Though the 2015 season has ended and the players have dispersed, first baseman Casey Grayson is recognized as The Cardinal Nation State College Spikes 2015 Position Player of the Year.
Selected in the 21st round of the 2014 draft, Grayson began his minor league career on the rookie-level Johnson City Cardinals with current Spikes manager Johnny Rodriguez and several of his Spikes teammates. There, he was an Appalachian League All-Star and following the season, was named TCN’s Johnson City 2014 Player of the Year.
With State College in 2015, Grayson received 250 at-bats in 73 games. He scored 40 runs on 77 hits, two home runs, 46 walks and 64 strikeouts. The left-handed hitter led the Spikes in doubles (18) and RBI (38). Grayson batted .308 with a team-best .414 on-base percentage.
The 24-year-old tied for the New York-Penn League lead in walks and hits and was second in on-base percentage and fourth in RBI. After leading the NYPL batting race and dominating for a couple of weeks in July, he fell back to fourth in the league.
Grayson was named to the 2015 New York-Penn League All-Star team, as well as being named the 2015 Spikes team Most Valuable Player.
When he returns for the 2016 season, Grayson will most likely make the move to the Class-A Peoria Chiefs or jump another level to the A-Advanced team, the Palm Beach Cardinals.
Orlando Olivera: Though the outfielder was tops on the Spikes in average (.347), he only appeared in 42 games following his promotion from the Gulf Coast League. His 144 at-bats were not enough for him to qualify among the league leaders. Olivera scored 20 runs on 40 hits, hit five home runs, drove in 24, drew 11 walks and struck out 20 times.
Ronnierd Garcia: After being out for a little over a month while recovering from a groin injury sustained at the end of June, Garcia ended the season with an average of .305 – third on the team after Olivera and Grayson. Garcia played in 39 games with 128 at-bats, scored 14 runs on 39 hits, hit two home runs, drove in 22, with seven walks and 28 strikeouts.
Link to master article with all 2015 award winners, team recaps and article schedules for the remainder of this series. Of course, that includes our selections as the State College Spikes Relief Pitcher and Starting Pitcher of the Year.
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