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Matt Fraizer, Adrian Florencio claim Minors awards

Organization honors outfielder, pitcher for outstanding 2021 campaigns

COLLEGE BASEBALL: MAY 05 UCLA at Arizona Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pirates concluded their end-of-season minor league award announcements by revealing that outfielder Matt Fraizer and pitcher Adrian Florencio took home the two biggest trophies.

Fraizer, who came out of nowhere this year to tear up High-A and then put up solid numbers at Double-A Altoona, was named the organization’s Honus Wagner Player of the Year.

Florencio, who spent the season at Low-A Bradenton, was named the Bob Friend Pitcher of the Year.

The 23-year-old Fraizer, the Pirates’ second-round draft pick out of the University of Arizona in 2019, struggled in his first professional season, batting just .221 with a .553 OPS in 43 games at Low-A West Virginia.

He looked nothing like a .221 hitter in 2021. He opened the season at Greensboro and had little difficulty solving the High-A East South Division, batting a league-leading .314, slugging 20 home runs and driving in 50 in 350 plate appearances over 75 games. He compiled a .979 OPS with a .401 on-base percentage and a .578 slugging mark. Fraizer also had 14 doubles and three triples and stole 14 bases to earn his promotion to Double-A Altoona.

There, the 6-foot-3, 217-pound left-handed hitter batted .288/.492 for an OPS of .848 in 149 plate appearances. He finished with three home runs and drove in 18 to go with 12 doubles and three triples at the Double-A level.

In addition to the organizational award, Fraizer was named the High-A East League Most Valuable Player and Baseball America selected him as the Pirates’ organizational player of the year.

Florencio, who turned 23 earlier this month, was signed out of the Dominican Republic in February 2019 and made his professional debut with Bristol in the rookie-level Appalachian League that season. There he went 2-1 with a 4.75 ERA in 47 1/3 innings. He gave up 51 hits, walked 24 and struck out 38 for a WHIP of 1.585.

The Pirates placed him at Low-A Bradenton last year after missing the 2020 season and he flourished, going 6-4 with a 2.46 ERA in 20 games, 19 of which were starts, for a team that ultimately won the league title.

The 6-foot-6, 205-pound right-hander allowed just 70 hits in 95 innings, walking 30 and striking out 117 for a WHIP of 1.053. That earned him pitcher of the year honors for the Low-A Southeast League.

Florencio was very consistent; he never allowed more than four earned runs in a start and only allowed four in one outing. In four other starts he allowed three earned runs.

Down the stretch, in his final seven starts, Florencio went 3-1 with a 1.87 ERA, walking 11 and striking out 45 in 33 2/3 innings.