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Front Page: Mark Contreras Named 2019 Rawlings Gold Glove Award Winner

mark contreras royce lewis alex kirilloff brusdar graterol
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#1 Cody Christie

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Posted 14 October 2019 - 07:03 PM

Pensacola just completed their first year of affiliation with the Minnesota Twins and there was plenty to be excited about. Many of the team’s top prospects spent at least part of the season in a Blue Wahoos jersey including top prospects Royce Lewis, Alex Kirilloff and Brusdar Graterol. On Monday, the team was notified of another recognition to be excited about as outfielder Mark Contreras was named a 2019 Rawlings Gold Glove Award Winner.Contreras was drafted by the Twins in the ninth round of the 2017 MLB Amateur Draft from the University of California, Riverside. He spent all his pro debut in Elizabethton hitting .275/.319/.421 (.740) while logging innings at all three outfield positions. During the 2018 season, he played the majority of the season as the left fielder in Fort Myers with a .689 OPS.

He’d start the 2019 campaign back in Fort Myers but 85 of his 112 games came in Pensacola. Miracle. In 182 total chances, he made no errors and recorded 13 outfield assists. For the Blue Wahoos, Contreras played 46 games in left field, 16 in center field, and seven in right field, totaling 576.1 innings in the Pensacola outfield while maintaining a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.

“It’s crazy to think that I just won the Gold Glove for all the minor leagues in left field,” Contreras said. “It’s an honor to be recognized for my defense. It’s awesome and it just goes to show that the hard work is paying off. Everything we did during spring training with the outfield coordinator got us ready to do the right things.”

So, what does the award mean to him?

“It means a lot. At a young age, every coach I had said ‘Defense helps wins games,’” Contreras added. My Pops always told me if it’s not working with the bat today, you can always go out there and make a play and change the momentum. It means a lot that it’s not only just offense getting recognized, it’s defense.”

Contreras got to play with some very good players in 2019 and the culture seems to be changing in the Twins organization.

““It’s a great group of guys. We work hard in spring training with one goal in mind, to play hard and showcase that the Twins aren’t just about winning in the big leagues, but across the minor league system. A lot of the Blue Wahoos from Opening Day ended up making their big-league debuts. It shows that it’s a great group of guys out there doing their jobs and we all are a big family. To say that we made the playoffs again, that’s awesome. That’s the end goal. It was a great year as a whole.”

Contreras is still working hard this week even after winning one of the minor league’s top honors.

“I’m going back to Fort Myers in November for [off-season instructional] camps,” Contreras said. “It keeps us on our toes and working on the right things in the off-season. It tunes us up for what the organization expects us to show up with in spring training. It’s very helpful to get pointers and work with the coordinators one-on-one. I really enjoy it and it keeps the players on the right track and gives me an understanding of what I need to keep working on.”

Congrats to Contreras on the honor.

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Cody Christie

#2 bighat


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Posted 14 October 2019 - 07:33 PM

Thanks for sharing the details on this award - great to hear from some of the lesser-touted prospects. Just by reading this interview, you can tell Contreras is a hard worker and pretty darn talented in his own right. I'll be checking in on this guy's stats next year. Congrats to him and nice to see the Twins system winning awards.

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#3 Aerodeliria


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Posted 14 October 2019 - 10:39 PM

He looks like Baldelli's son.

#4 tarheeltwinsfan


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Posted 16 October 2019 - 07:24 AM

Congrats. Defense. Defense.

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