Flying Squirrels Announce 2022 Team Awards

Sep 18, 2022 – Eastern League (EL) – Richmond Flying Squirrels Press Release

RICHMOND, Va. – The Richmond Flying Squirrels announced their 2022 team awards on Sunday afternoon. The award winners were recognized at a pre-game ceremony before the regular season finale against the Erie SeaWolves at The Diamond.

Infielder Tyler Fitzgerald was named the 2022 Flying Squirrels Most Valuable Player and left-hander Kyle Harrison was selected the 2022 Flying Squirrels Pitcher of the Year. Utility player Shane Matheny won the “Dirty Squirrel” award of the Year from Puritan Cleaners and reliever Chris Wright was selected for the 2022 Flying Squirrels Community Service Award.


This year, Fitzgerald became the first 20-20 player in Flying Squirrels history, hitting 21 home runs and stealing 20 bases. Heading into Sunday’s season finale, he leads the team with 58 RBIs, a .424 slugging percentage, 104 hits, 20 doubles, 44 extra-base hits, 193 total bases and 74 runs scored. After hitting .194 in his first 83 games of the year, Fitzgerald posted a .286 average in his last 42 games since July 28. In one of the most notable games of the season on May 29 at The Diamond against the Hartford Yard Goats. , Fitzgerald set team records in a single game with 13 total bases and five runs scored, while also tying the team record with five hits.

“Once it starts to adapt and evolve to the environment, it’s pretty much unstoppable,” said Flying Squirrels manager Dennis Pelfrey. “He’s one of the best players in our organization. The way he plays, he never picks a tiebreaker. He never picks a tiebreaker. It doesn’t matter if he’s having a good day or a bad day. He plays hard.”


Harrison came to Richmond as an emerging player to watch in the minors and finished the season as one of the top prospects in baseball. After starting the season with the High-A Eugene Emeralds, Harrison joined the Flying Squirrels in late May. At age 20 when he debuted, Harrison became the youngest pitcher in franchise history. In the time period since his debut, he leads the Eastern League with 127 strikeouts and an opponents batting average of .201. He’s also second in the league with a 3.11 ERA and third with a 1.18 WHIP. Entering play Sunday, Harrison ranks second in the minors with 186 total strikeouts in 2022. He has recorded 14.8 strikeouts per nine innings, the highest rate for a pitcher in the minors (min. 100 IP) in a season. dates back to 1960. Currently, rates him as the best left-handed pitching prospect in baseball.

“He walks around here like a veterinarian in the way he goes about his business every day and the way he works,” Pelfrey said. “It’s no wonder he’s having a wonderful season. He’s going to continue to move through the system very quickly. He’s very smart. His mind works like a computer. He absorbs things very quickly. He’s only going to get better. He’s pretty much dominating this league.” every time it goes out, and I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon.”


Matheny returned to Richmond for a second season in 2022 and had a strong offensive season, adding to his already stellar defensive play. Heading into Sunday’s game, Matheny leads the team in batting average (.251), on-base percentage (.376), OPS (.791) and walks (58). He also ranks third in the Eastern League in on-base percentage and sixth in walks. After playing exclusively in the infield in previous seasons, Matheny played additional outfield time on his résumé for the first time in his professional career. Quickly adjusting to the new position, Matheny made two stellar catches that landed him on ESPN’s SportsCenter Top 10 Plays.

“He’s really fun to watch no matter where you put him on the field,” Pelfrey said of Matheny. “The nickname we gave him when he started playing in the outfield was ‘The Falcon.’ He goes and runs everything and makes plays. It’s so much fun to watch him play. There are a lot of guys on this team that play hard, but I think a lot of that comes down to watching Shane and how he plays him. He is a natural leader. He doesn’t have to say much. The way he plays is how I would like my son to play. It’s really something special.”


In his debut season at Double-A, Wright was one of the Flying Squirrels’ best bullpen arms. Off the field, he spent his spare time giving back to members of the Richmond community. Wright worked with young baseball players at the Flying Squirrels FUNNdamentals Baseball Camp, the Nutzy All-Stars Baseball Camp, and helped with the ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation 5K & Fun Walk.

“It’s really special when you have guys like (Wright) in your baseball club,” Pelfrey said. “Chris Wright is one of the first, basically every time we do something with the community, to want to go out there and give back. He shows a lot of morality, high character and high values. The guys around him can see too. He has this personality where people are attracted to him, and other players jump in there with him.”



Most Valuable Player: Thomas Neal

Pitcher of the Year: David Mixon

Puritan Cleaners Dirty Squirrel of the Year: Thomas Neal


Most Valuable Player: Roger Kieschnick

Pitcher of the Year: Eric Surkamp

Puritan Cleaners Dirty Squirrel of the Year: Skyler Stromsmoe


Most Valuable Player: Juan Perez

Pitcher of the Year: Chris Heston

Puritan Cleaners Dirty Squirrel of the Year: Gary Brown


Most Valuable Player: Javier Herrera

Pitcher of the Year: Jack Snodgrass

Puritan Cleaners Dirty Squirrel of the Year: Ryan Lollis


Most Valuable Player: Matt Duffy

Pitcher of the Year: Jack Snodgrass

Puritan Cleaners Dirty Squirrel of the Year: Kelby Tomlinson


Most Valuable Player: Rando Moreno

Pitcher of the Year: Joe Biagini

Puritan Cleaners Dirty Squirrel of the Year: Myles Schroder


Most Valuable Player: Hunter Cole

Pitcher of the Year: Tyler Beede

Puritan Cleaners Dirty Squirrel of the Year: Steven Duggar

Community Service Award: Eliezer Zambrano


Most Valuable Player: Miguel Gomez

Pitcher of the Year: Tyler Cyr

Puritan Cleaners Dirty Squirrel of the Year: Myles Schroder

Community Service Award: Jeff Arnold


Most Valuable Player: Ryan Howard

Pitcher of the Year: Dillon McNamara

Puritan Cleaners Dirty Squirrel of the Year: Matt Lipka

Community Service Award: Dan Slania


Most Valuable Player: Johneshwy Fargas

Pitcher of the Year: Ryan Halstead

Puritan Cleaners Dirty Squirrel of the Year: Jalen Miller

Community Service Award: Matt Winn


Most Valuable Player: David Villar

Pitcher of the Year: Ronnie Williams

Puritan Cleaners Dirty Squirrel of the Year: Simon Whiteman

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