While the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs 2019 season may not have gone according to plan and ended well shy of a postseason berth in the Atlantic League, the squad announced its annual award winners last week.
Southern Maryland veteran pitcher and current pitching coach Daryl Thompson was named the team’s Most Valuable Player.
Thompson, the La Plata High School graduate, recently completed his 17th season of professional baseball and his eighth with the Blue Crabs. In 2019, he set career highs in wins, strikeouts and innings pitched and led the Atlantic League in all three of those categories en route to being named the league’s top pitcher in 2019.
Thompson’s 162 strikeouts were the second most in a single season in league history and his 15 wins are tied for the sixth most in league history.
“Daryl Thompson had a career year,” Blue Crabs general manager Courtney Knichel said. “He was the Atlantic League pitcher of the year, he was the best leader we could ask for and he was an easy choice for the MVP.”
Closer Mat Latos, a Cy Young Award finalist, was recognized for lowest earned run average on the staff. Latos recorded 25 saves in 27 chances with an ERA of 1.06.
The Blue Crabs also recognized infielder Edwin Garcia with the team’s golden glove award, crowned Cory Vaughn its home run champion (finished with 23 on the season), acknowledged Josh McAdams as leading hitter and Tony Thomas, perhaps best known for becoming the first player in professional baseball history to “steal first base” as its RBI leader, finishing with 68 on the season. Garcia captured his second straight Atlantic League Gold Glove award as the league’s best infielder in 2019.
“Edwin Garcia is fresh off of back-to-back ALPB Gold Glove defensive player of the year awards,” Knichel said. “He is the cornerstone of excellence defensively and, of course, won our Gold Glove award.”
Southern Maryland manager Stan Cliburn completed his first season of his second stint with the Atlantic League squad and commended all of the award winners for their production and dedication during the 2019 slate.
“I don’t think our final [win-loss] record reflected the talent that we had on the field this past season,” Cliburn said. “Our starting pitching was outstanding and Daryl did a great job on the mound and working with the staff during his first year as pitching coach. Edwin had another outstanding season with the glove and Cory and Josh and Tony all hit the ball well for us.”
McAdams has since transferred his talents to the Carine Cats in Perth, Australia for the winter league there, while catcher Charlie Valerio has signed a contract with the San Diego Padres and will report to the team’s spring training camp next February.
Valerio represented his native Dominican Republic in the Premier12, a qualifier for the 2020 Olympics.
“Every dream can come true,” Valerio said of signing with the Padres. “with hard word and dedication, patience and discipline. God gives you things in his time, not when you want it. So, never give up on your dreams.”
The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs will play a 126-game schedule next season and both Cliburn and Knichel are looking forward to next spring while still wanting to acknowledge what the team accomplished on the field in 2019.
“Every Blue Crab that won a team award exemplifies the Blue Crab way,” Knichel said. “And we hope to have them all back next season.”