The Buffalo Bisons today announced that OF FRED LEWIS has been named the team's Stan Barron Most Valuable Player for the 2012 season. The Herd also named RHP MATT HARVEY its Warren Spahn Most Valuable Pitcher prior to Fan Appreciation Night on Tuesday, August 28 against the Rochester Red Wings.
RHP ELVIN RAMIREZ was awarded the Judge Michael Dillon Comeback Player of the Year while RHP JEFF STEVENS was voted the Joe DeSa Most Inspirational Player Award by his Bisons teammates. LHP JUSTIN HAMPSON was awarded the Jimmy Griffin "Hometown Hero" honor for his excellent play at Coca-Cola Field and INF MATT TUIASOSOPO and LHP GARRETT OLSON each received the Frank J. Vallone Community Service Award. The Joe Byron Fan of the Year Award was given to longtime season ticket holder and Bisons Booster club member PAM ASARESE of Buffalo, NY.
Stan Barron Most Valuable Player - Fred Lewis
Named after Stan Barron, a legend in Buffalo broadcasting, this award is given to the player who demonstrates outstanding ability, good sportsmanship and dedication.
Lewis has been a force at the top of the Bisons lineup after being signed as a free agent on April 25. In 104 games, the outfielder has hit a team-best .290 (117-403) with 11 home runs and 39RBI. He also leads the Bisons with 75 runs scored, 25 doubles, 7 triples, 43 extra-base hits, a .469 slugging percentage, a .843 OPS and 24 stolen bases. Lewis is second on the club with his .374 on-base percentage and 117 base hits.
Lewis ranks the International League's Top 10 in triples (T3rd), runs scored (T3rd) stolen bases (5th), on-base percentage (T6th), OPS (7th) and slugging percentage (10th).
Lewis was the sparkplug that got the Bisons' offense going all season. The veteran hit .384 (53-138) with 18 extra-base hits and a .448 on-base percentage when leading off an inning. He homered to lead off the game on August 26(2) against Rochester. He also homered in back-to-back games on three separate occasions, May 25-26, July 12-13 (3 total home runs) and August 7-8. He homered twice on June 24 at Durham and July 13 at Pawtucket and was named International League Batter-of-the-Week for the period of July 12-16.
With his great speed, Lewis stole 24 bases in 32 attempts. He swiped three bags on June 4 in Toledo.
Warren Spahn Most Valuable Pitcher - Matt Harvey
Established in 2001, this award is presented to the Bisons' pitcher who demonstrates outstanding ability, good sportsmanship and dedication throughout the course of the season.
RHP MATT HARVEY had an All-Star campaign before moving on to New York in late July for his major league debut. In 20 starts with the Bisons, the 23-year old righty was 7-5 with a 3.68ERA and 112 strikeouts in only 110.0 innings of work. Despite not pitching with the Bisons in a month, he still ranks second on the Bisons and 10th in the IL with his 112 strikeouts.
Harvey struck out 10 batters on three different occasions, including a season-high 11 punchouts in six innings of work in a victory on May 18 vs. Gwinnett. In 13 of his 20 starts with the Bisons, the Mets' #2 prospect by Baseball America fanned at least five batters.
Harvey's season took off starting on April 20 when he struck out 10 in a victory in Syracuse. He then went 5-0 with a 3.12ERA in a seven-game stretch, April 20 - May 24. On the season, the righty allowed more than four runs in just two of his 20 starts. The Bisons were 12-8 in games he started.
Harvey also hit .267 (4-15) with a home run and four RBI at the plate. He hit a two-run home run on April 25 in a victory at Lehigh Valley.
Harvey represented the Bisons at the 2012 Triple-A All-Star Game at Coca-Cola Field on July 11. He tossed two shutout innings and was named the IL's Top Star of the game.
Judge Michael Dillon Comeback Player of the Year - Elvin Ramirez
This award is named for the late Judge Michael F. Dillon, who was a three-time Erie County district attorney and served a 14-year term on the State Supreme Court. It recognizes an individual who overcomes injury, personal problems or a rough season and exemplifies the meaning of hard work and dedication.
A Rule V Draft pick of the Nationals before the 2011 season, RHP ELVIN RAMIREZ was returned to the Mets this off season after missing all of last year with an injured right shoulder. He began the 2012 season with Double-A Binghamton before being promoted to the Bisons on May 4.
Once with the Herd, Ramirez splashed onto the Triple-A scene. He went 3-0 and did not allow a run in his first 11 appearances with the Bisons. He struck out 19 batters and allowed just five hits in 14.2 innings of work, prompting his first big league promotion from June 1-22. Ramirez was also with the Mets from July 22 - August 7.
