Move over Shane Victorino, you have some company.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre slugger Shelley Duncan was named the 2009 International League Most Valuable Player on Tuesday, joining Victorino as the only players in the 21-year franchise history to receive the award. Victorino won the award in 2005 as a member of the former Red Barons.
Fellow outfielder Austin Jackson also won some hardware, being named the IL Rookie of the Year. The winners of the awards were chosen by league managers, coaches, and media members, as well as team representatives.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre joins the 1995 Norfolk Tides as the only teams to have the league MVP and Rookie of the Year in the same season.
Duncan got off to a blistering start this season and never looked back, leading the league in home runs and RBI throughout the season. The big right-hander smacked nine home runs and drove in 27 RBI in April. Duncan entered last night’s game in Syracuse leading the IL in home runs (29), RBI (92) and runs scored (81). The 29 home runs are a franchise record.
Duncan, a former standout at the University of Arizona, will turn 30 on Sept. 29. He was one of three SWB Yankees to play in the Triple-A All-Star Game in July, joining Jackson and relief pitcher Zach Kroenke.
The 22-year-old Jackson was among the league leaders in hitting for most of the season, moving as high as No. 2 on the list at the all-star break. Considered the top prospect in the New York Yankees organization, Jackson is third in the IL with 139 hits. He took a .293 batting average into Tuesday night’s game in Syracuse. This is his first season in Triple-A.
The Yankees also got two players on the 12-player IL Postseason All-Star Team. Joining Duncan on the team is SWB second baseman Kevin Russo. The 25-year-old has been red-hot since spending two stints on the disabled list earlier in the season. Russo is among the top three hitters in the league with a .335 batting average, raising his average more than 50 points since mid-June.
Justin Lehr, who pitched for Lehigh Valley before being traded to the Cincinnati Reds and being assigned to Louisville, was named the IL Pitcher of the Year. The 33-year-old posted a 13-3 record and 3.31 ERA in 20 combined starts for Lehigh Valley and Louisville.
Louisville manager Rick Sweet was named the IL Manager of the Year for the second consecutive season. Sweet, 57, led the Bats to the IL West division championship this season.
Three pitchers and two position players from SWB were called up to New York as major league teams were allowed to expand their rosters from 24 to 40.
Getting the call to New York were relievers Mark Melancon, Edwar Ramirez and Mike Dunn. Joining the pitchers were catcher Francisco Cervelli and IF/OF Ramiro Pena. All five players were on New York’s 40-man roster. Dunn is the only one of the five players not to play at least one game with the New York Yankees this season.
To fill the roster spots in SWB, INF Doug Bernier and catcher Brian Peterson were activated off the seven-day disabled list. Also, pitchers Humberto Sanchez and Eric Wordekemper were brought up to SWB from Double-A Trenton. Outfielder Freddy Guzman, who was traded to the Yankees from Baltimore for future considerations, was assigned to SWB.