The State College Spikes announced their 2015 year-end award winners in a ceremony prior to Sunday’s regular-season home finale at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. Infielder Casey Grayson was named the club’s Most Valuable Player, while right-handed reliever Pedro Echemendia earned the Spikes’ Pitcher of the Year Award and catcher Jose Godoy won the inaugural Josiah Viera Perseverance Award.
Grayson, the Cardinals’ 2014 21st-round draft choice out of the University of Houston, is leading the New York-Penn League with 76 hits and 46 walks through September 6. The Cypress, TX native also leads the Spikes with 18 doubles and 37 runs batted in on the season, and is in the top five in the NYPL in batting average at .314 and on-base percentage with a .422 mark. Grayson has been a mainstay at first base, playing 64 of the Spikes’ first 74 games there and appearing in 71 games total on the season.
The slugger joins Justin Byler (2007), Chase d’Arnaud (2008) Brock Holt (2009), Adalberto Santos (2010), Wes Freeman (2011), D.J. Crumlich (2012), David Washington (2013), and Danny Diekroeger (2014) on the list of Spikes MVP award winners.
Echemendia has been the main stopper out of the bullpen for the Spikes this year. The Ciego de Àvila, Cuba native has compiled 11 saves this year, just one shy of the single-season franchise record of 12 set by Ronald Uviedo in 2007. In addition, Echemendia has six wins on the hill this year, and is in line to become the first Spike ever to lead the team in both wins and saves in a season. Echemendia has received frequent work in his first professional season in the United States, leading the NYPL with 25 appearances.
The righty joins Tony Watson (2007), Alan Knotts (2008), Kyle McPherson (2009), Kevin Decker (2010), Nick Kingham (2011), Clay Holmes (2012), Nick Petree (2013) and Will Anderson (2014) as recipients of the Spikes’ Pitcher of the Year award.
The Josiah Viera Perseverance Award was introduced this season as a tribute to the Spikes’ honorary bench coach. Josiah faces challenges everyday due to Hutchinson/Gilford progeria but has become a rallying point for the Spikes over the past three seasons thanks to his determination, perseverance and joyous spirit in the face of adversity.
Godoy became the first winner of this prestigious award thanks to his efforts on and off the field. The catcher has served as a leader on the field, and his 10 pickoffs from behind the plate, four of them at second base, are a Spikes record. The San Francisco, Venezuela native also provided key hits that won several games down the stretch.