Overall, Ramirez is 3-1 with a 2.27ERA and one save in 31 appearances. He's allowed just 25 hits and has struck out 37 in 38.2 innings of work. He's retired the first batter he's faced a team-best 77% of the time (24-31) and is tied for the team lead with seven holds.
Frank J. "Fremo" Vallone Community Service Award - Tuiasosopo & Olson
The Community Service Award is named for the late Frank J. Vallone, the Bisons good will ambassador and most celebrated fan who served as a host and ticket salesperson from 1987-1990. The award is presented annually to the player who best represents the club in community related activities, charitable and youth oriented activities.
The Bisons have two Community Service Award recipients this year in INF MATT TUIASOSOPO and LHP GARRETT OLSON. Both players have been leaders on and off the field throughout the summer at Coca-Cola Field. Tuiasosopo and Olson each took time to visit local hospitals as well as participate in a game with the Miracle League on Grand Island. Passing their love of the game on to future generations, both players were also active during the Bisons annual youth baseball clinic at Coca-Cola Field.
Tuiasosopo has spent the entire season with the Bisons and has averaged .244 (97-397) with 13 doubles, 11 home runs and 54RBI in a team-high 126 games. His 54RBI are 3rd on the Bisons while his 11 homers are tied for 3rd. The slugger hit an inside-the-park home run on May 16 against Gwinnett and launched a grand slam on June 3 in Toledo. A versatile fielder, Tuiasosopo has played each position in the field except pitcher and catcher.
Olson has made 21 starts and 11 relief appearances for the Bisons this season. Overall, the southpaw is 4-7 with a 4.53ERA. He ranks 3rd on the club with 105 strikeouts, 21 starts and 119.1 innings pitched. He struck out a season-high 10 batters in a no-decision on May 11 in Charlotte. Since the All-Star Break, Olson has posted a 2.93ERA in three starts and 10 relief appearances. The veteran was promoted to the Mets for one game on August 7.
Joe DeSa Most Inspirational Player - Jeff Stevens
The Joe DeSa Award is named for the slick-fielding, power hitting player who was with the Bisons from 1985-86. He lost his life in a car accident in December of 1986. The award, which is voted on by his teammates, is presented annually to the player who truly exemplifies the meaning of inspiration by his play and love of the game.
RHP JEFF STEVENS has spent the majority of the 2012 season with the Bisons and has made 32 appearances out of the Herd's bullpen. Overall, the righty is 1-1 with a 3.15ERA, one save and 32 strikeouts in 40.0 innings of work. Stevens has been even tougher in the second half of the season with a 0.69ERA in 10 games since the All-Star Break.
Stevens has limited left-handed hitters to a .200 (11-55) average and only two extra-base hits. He also ranks second on the Bisons with 11 games finished and a 75% success rate retiring the first batter he's faced in an outing (24-32).
Jimmy Griffin Hometown Hero Award - Justin Hampson
The Hometown Hero Award was created during the 2008 season to honor the impact and support of the former Mayor of Buffalo, Jimmy Griffin. There was no bigger supporter of the team and of a downtown ballpark for the fans of the area than Mayor Griffin. He pledged his own money to have professional baseball return to Buffalo and later proved to be an innovator by insisting on the creation of Coca-Cola Field in downtown Buffalo. The award is given to the player who performs the best in home games in front of the fans of Buffalo.
In his second full season with the Bisons, LHP JUSTIN HAMPSON has had an outstanding season at Coca-Cola Field. In 26 appearances downtown, the southpaw is 3-0 with a 1.58ERA and two saves. He has allowed just 36 hits with 36 strikeouts in 40.0 innings of work at home.
Overall in 2012, Hampson is 4-2 with a 2.25ERA and three saves in 49 appearances (2nd most on team) with the Bisons. He is tied for the team lead with seven holds and has allowed just 11 of 29 inherited runners to score (38%). Hampson was promoted to the Mets on June 25 and pitched in three games.
This is Hampson's third end of the season honor from the Bisons. The veteran was given the Comeback Player of the Year and the Community Service Award after his 2011 season in Buffalo.
Joe Byron Fan of the Year - Pam Asarese
The Fan of the Year Award is named for the late Joe Byron, who is best known for singing the Canadian and US National Anthems at Buffalo Bisons baseball games and Buffalo Sabres hockey games. The award is presented each season to the person who best represents fans through their dedication to the team and to baseball.
PAM ASARESE has been a Bisons season ticket holder for each of the 25 season, sitting in section 111 with her husband, Dom. She started going to baseball games as a child growing up in Corning, NY and brought her love of the game with her when she moved to Buffalo. She shared her love with her three boys, taking them to Bisons games at War Memorial Stadium starting in 1979.
In 1985, Asarese was one of the founding members of the Buffalo Bisons Booster Club in 1985 and has been an active part of the group ever since. She currently serves on the Executive Board as the Booster Club's Recording Secretary.