In a tradition that has taken place every year since 1980, the New York Yankees announced the recipients of the Kevin Lawn Award Winners on Wednesday. The award goes to the Position Player of the Year and the Pitcher of the Year from the previous season.
Congrats to RHP Hayden Wesneski and SS Anthony Volpe on being named winners of the 2021 Kevin Lawn Award as the Yankees’ minor league “Pitcher of the Year” and “Position Player of the Year." @HWEZ02 & @Volpe_Anthony 🏆👏 pic.twitter.com/Fdn30O6v5k
— NYYPlayerDev (@NYYPlayerDev) March 30, 2022
It is no surprise that Volpe was named the best position player in the Yankees organization in 2021 when you consider the breakout season he had. The 20-year-old shortstop had a slash line of .294/.423/.604 with 27 home runs, 76 RBIs, and he stole 33 bases in 109 games with Low-A Tampa and High-A Hudson Valley.
This season, the first-round pick in the 2019 MLB Draft will likely begin the season at Double-A Somerset in his home state of New Jersey, but the roster has yet to be made official.
As for pitching, Wesneski would not have been a consensus pick for this award when the season began a year ago. However, 2021 put him on the map as one of the best pitching prospects in the organization.
The now 24-year-old right-hander had a strong season that ended with him making his final three starts of the season at Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre. In 25 appearances (24 starts) across three levels (High-A, Double-A, Triple-A), the 6th Round pick in 2019 went 11-6 with a 3.25 ERA.
Across those 25 outings, Wesneski had 151 strikeouts to 36 walks over the course of 130.1 innings and he held opponents to a .229 average. Throughout the season, Wesneski strike out nine or more batters four times, including a career-high 14 K’s with Somerset on September 11 (7 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 14 K’s, 0 BB’s).
While the Yankees have a decent amount of pitching depth at Triple-A, Wesneski could be a name to keep in mind throughout the year in Scranton as a possible big-league call-up should he continue to have the success that he had last year.