Padres Instructional League Awards

The San Diego Padres completed their annual fall Instructional League in Peoria, Arizona last week and handed out the team awards, adding a new category this year.

MVP: Blake Tekotte

Tekotte made himself a known prospect with the Eugene Emeralds, hitting .285 while scoring 43 runs. The outfielder also ended up third on the team with 21 extra base hits across 47 games.

"From first day to last he did something that excited the staff each day he was there," minor league field coordinator Tom Gamboa said. "His hustle, his defensive in centerfield, his batting, his on-base percentage, stealing bases – he did everything."

Most Improved Pitcher: Gary Poynter

Poynter split time between the Arizona Rookie League and Eugene, going 1-0 with a 4.18 ERA. His biggest problem was the 23 walks, six hit batsmen and seven wild pitches across 32.1 innings of work.

"We knew when we signed him that he had a hell of an arm," said Gamboa. "He was a total max effort guy that we didn't know if he would throw strikes.

"(Eugene manager Greg) Riddoch and (pitching coach Dave Rajsich) Razor came up with a slogan for him – 80 percent. He might not feel that he is throwing as hard but it is just as good. He walked three guys in instructs and the gun readings are the same, if not better. He is a more efficient and throwing more strikes."

Most Improved Player: Danny Payne and Edinson Rincon

Payne was limited to 39 games this season with Fort Wayne, hitting just .172. He did, however, sport a healthy .342 on-base percentage, thanks in part to his 32 walks drawn.

"We have never been able to keep Payne healthy," Gamboa noted. "He got more at-bats than anyone in the Instructional League by design. He led the team in walks with 21 and hit over .300 and played good defense. It was good to see him come on."

Like Payne, Rincon also missed time this year and ended up playing the tail end of the Arizona Rookie League. Across 23 games, the third baseman hit .308 with 19 RBIs. He also posted a .429 on-base percentage but did not show the power many believe he has.

"Rincon made great strides," Gamboa said. "He showed power and hitting ability. His throwing got a lot better. He played with a lot of confidence."

Leadership Award: Brian Joynt

After beginning the season in extended spring training, Joynt went on to hit .304 with 42 extra base hits and 67 RBIs across 76 games for the Lake Elsinore Storm. A candidate to be released in spring, Joynt is now in line to be the starting first baseman in San Antonio.

"Grady (Fuson) instituted the leadership award which encompasses everything: desire, professionalism, leadership on and off the field, everything," Gamboa said. "No one has come further than Brian Joynt in this system. He worked on all the right things in the off-season. He had success from the first day in spring training."

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