On Wednesday, the Pirates announced their second round of minor league award winners. Oneil Cruz was named the Willie Stargell slugger of the year, Enmanuel Mejia was named the Kent Tekulve reliever of the year, Lolo Sanchez was named the Omar Moreno baserunner of the year and Jared Triolo was announced as the Bill Mazeroski defender of the year.
Cruz spent the majority of the season with Double-A Altoona, where he hit .292 with 12 home runs and 18 stolen bases in 62 games with the Curve. The shortstop earned a promotion to Triple-A Indianapolis where in six games he had a ridiculous 1.941 OPS, five homers and drew eight walks. Cruz finished the year in the Majors with Pittsburgh, where he picked up three hits including his first career home run.
ONEIL CRUZ JUST HIT HIS FIRST MAJOR LEAGUE HOME RUN!!! pic.twitter.com/PIMMswXDYl
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) October 3, 2021
Mejia split time between Low-A Bradenton and High-A Greensboro in 2021. With the Marauders, Mejia wasn’t charged with a single earned run in 26.1 innings of work. He struck out 35 and recorded eight saves. After the promotion to Greensboro, Mejia pitched to a 1.10 ERA and picked up a save in 11 appearances for the Grasshoppers.
It was a bounce back season for Sanchez who spent the entire season in Greensboro. Sanchez’s plus speed was on display all year as the outfielder swiped 30 bags in 39 attempts and legged out 18 doubles. He finished the year batting .264 with an .826 OPS and 17 homers.
Triolo, who also spent the whole year with the Grasshoppers, got the bulk of his playing time at third base and a couple appearances at shortstop. In 107 games in the field – 102 at third base, five at shortstop – Triolo committed just 10 errors. The 2019 second-round pick enjoyed a nice year offensively too, wrapping up the 2021 campaign with an .849 OPS, 15 homers and 25 steals.
On Tuesday, the Pirates handed out awards for coaches and staff and teammates. Thursday, the Pirates will announce the Honus Wagner player of the year and the Bob Friend pitcher of the year.