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Horwitz named MVP as Bisons hand out end of season awards

Parsons is Most Valuable Pitcher, Lantigua picks up a pair of awards
September 22, 2023

The Buffalo Bisons announced their 2023 seaonal team awards with infielder Spencer Horwitz being named the Stan Barron Most Valuable Player for his record-breaking season at the plate. RHP Wes Parson was named the team’s Warren Spahn Most Valuable Pitcher while infielder/outfielder Rafael Lantigua took home a pair of awards;

The Buffalo Bisons announced their 2023 seaonal team awards with infielder Spencer Horwitz being named the Stan Barron Most Valuable Player for his record-breaking season at the plate.

RHP Wes Parson was named the team’s Warren Spahn Most Valuable Pitcher while infielder/outfielder Rafael Lantigua took home a pair of awards; the Joe De Sa Most Inspirational Player and the ‘Fremo’ Vallone Community Service Award.

Outfielder Cameron Eden was electric on the basepaths no matter where he played in his first season at Triple-A, but a perfect stolen base record as Sahlen Field earned him the Jimmy Griffin Hometown Hero Award. Infielder Tanner Morris was named the team’s Judge Michael Dillon Comeback Player of the Year.

Bisons Season Ticket Holder and North Tonawanda native Jim Smolka was named the 2023 Joe Byron Fan of the Year.

Most Valuable Player -Spencer Horwitz

Spencer Horwitz followed up his first Triple-A season in 2022 with a year that saw the 25-year-old rank among the best in the International League in a majority of the offensive categories. Horwitz’s .337 batting average is the 4th best in the league, while his .450 on-base percentage is the best in the IL and ranks second in all of Triple-A baseball. Horwitz’s on-base percentage shattered the Bisons modern era single-season record by 26 points.

Overall, Horwitz had 132 hits in 107 games for the Herd, with 30 doubles, 10 home runs and 72 RBI before his promotion to the Blue Jays. He also drew more walks (78) than strikeouts (72) on the year, with a .945 OPS that ranked 2nd among all Bisons hitters. Horwitz hit .360 with runners in scoring position on the season, drove in six runs in a single game on April 30 in Gwinnett, and had 37 multi-hit performances.

In the field, Horwitz was voted as the IL’s best defensive infielder by league managers in a Baseball America poll.

Horwitz made his Major League debut earlier this season after being recalled by the Toronto Blue Jays on June 16. He recorded a base hit and an RBI in his first Big League game on June 18 against the Texas Rangers.

Most Valuable Pitcher -Wes Parsons

Starter Wes Parsons signed with the Blue Jays organization in May and did not make his Bisons debut until June 7 in Toledo against the Mud Hens. However, the Clarksville, TN native has led the team’s rotation the entire second half of the season, becoming the ace of the pitching staff.

The right hander went undefeated in his first 11 starts of the second half, not taking a loss in either July or August. During that stretch, Parsons went 8-0 with a 3.20 ERA and 70 strikeouts across 56.1 innings pitched. He also set a new career high with 11 strikeouts on September 2 against Indianapolis.

Overall, Parsons is 9-4 with a 4.52 ERA in 17 starts with the Bisons this season, with 98 strikeouts to only 68 hits allowed in 81.2 innings of work. His nine wins lead all members of the Bisons pitching staff and are tied for the third most among all International League pitchers.

Most Inspirational Player -Rafael Lantigua

Rafael Lantigua played everywhere on diamond except first base and catcher for the Bisons in 2023, as well as batting up and down the lineup for the team this season. The majority of his starts have come in left field, 32, while also making 29 at third base and 23 at shortstop for the Herd.

Lantigua leads all Bisons hitters with 138 hits, 39 doubles, 51 extra-base hits and 85 RBI in 127 games played. His 39 doubles are tied for the second most in the Bisons modern era, just five behind Buffalo Baseball Hall of Famer, Jhonny Peralta, and are second among all IL hitters this season. Lantigua also ranks 2nd among all IL hitters with a team-best 96 walks and has the 5th-best on-base percentage (.422) in the league.

Lantigua hit better than .300 in three separate months for the Bisons this season, beginning with a .345 average in May that included three home runs, 12 RBIs and six stolen bases. His highest total offensive performance came in July where he batted .343 with nine multi-hit games with four homers, 19 RBIs, and 10 walks.

In addition to his impressive work on the field, Lantigua distinguished himself as a fan favorite for his work away from the game during various volunteer opportunities in 2023. The gregarious utilityman was part of each of the Bisons community-related events this past season, and he could be seen signing autographs for young fans prior to and following each Bisons home game. For that, Lantigua was also award the ‘Fremo’ Vallone Community Service Award.

Hometown Hero -Cam Eden

No Bisons player has ever had a better stolen base record at Sahlen Field than first year Bisons’ outfielder, Cameron Eden. The speedy centerfielder was a perfect 27 for 27 stealing bases in front of the hometown crowd in 2023 on his way to becoming the team’s new modern era single-season Stolen Base King.

Overall, Eden hit .302 at the corner of Washington and Swan with 23 extra-base hits and 39 runs scored in 61 home games. He also had a .385 on-base pct. and a .391 slugging percentage at home for a .776 OPS, more than 150 points higher than his mark away from Buffalo.

Overall, the electrifying outfielder hit .257 with 48 RBI in 131 games for the Herd. He stole a total of 53 bases, 10 more than any Bisons player has ever stolen in a single season in the team’s modern era. Eden was also caught stealing just four times for a 93% success rate.

Comeback Player of the Year -Tanner Morris

Tanner Morris’ season did not start out on a positive note, batting just .163 in April. However, the infielder steadily improved virtually all of his offensive categories in the next month of the season and became a constant in the Bisons lineup through the entire season.

The former fifth round pick by the Blue Jays in the 2019 Draft used a 45-game on-base streak from June 30 to September 12 to increase his batting average by over 100 points and sit around .290 for the majority of the second half of the season.

Morris’ best offensive day with the team came on July 26 when he went 5 for 5 against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders that included a home run and three RBIs. It was one of 25 multi-hit games for Morris on the season.

Overall, Morris has hit .281 with six home runs and 50 RBI in 96 games with the Herd this season.