The Los Angeles Dodgers announced the winners of the Dodger Pride awards for the month of April, which was started by former general manager Ned Colletti in 2008. The awards were previously given to players who perform with a hustling, smart, and aggressive style.
However, the new Dodgers front office have revised the selection process for both the Strong Mind Pitcher of the Month and the Strong Mind Position Player of the Month.
The players are now chosen, “Based on a strict statistical method incorporating several baseball measureables.” Another new aspect to these awards are that a winner is no longer selected from each farm team, making it more competitive.
For the month of April, Scott Baker, a right-hander pitcher for Triple A Oklahoma City who also made a spot start for the Dodgers, Jarek Cunningham, a utility player from High-A Rancho Cucamonga, and Mike Ahmed, a utility player from Low-A Great Lakes won the awards.
You can read more on the winners in the Dodgers press statement below:
Strong Mind Pitcher of the Month
RHP Scott Baker- Triple-A Oklahoma City: In three starts for Triple-A Oklahoma City, he went 1-1 with a 1.06 ERA (2 ER/17.0 IP) and struck out 16 against just one walk. The 33-year-old veteran was had great command, throwing 73.4% of his pitches for strikes, ranking near the top in the Dodger minor league affiliates. He would get ahead in the count against most batters he faced, throwing 70.5% of his first pitches for strikes and 66.7% for strikes on a 1-1 count. He led the Pacific Coast league with a 0.65 WHIP and a .169 opposing batting average. The right-hander earned a call-up to Los Angeles and made two starts for the Dodgers, after having his contract selected on April 26.
Strong Mind Position Player of the Month
IF/OF Jarek Cunningham – Single-A Rancho Cucamonga: The 25-year-old infielder/outfielder topped the California League with 21 RBI and tied for second with three triples in April, while posting a .325 batting average (25-for-77) with 11 runs, six doubles, three triples and a home run in 19 games. Cunningham was swinging at 74.7% of pitches thrown for strike, while ranking second among all Dodger minor leaguers swinging at 75.0% of in-zone fastballs on the first pitch. Cunningham posted a 14-game hitting streak from April 14-29, hitting .345 with three doubles and 15 RBI during that span. He was originally signed by the Dodgers as a free agent on Jan. 20, 2015.
Strong Mind Teammate of the Month
IF/OF Mike Ahmed – Single-A Great Lakes: The Springfield, Massachusetts, native batted .290 (20-for-69) with five doubles, one triple, four RBI and seven steals in 17 games. He posted an eight-game hitting streak from April 12-20, batting .333 with three doubles and seven runs during that span. The 23-year-old was originally selected by the Dodgers in the 20th round of the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft out of the College of the Holy Cross.
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