|Bulls Take Big Haul of Post-Season Awards|
Durham Bulls slugger Dan Johnson is one of several at the DBAP who earned top International League post-season honors.
The International League has announced its postseason All-Star Team and Award Winners as selected by the circuit’s managers, coaches, media, and club representatives. Durham slugger Dan Johnson has been named the IL’s Most Valuable Player on the strength of his League-leading 30 home runs and 95 RBI. Heralded pitching prospect Jeremy Hellickson, also of Durham, has been named the IL’s Most Valuable Pitcher. Hellickson’s 2.45 ERA leads the circuit. 20-year-old first baseman Freddie Freeman of Gwinnett lived up to his billing by MLB.com as one of the top 40 prospects in the game, earning IL Rookie of the Year honors. Rounding out the list of 2010 Special Award winners is Manager of the Year Charlie Montoyo of Durham. Montoyo’s Bulls have the League’s best record (84-52) and have already clinched their fourth straight IL South Division championship. Durham is the first franchise to win at least three of the League’s four Special Awards since Norfolk swept the honors in 1995.
Most Valuable Player – Dan Johnson, Durham
Dan Johnson has been named the International League Most Valuable Player for 2010. Though he has been with the Tampa Bay Rays since the beginning of August, Johnson still leads the IL in home runs (30), RBI (95), slugging percentage (.624), on-base percentage (.430), and walks (75).
The heart of the League’s highest scoring offense in 2010, Johnson came out of the gate strong this season and never looked back. In 19 April games, he hit .333 with 8 homers and 23 RBI, igniting a stellar season for Johnson and the eventual IL South Division champion Bulls.
Johnson was elected to his first Triple-A All-Star Game this July, where he won the Home Run Derby. The versatile 31-year-old has split time this season as Durham’s first baseman, third baseman, outfielder, and designated hitter.
It was third base, where he has played the most games, that he was elected to the postseason All-Star Team.
Johnson is the fourth Durham Bull since the club joined the League in 1998 to be named Most Valuable Player, following Steve Cox (1999), Toby Hall (2001), and Kevin Witt (2006).
Most Valuable Pitcher – Jeremy Hellickson, Durham
After a brief stint with the Bulls last season in which he was named MVP of the Triple-A National Championship Game, Jeremy Hellickson continued his dominance this year, his first full season at the Triple-A level. Hellickson was on pace to win the League’s Pitching Triple Crown when he was promoted to Tampa Bay at the beginning of August.
His 2.45 ERA still leads the IL, while he remains near the top in wins (12) and strikeouts (123). Hellickson surrendered just 103 hits and 32 earned runs in 117.2 innings of work for the Bulls, with opponents hitting .238 against him.
The right-hander was particularly tough on left-handed batters, who hit just .208 off of Hellickson. He made his Major League debut on August 2 versus Minnesota, and picked up the first of three consecutive wins for the 23-year-old.
Hellickson is the first ever member of the Durham Bulls to be named IL Most Valuable Pitcher.
Manager-of-the-Year – Charlie Montoyo, Durham
Durham skipper Charlie Montoyo is the 2010 IL Manager of the Year. The defending National Champions have clinched a fourth straight IL South Division title under Montoyo, on the strength of the League’s best record (84-52) and largest lead (15.0 games over 2nd place Gwinnett).
Durham has the highest scoring offense (720 runs) , the stingiest pitching staff (3.51 ERA), and the top defense (.984) in the IL this season, as the Bulls prepare to meet the champion of the IL West Division in the postseason playoffs.
In July, Montoyo led the IL All-Stars to a 2-1 victory at the Triple-A All-Star Game.
He is now the first skipper since Durham joined the International League in 1998 to receive Manager of the Year honors.
Elliot Johnson – All-Star Utility Player
The final All-Star spot goes to Durham’s Elliot Johnson, who has been selected as the International League’s top utility player for 2010. The 26-year-old Johnson was primarily a shortstop this season, but he has also seen significant time at second base and in the outfield for the Bulls.
His .314 average is 4th in the IL, while he is also 5th in the League with 30 stolen bases.
Johnson was also a member of the victorious International League squad at the Triple-A All-Star Game this July.
Thanks to DBBC’s Matt DeMargel for this capcom story & photo.