American Association Player of the Year, Vinny DiFazio, Re-Signs With SaintsST. PAUL, MN November 23, 2015
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION PLAYER OF THE YEAR, VINNY DIFAZIO, RE-SIGNS WITH SAINTS
ST. PAUL, MN (November 23, 2015) – It didn’t take long for catcher Vinny DiFazio to become a fan favorite. Off the field he was personable, his spot on celebrity impressions were played on the CHS Field videoboard and he became a quote machine for the local media. Oh, and he could play a little baseball. The American Association Player of the Year has re-signed with the Saints and will once again be behind the dish at CHS Field.
The 29-year-old DiFazio was one of the most feared hitters in the league all season. DiFazio put up Triple Crown type numbers finishing the year hitting .361 with 17 homers and 82 RBI. In 321 at bats he scored 70 runs, slugged 19 doubles, two triples, while posting a .467 on base percentage and .592 slugging percentage. DiFazio led the league in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. The Hampton, New Jersey native’s 82 RBI was tied for first, with his teammate Angelo Songco, and tied for the most all-time in a single season in Saints history (also with Songco). DiFazio’s 17 home runs were tied for third in the league.
DiFazio twice went on double-digit hitting streaks over the course of the season, one for 12 games from June 10-23 that included 11 multi-hit games in a row, and another 12 game stretch from July 31-August 12. Perhaps the most impressive stretch for DiFazio came when he was named the Player of the Month for June after hitting .393 with seven home runs and 27 RBI in 22 games. In 89 at bats he scored 20 runs, roped four doubles, one triple, had an on base percentage of .449, a .697 slugging percentage and a 1.146 OPS over that span.
“Vinny had an incredible season,” said Saints Manager George Tsamis. “He came into last season competing for the starting job and ended up being Player of the Year. He is a great leader and definitely a guy you want on your team.”
Behind the plate, DiFazio worked with a Saints pitching staff that was second in the league in ERA, and set a franchise record for lowest ERA in its 23 year history at 3.24, while having four 10 game winners, becoming the second team to accomplish the feat in league history (Sioux City would also wind up with four 10 game winners becoming the third franchise to do it).
During the 2015 season DiFazio could have filled an entire shelf with the accolades he received. Along with the Player of the Year and June Player of the Month honors he was also named to the Post-Season All-Star Team, at catcher, and received the Player of the Week Award for the week of June 15-21.
DiFazio became the first St. Paul Saint to be named American Association Player of the Year and the second in team history to earn the top honors in any league. Third baseman Vince Castaldo was the last Saint to be awarded top individual honors when he was named the Northern League MVP in 1994.
After spending four seasons in the Texas Rangers farm system, DiFazio joined the Saints at the end of the 2014 season after being granted his release by the Grand Prairie AirHogs in the American Association.
DiFazio is the first off-season signing by the Saints.