Josh Barfield, Minor League Player of the Year
No surprises here. Josh Barfield was named Minor League Player of the Year by the San Diego Padres. Barfield has now won the award in consecutive seasons, joining Derek Lee as the only farmhands to win the award in consecutive seasons since its 1993 inception.
Gabe Ribas was named Minor League Pitcher of the Year after demolishing the competition in Fort Wayne.
Josh Barfield was originally selected by the Padres in the fourth round of the 2001 draft out of Klein High School. The 20 year old is the son of Major Leaguer Jesse Barfield, the former Blue Jay and Yankee.
Barfield shared the honors with Jon Knott in 2002, but now he gets to claim the title all to himself. In 135 games, Barfield hit .337 at Lake Elsinore, drove in 128, hit 16 homer runs, smacked 46 doubles, three triples and reached base at a .389 clip. Towards the end of the season, Barfield began to threaten the all-time mark for RBI’s in the league.
A year after leading the Midwest League in hits with 164, Barfield topped the Cal League in RBIs, doubles and 68 extra-base hits.
An MVP honor in the California League was a formality and some thought he would challenge for Minor League Player of the Year. That award went to Minnesota Twins farmhand Joey Mauer.
Gabe Ribas tore through the Midwest League with a 13-3 record and an ERA of 2.25. After such a successful campaign, the right-hander was promoted to Lake Elsinore.
In total, Ribas compiled a 17-8 record with a 3.29 ERA. After a shaky start with the Storm, he settled down and began to continue his dominance.
The former Northwestern University star walked just 40 batters in 164 innings of work. He struck out 152 in that same span.
Ribas, 24, was originally drafted by the Padres in the fourteenth round of the 2002 draft.
Fort Wayne manager Gary Jones won the Jack Krol award for contributions in player development. Jones guided the Wizards to a 71-66 record and a first-half pennant in the Eastern Division of the Midwest League. The Wizards were also named the Midwest 2003 Team of the Year.
Rumors have swirled that Jones will be promoted to Mobile, with Craig Colbert heading to Portland. An announcement is expected later this month, or early next month.
Ben McClure was named Scout of the Year. McClure has been with the Padres since 2000 and is one of six professional scouts in San Diego's scouting department. Launching his scouting career with the Cardinals in 1972, McClure also worked in the Blue Jays organization. McClure scouts players in the International, Eastern, Carolina and South Atlantic leagues.