ROUND ROCK, Texas – El Paso Chihuahuas' second baseman Carlos Asuaje has been named the 2016 Pacific Coast League Rookie of the Year, the league office announced Tuesday. This marks the second consecutive year a Chihuahua has taken home the honor, with Alex Dickerson doing so last season.
In his first year in the Padres organization, Asuaje has racked up 165 hits in 128 games – the most hits among Triple-A players and the fourth most in Minor League Baseball. The Venezuelan native has totaled 236 bases, trailing only the PCL's top two home runs hitters – Reno's Kyle Jensen and teammate Hunter Renfroe – for the league lead. Asuaje's .322 average (165-for-512) is the fourth-best in the PCL, while his 10 triples and 93 runs scored are each in the league's top three. Additionally, the 24-year-old has hit seven home runs, driven in 65 runs, stole nine bases and has an .839 OPS.
Asuaje, who entered the season as the Padres' 13th-best prospect according to Baseball America, was a day ago named the second baseman on the All-PCL Team. Over the All-Star break, Asuaje played for the World Team in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in San Diego. He reached base all three plate appearances, collecting two hits and a walk. Three days later, he was the PCL's starting second baseman in the Triple-A All-Star Game in Charlotte, drawing a walk in four trips to the plate.
Asuaje's decorated season has been an extension of his four-year career. Originally selected by Boston in the 11th round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, the Nova Southeastern product was traded in November in a five-player deal featuring teammate Manuel Margot and current Red Sox reliever Craig Kimbrel. He has also been named a Mid-Season All-Star each of the previous two seasons, in 2014 with Single-A Greenville and 2015 with Double-A Portland. Also in 2014, Asuaje was tabbed a MiLB.com Red Sox Organizational All-Star and a South Atlantic League Postseason All-Star. In 458 career games, Asuaje has hit .293 (508-for-1731) with 32 home runs and 254 RBI.
The Rookie of the Year award was created in 1998 and honors a player's outstanding achievement during his first year at the Triple-A level. Balloting was conducted by the 16 field managers and media representatives across the league. Among the others to receive votes were Renfroe, Orlando Arcia (Colorado Springs) and Jaycob Brugman (Nashville).