Monday, February 14, 2011

BBM Winter Awards LMP NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: Barbaro Canizares, Obregon Yaquis

An Atlanta Braves farmhand, the 31-year-old Canizares played eight seasons for Industriales of the Cuban National Series between 1998 and 2005, batting .303 with 38 homers in 520 games and was a teammate of Angels infielder Kendry Morales on Industriales in 2003 and 2004 before both players were suspended for trying to leave both the team and country.

After defecting from Cuba, Canizares signed with the Braves as a free agent before the 2006 season. He has played the last four years for AAA Richmond and Gwinnett, topping the .300 mark three times, and hit .190 in five games for Atlanta in 2009.

Following a .341/13/77 season for Gwinnett in 2010, Canizares played winterball in Mexico for the first time with Obregon. The 6’3” 240-pound right-hander finished sixth in the Mexican Pacific League batting race with a .320 average and ended up in the top 5 in homers (12) and RBIs (46) over 56 games as well. Canizares hit .261 with three homers and 11 RBIs in 15 MexPac playoff games to tie with ex-LMP MVP Agustin Murillo for the team lead in homers and ribbies. He went on to come in sixth among Caribbean Series batsmen with a .333 average, tops among Yaquis players.

Tuesday's BBM Winter Award: LMP Manager of the Year