New York Yankees Triple-A outfielder Ben Gamel was honored with the International League Player of the Year award for 2016.
As the minor league regular season comes to a close, the Triple-A International League named 24-year-old Yankees prospect Ben Gamel as their Player of the Year for 2016. The last Yankees farmhand to win the award was Shelley Duncan in 2009.
The recognition was much deserved, as Gamel had his second straight fantastic season for the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Railriders, hitting .309/.366/.422 (126 wRC+) with six home runs and 19 steals in 529 plate appearances.
In addition, Gamel led the International League in runs scored, ranked third in hits, fifth in stolen bases, and sixth in batting average.
The speedy leadoff hitter was an impact player on both sides of the ball. He provided the Railriders with plus defense from all three outfield positions and has been a fixture at the top of their lineup the last two seasons. His durability and consistency are the biggest reasons he’s stood out from the crowd in Scranton Wilkes-Barre’s talented outfield.
Gamel is a huge reason that the Railriders have the best record in either Triple-A league this season at 84-52. He’s led them to a division title in the International League North and a chance to win it all next month.
While he was never a highly regarded prospect before his 2015 breakout, Gamel now appears on the verge of breaking onto the Yankees big league club. He seems like a shoo-in for a September call up, and may be auditioning for a bench role in 2017.
Several other Railriders were honored for their achievements Tuesday. Scranton Wilkes-Barre manager Al Pedrique was named International League manager of the year in his first season at the helm. He’s extremely popular among his players and has led them to a postseason berth as a rookie skipper.
As well, three Yankees were named to the IL Postseason All Star squad: outfielder Aaron Judge, catcher Gary Sanchez, and infielder Donovan Solano. Both Judge and Sanchez were rewarded with everyday big league jobs because of their strong Triple-A campaigns.
The 28-year-old Solano was a candidate for a bench spot this spring and has gone on to hit .311/.340/.424 (117 wRC+) in 519 plate appearances. He seems like an excellent candidate for a utility infielder job with an MLB club next season.
Congratulations to all of the Yankees International League award winners and best of luck to the Railriders on their upcoming postseason push.