The Pittsburgh Pirates today named Endy Rodriguez the organization’s Honus Wagner Player-of-the-Year and Quinn Priester the organization’s Bob Friend Pitcher-of-the-Year. The announcements were made by John Baker, the organization’s Director of Coaching and Player Development.
The 22-year-old Rodriguez led all Pirates minor leaguers in batting average (.323), OBP (.407), slugging (.590), OPS (.997), hits (148), doubles (39), extra base hits (68) and total bases (270) in a combined 125 games in 2022 between Greensboro, Altoona and Indianapolis. At the conclusion of the 2022 campaign, Rodriguez emerged as one of the industry’s top 100 prospects by both Baseball America (95th) and MLB Pipeline (97th). Rodriguez was also recognized by both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline as a first-team All-Star at catcher at the conclusion of the 2022 campaign.
Rodriguez began 2022 with Greensboro, where he ranked second in the South Atlantic League in slugging (.544) and OPS (.936), seventh in batting (.302), fifth in OBP (.392) and tied for second in both doubles (23) and extra base hits (42) at the time he was promoted to Altoona on August 9. The South Atlantic League player-of-the-month for July spent 31 games with Altoona, which was highlighted by becoming the fifth player in Curve history to homer from both sides of the plate after doing so on September 1. Following his promotion to Triple-A on September 20, the switch-hitting Rodriguez hit .455 (10-for-22) with two doubles, a triple, home run and eight RBI in six games with Indianapolis.
On Wednesday, Rodriguez was also named to the South Atlantic League All-Star team as a catcher, the league’s Most Valuable Player and as the league’s top MLB prospect as voted on by South Atlantic League managers. Rodriguez is the second straight Pirates minor leaguer to take home South Atlantic League MVP honors after Matt Fraizer did so in 2021. Rodriguez is also one of just two players in all of Minor League Baseball to take home MVP honors in each of the last two seasons after doing so last year in the Florida State League (the only other player to accomplish that in the last two seasons was Jonathan Aranda of the Rays organization, who was the Southern League MVP in 2021 and International League MVP this year).
Rodriguez was one of five players acquired by the Pirates in a three-team trade with the San Diego Padres and New York Mets on January 19, 2021. He ended his 2022 season ranked fifth among all qualified full-season players in MiLB in OPS (.997) and tied for ninth in total bases (270).
The 22-year-old Priester led all Pirates minor leaguers (minimum 90.0 innings pitched) with a 3.29 ERA (90.1ip/33er) while making a combined 19 starts in 2022 between Bradenton (rehab), Greensboro (rehab), Altoona and Indianapolis. He ranked eighth among all pitchers at the Double-A level during the month of July with a 1.69 ERA. Beginning with his start on June 19 to September 20 with Altoona, the 18th overall selection from the 2019 First-Year Player Draft ranked fifth among all qualified pitchers at the Double-A level with a 2.87 ERA.
At the conclusion of the 2022 season, Priester was ranked 44th among MLB Pipeline’s top 100 prospects in the game along with 63rd among Baseball America’s top 100 prospects.
The Honus Wagner Player-of-the-Year is awarded to the Pirates minor leaguer who had the most impressive overall season. The award is named in honor of the legendary Pirates Hall-of-Fame shortstop who played 2,437 games in a Pirates uniform.
The Bob Friend Pitcher-of-the-Year is named in honor of the former Pirates righthander who led the N.L with a 2.83 ERA in 1955. Friend is also the all-time Pirates leader in games started (477), innings pitched (3481.0) and strikeouts (1682).
COURTESY MLBpressbox.com AND PIRATES MEDIA RELATIONS