August 22, 2018
By: Steve Degler

Media members around the 14-team International League are submitting their ballots for the 2018 end of season All-Star team and individual awards (Most Valuable Player, Most Valuable Pitcher, Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year). The Lehigh Valley IronPigs should be well represented when the final results are announced next week.

It seems to me the race for MVP has one horse in it and that horse wears a Pigs uniform. Joey Meneses will likely not win the IL triple crown but he has made a good run at it. Entering Tuesday's games, Meneses is leading the league in home runs and is tied for first in RBI, while residing in second place for the batting title. No one has had the type of season Meneses has. He has been very consistent throughout the entire year. Since he is in first year at the Triple-A level, Meneses should be named Rookie of the Year as well. Lehigh Valley's Rhys Hoskins won both awards last year.

The Most Valuable Pitcher Award should be a much closer race. Assuming the winner will be a starter, the IronPigs have two candidates-Enyel De Los Santos and Cole Irvin. If the two Pigs split the vote, Louisville's Robert Stephenson will have the chance to sneak in there and claim the honor. Early in the season, it appeared De Los Santos would run away with the trophy. But Irvin has been steady all year and has closed the gap considerably. Going into action Tuesday, De Los Santos was second in the league in ERA (2.56) and Irvin was third (2.71). Irvin is tied for the IL lead in wins with 12 and third in strikeouts. De Los Santos is fourth in victories. Stephenson is sixth in ERA, third in wins and second in strikeouts. All three pitchers are in the top five in lowest opponents' batting average. The trio is also top five in runners allowed per nine innings but Stephenson is second in walks. That should nullify Stephenson's candidacy a bit. Close call but I would pick Irvin over De Los Santos...but barely.

If Gary Jones doesn't win the Manager of the Year Award, there should be an investigation. The Pigs are winning six in every ten games and have the best record in the league. When you consider all the changes the Lehigh Valley roster has undergone, it is amazing to watch how the team hasn't been affected one bit. The Pigs just go out and play...and win. The manager gets a lot of credit for that.

That's a lot of hardware for one team. Let's hope they can add the Governor's Cup to the collection too!!