Phillies prospects Pujols, Irvin, Meneses earn league awards


By Brandon Apter, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

The minor league regular season is over and the playoffs have begun. At the end of each season, every league across the minors unveils their award winners and three Phillies prospects and one manager earned honors for their performances in 2018.

Ironpigs first baseman Joey Meneses was named International League MVP and Rookie of the Year. His teammate, left-hander Cole Irvin, took home the most valuable pitcher award and Lehigh Valley skipper Gary Jones was named Manager of the Year. In the Florida State league, outfielder Jose Pujols got FSL Player of the Year honors. 

Meneses, 26, led the International League in home runs with 22 and ended the season tied for the league-lead in RBI (78). His .314 average was good for second in the IL and the .260 year old heads into postseason play having hit .317 over his last 10 games with a homer and five RBI. The Phillies signed Meneses to a minor league contract this season. 

Irvin, the Phillies No. 10 ranked prospect, earned an IL-best 13 wins to go along with a league-leading 1.07 WHIP. Irvin also ranked second in the league in ERA (2.67) and innings pitched (155.1), third in strikeouts (126) and fourth in opponents batting average against (.230). Since being named as the IL starter in the Triple-A All-Star Game, Irvin went 5-1 with a 2.19 ERA. Irvin was a fifth round pick of the Phillies from 2016 and has compiled a 28-14 record to go along with a 2.84 ERA in 61 minor league games. Over the final 26 innings of the 2018 season, the 24-year-old southpaw gave up just one earned run while striking out 17.

Ironpigs manager Gary Jones takes home Manager of the Year honors in his first season as Lehigh Valley's Skipper. It's his fifth League Manager of the Year Award overall. Jones led the Ironpigs to their first division title in their 11-year history and the best record in the International League at 84-56. Lehigh Valley went 43-27 at home this season and 41-29 on the road. Perhaps the most impressive was the 57-32 record within their IL North division.

Meanwhile, down in the Florida State League, Jose Pujols was named Player of the Year even after being promoted to Double-A in early August. In 95 games with Clearwater, the 22-year-old native of the Dominican Republic slashed .301/.364/.523 with 16 doubles, four triples, 18 homers, 58 RBI and 56 runs scored. Pujols also logged 11 outfield assists this season, tied for the league lead in the FSL. His 18 home runs ranked fourth in the league even after moving up to Reading while his .887 OPS ranked second. 

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