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All American Game | Story | 8/26/2011

Rawlings all-in with DPOY Award

Jeff Dahn        
Photo: Perfect Game

Although Rawlings Sporting Goods manufactures and retails just about every piece of baseball equipment on the market, the pace-setting company may be best known for the big, gold trophies that feature a sculpted fielder’s glove.

Each year, Rawlings hands out the Rawlings Gold Glove Award to the 18 major-leaguers – nine in both the American and National leagues – who are deemed the best defensive player at their respective position. It is one of the most coveted individual awards in Major League Baseball.

It is against that backdrop that the company became the title sponsor of the 2011 Rawlings Defensive Player of the Year Award, which was presented at the Perfect Game All-American Classic presented by Rawlings Awards Banquet in San Diego Aug. 13.

The winner of the award was Puerto Rican standout Carlos Correa, Perfect Game’s top-ranked shortstop prospect in the nation and the No. 11 top prospect overall (class of 2012).

While presenting the award at the banquet, Rawlings Sports Marketing and Licensing Manager Mark Kraemer explained the significance of having the Rawlings name associated with it. He called the award “an honor given out to one individual who exemplifies all the star qualities that are often held by those in the ranks of the major leagues.”

“Rawlings sets a high standard for defense – one that we believe has helped shape most major league players into the athletes they are today,” Kraemer continued. “Our hope is that the Rawlings Defensive Player of the Year Award at the high school level will serve as a reminder that hard work pays off for those of you wanting to continue your baseball careers.”

He then introduced Correa.

“This year’s winner is among the cream of the crop. He is a shortstop with great range, soft hands and a rocket arm; he earns this title for demonstrating the sportsmanship, leadership and ability of a true player.”

Correa is starting his senior year at the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, but is young for his class – he won’t celebrate his 17th birthday until September. He is already 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds, and his ceiling is obviously high. He has verbally committed to Vanderbilt and seems certain to be a first round selection in the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft.

“I’ve been doing this for 14 years, and Carlos is a special kid with a ton of talent,” Team Mizuno of Puerto Rico coach/director Edwin Rodriguez told Perfect Game in June. “He’s shown that he has some tools, and in my opinion and the opinion of some of the scouts, he’s going to be the best player coming out of Puerto Rico in (pause) well, we don’t know how long.”

Later in the summer, Rodriguez continued his assessment of Correa’s development.

“He has the tools and now he needs to showcase those tools in terms of the mental aspect of the game and the knowledge of the game,” Rodriguez said. “Not only does he have those tools but he can bring other things like leadership to the game and knowledge of what’s going on out on the field.”

Correa was one of six players honored at the All-American Classic Awards Banquet. Other winners were:

Lance McCullers, Jackie Robinson Player of the Year; Joey Giolito, Baseball America Pitching Prospect of the Year; Joey Gallo, Reebok Offensive Player of the Year; Clate Schmidt, Perfect Game Nick Adenhart Award, and Alex Bregman, Evoshield SWAG Award.

“With more than 450,000 high school players in the nation, know that being part of the All-American Classic roster is quite an accomplishment for any player,” Rawlings’ Kraemer told the prospects. “Because we know that being one of the best requires hard work, perseverance and dedication, Rawlings applauds the effort you’ve put forth thus far.”

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