The Tampa Bay Rays announced their Most Valuable Players for each of their nine minor league affiliates on Monday and former Webster University All-American pitcher Josh Fleming was among those recognized by the Rays organization.
The Rays minor league award winners for the 2019 season were recognized on the field during a pregame ceremony prior to the Rays home game on Monday against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field, which is the home stadium of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Fleming, who was promoted to Triple-A Durham of the International League on Aug. 13, was named the MVP of the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits of the Southern League. Fleming made 21 appearances on the mound for Montgomery during the recently completed 2019 minor league season.
In his first season at the Double-A level, Fleming, who is a left-hander and was a fifth-round selection and the 139th overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft by the Rays, posted an 11-4 record and a 3.31 ERA with the Biscuits. In 21 appearances and 17 starts, he tossed 127.2 innings and allowed just 47 earned runs. In those 127.2 innings of work, he recorded 92 strikeouts and walked just 19 opposing hitters and tossed back-to-back nine-inning complete games for the Biscuits in late July that earned the 23-year old the Southern League Pitcher of the Week honor.
At the Double-A level, Fleming was a mid-season All-Star for Montgomery and was tied for first among Southern League leaders in wins and winning percentage, ranked fifth in ERA, fourth in WHIP (1.14) and sixth in innings pitched. He won his third start against joining the Triple-A Durham Bulls and his 12 total wins on the 2019 season tied for third in the Rays organization and was one shy of the co-leaders.
After his promotion to Durham, Fleming went 1-3 with a 5.14 ERA as he made four appearances and three starts. In 21 innings of work, Fleming allowed 12 earned runs, walked eight and struck out 16.
For the 2019 season at both the Double and Triple-A levels, Fleming went a combined 12-7 with a 3.57 ERA. He made 25 appearances, including 20 starts and tossed three complete games and one shutout. In 148.2 innings of work over two teams, Fleming allowed 151 hits, 70 runs, 59 earned runs, walked 27 and recorded 108 strikeouts. On the year, he had a combined WHIP of 1.20 and opposing hitters hit .263 against him.
Since beginning his professional career with Princeton (W.Va.) in the Appalachian League in the summer of 2017, Fleming has posted a 22-13 record and a 3.40 ERA in 56 appearances and 46 starts for five different teams. In his professional career, he has tossed four complete games, one shutout and in 294 career innings, he has recorded 214 strikeouts and walked just 53.
After pitching in 12 games at the Rookie-level with Princeton, Fleming, who was named the D3Baseball.com Pitcher of the Year in 2017, began the 2018 season with Bowling Green (Ky.) in the Class-A Midwest League, before being promoted to High A Port Charlotte (Fla.) in the Florida State League. In 2018, Fleming went a combined 9-4 with a 2.53 ERA at the Single-A level and then opened the 2019 season at Double-A Montgomery, before his mid-August promotion to Triple-A Durham.
STORY COURTESY OF WEBSTER UNIVERSITY SPORTS INFORMATION