The “High-A Pitcher of the Year” award used to be the “Full Season Pitcher of the Year” award before MLB changed the format of the minor leagues for 2021. The award used to cover the California, Midwest, Carolina, Florida State, and South Atlantic Leagues.
So like any good writer (or coach, or teacher, or human being), I’ll adjust to the new system. So the award will now cover High-A East, West, and Central (such boring names!).
Regardless, the 2021 winner is Charlottesville’s Carson Spiers, who pitched for Dayton in 2021. Spiers, who pitched in the Valley in 2017, went 6-4, 3.64 in 89 innings, along with a 1.09 WHIP, 2.9 BB/9, and 10.4 K/9 (103 strikeouts in those 89 innings). He also appeared in five games in Low-A, where he walked five and struck out 27 in 22 2/3 innings.
Spiers was undrafted after his career at Clemson, and signed with Cincinnati in 2020. For Charlottesville in 2017,
he was really, really good, going 4-0, 0.78 in 23 regular season innings, while walking five and striking out 27. He also went 2-0, 1.03 in 8 2/3 playoff innings, helping the team to win the VBL title. (Nope, that was Rick Spiers, not Carson- thanks to David Argo for the heads up.) Carson Spiers pitched in two games for Charlottesville in 2017 before having to leave due to an injury.
Others to Consider
- Graham Ashcraft (Waynesboro 2018): Dayton: 4-1, 2.33, 1.06 WHIP, 3.0 BB/9, 12.8 K/9 in 38 2/3 innings (remember his name for the very near future!)
- Zach Peek (Strasburg 2017): Aberdeen: 4-0, 3.22, 1.32 WHIP, 2.8 BB/9, 11.7 K/9 in 44 2/3 innings
- Gabriel Ponce (Front Royal 2018): Vancouver: 2-2, 2.65, 1.59 WHIP, 6.4 BB/9, 13.2 K/9 in 17 innings
- Lael Lockhart (Woodstock 2019): Great Lakes: 2-1, 3.54, 1.34 WHIP, 5.0 BB/9, 16.3 K/9 in 12 2/3 innings