: Dallas Morning News