Second baseman Melvin Mercedes has been selected as the Atlantic League’s top defensive player, it was announced today by league officials.
Voting was conducted by the league immediately following the conclusion of the regular season with each of the 10 member clubs submitting one ballot.
Mercedes, 30, spent his third season with the Barnstormers, but it is the first time he has gone through the year without a significant injury. A former utility player in the Oakland system, Mercedes found a home at second base. He appeared in 112 games at second base with only 13 errors and a fielding percentage of .975.
In addition to the steady play in the field, Mercedes displayed tremendous range in both directions, an ability to go deep in the outfield after pop flies and creativity in the field. His defense played an integral role in the Barnstormers 2022 title run.
“Melvin is a player who takes his defense very seriously,” said manager Ross Peeples. “He’s always asking for ground balls. He does a lot of things well at second, and, obviously you can move him around the field as well.”
Late in the season, he was moved to center field on occasion and played flawlessly in the outfield as well. He made the final two plays in center as the Barnstormers clinched the North Division title on Sunday.
He is the first Barnstormer to win the award since its inception in 2015.