Toronto native Jordan Castaldo left little doubt who was the best player in the Intercounty Baseball League this season.
Which is why it comes as no surprise on Tuesday the Barrie Baycats first baseman was named the Rawlings IBL Most Valuable Player of the Year for 2019.
Castaldo, who lead Barrie to a sixth-straight Dominico Cup title and became the first player in the Baycats 18-year history to earn the IBL’s Triple Crown, dominated voting with 35 first-place votes. The Toronto native completed the rare Triple Crown by leading the league in batting average (.453), home runs (15) and runs batted in (47) over 37 regular season games.
Castaldo, who spent three years at Connors State College in Oklahoma before going to Arkansas State University for his junior and senior seasons, set career marks in all three hitting categories.
The 10-year veteran, who was one of four Baycats named to the IBL’s first all-star team, gave all those that helped him en route to his Triple Crown a shout out on his Instagram before the playoffs back in early August.
“It wasn’t a goal, it wasn’t intentional,” Castaldo wrote. “It just happened and I appreciate all of you that grinded it out with me.
The Toronto Maple Leafs ball club just missed out on having one its players named the IBL Rookie of the Year for a third-straight year. Despite having superior hitting numbers, outfielder Ryan Santos finished runner up to Welland Jack first base man Brendon Dadson .
Dadson, who edged out Santos by just three votes, finished with a .321 batting average and had a homer to go along with 19 RBI’s.
Santos, who was named to the IBL’s second all-star team, finished second in the league in hitting with a .365 average and led the league with 24 stolen bases in just 29 games.
Santos wasn’t the only Toronto player to be recognized on this day. Catcher Justin Marra, who was the IBL’s MVP last season, and outfielder Marcus Knecht were both named to the first all-star team. Marra and Knecht were among the league-leaders in home runs with eight each. Marra, a former Chicago Cubs prospect, finished with a .289 average, while driving in 28 runs. Knecht, a former Toronto Blue Jays prospect, hit .326 with 27 RBIs and 12 doubles.
The Baycats led the way with five first-team all-stars. Joining Castaldo were Starlin Rodriquez (2B), Kevin Atkinson (3B) and Adrian Salcedo (RHP). Rounding out the first team were SS Yorbis Borroto (Kitchener), DH Sean Reilly, OF Justin Gideon (Hamilton), OF Tanner Nivins (Kitchener), LHP Chris Lazar (Hamilton) and manager Dean Castelli (Hamilton).
The remainder of the second all-star team included DH Ryan Rijo (Barrie), OF Ryan Spataro (Barrie), C Mike Ambrose (London), 2B Josh Garton (Guelph), 3B Angel Villalona (Guelph), SS Wilson Soriano (Welland), OF Brian Burton (Kitchener), OF Ismael Pena (London), RHP Euclides Leyer (Welland), LHP Yoennis Yera (Kitchener), manager Luke Baker (Kitchener) and Dadson.