Gallagher, Patterson Tapped for Awards

The Cubs will announce their annual Minor League Pitcher and Player of the Year award winners Tuesday at Wrigley Field.

Second baseman Eric Patterson will be named the Minor League Player of the Year with right-hander Sean Gallagher the Pitcher of the Year.

The annual awards were first introduced last year. Inaugural winners were first baseman Brian Dopirak and left-hander Renyel Pinto. Since the awards were first handed out, a Cubs Mid-A level prospect has won the honor of Player of the Year both times.

This year, both awards went to Midwest League-based prospects of the Peoria Chiefs. (Patterson was promoted to Double-A West Tenn late in the year while Gallagher was sent to Class High-A Daytona to finish out his season.)

The 19-year-old Gallagher finished tied with right-hander Ricky Nolasco for the farm system lead in wins this past season with 14. He finished tied with Pinto for the best ERA in the farm system at 2.71.

Director of Player Development Oneri Fleita offered his praise to both players.

"Sean pitched like a young man ahead of his years," Fleita said. "He was consistant from start to finish. What a great start to begin his career."

"Eric also had a great season from start to finish," Fleita said recently. "He has a feel for what he is capable of doing. He makes contact; hits to all sides of the field; can bunt; fields his position well; runs the bases well; and plays hard."

Spotlight: RHP Sean Gallagher
Gallagher was a 12th round pick from Fla. High School in 2004. He struck out 146 in 146 IP this past season. In just his third start of the season, he threw six innings in a combined no-hitter against the Cedar Rapids Kernels on April 20. (Photo/West Tenn Diamond Jaxx.)
Reacting to the news, Gallagher said, "It's an honor and a privilege. There were so many great players in the organization that put up great numbers as well. I thought it was a toss-up between me and Nolasco and Pinto. Both of them had a great year as well and it's amazing to be picked out of the group."

For his part, the 22-year-old Patterson had the best batting average in the farm system this year with a .333 mark in 110 games. He hit 13 home runs and drove in 71 runs while stealing 43 bases. Because Patterson has already departed for Mesa, Ariz., where he will participate in the Arizona Fall League beginning in October, Fleita said the Cubs will formally announce the awards prior to Tuesday's game as opposed to hosting an on-field ceremony.

The Cubs host the Pittsburgh Pirates beginning at 7:05 p.m. CDT Tuesday. The game can be seen locally on WCIU-TV in Chicago.

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