Article Courtesy of the Saint Paul Saints
Photo Courtesy of John Autey | Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL, MN (September 10, 2015) – The St. Paul Saints' success this season has been driven by a perfect storm of a 23-man roster all posting career numbers to produce the greatest season in the franchise's history. With all of the individual record breaking performances throughout the club, none have been more impressive than that of catcher Vinny DiFazio who has been named the 2015 American Association Player of the Year as voted on by the league's coaches and media.
DiFazio has been one of the most feared hitters in the league all season. DiFazio finished the year hitting .361 with 17 homers and 82 RBI. In 321 at bats he scored 70 runs, slugged 19 doubles, two triples, and posted a .467 on base percentage and .592 slugging percentage. DiFazio led the league in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. The Hampton, New Jersey native's 82 RBI on the season was tied for first, with his teammate Angelo Songco, and tied for the most all-time in a single season in Saints history (also with Songco). DiFazio's 17 home runs on the season were tied for third in the league.
DiFazio twice went on double digit hitting streaks over the course of the season, one for 12 games from June 10-23 that included 11 multi-hit games in a row, and another 12 game stretch from July 31-August 12. Perhaps the most impressive stretch for DiFazio came when he was named the Player of the Month for June after hitting .393 with seven home runs and 27 RBI in 22 games. In 89 at bats he scored 20 runs, roped four doubles, one triple, had an on base percentage of .449, a .697 slugging percentage and a 1.146 OPS over that span.
Behind the plate, DiFazio has helped work with a Saints pitching staff that is second in the league in ERA and brag four 10 game winners for just the second time in league history.
This is the second honor for DiFazio in the last week, as he was also named to the Post-Season All-Star Team at catcher.
After spending four seasons in the Texas Rangers farm system, DiFazio joined the Saints at the end of the 2014 season after being granted his release by the Grand Prairie AirHogs in the American Association.
DiFazio becomes the first St. Paul Saint to be named American Association Player of the Year and the second in team history to earn the top honors in any league. Third baseman Vince Castaldo was the last Saint to be awarded top individual honors when he was named the Northern League MVP in 1994.
In selecting the Player of the Year, each team received two votes, one by the manager and one from the General Manager/media member, for a total of 26 votes.