top of page
  • Writer's pictureSSTN Admin

The Best Rookies of the Spring, The James P. Dawson Award Winners (Part 12, 2010-2014)

by Paul Semendinger

March 29, 2021


Of note – My research for this project took me to the wonderful site Baseball Almanac where I was able to access the list of all the James P. Dawson winners in Yankees history. I also used Baseball-Reference for the players’ statistics.


In 1956, the Yankees began awarding the James P. Dawson Award to the best rookie in Spring Training.

I began to wonder how many of these players went on to successful careers with the Yankees or other teams.

Here I continue my examination of that important award and the players who earned it.

James P. Dawson was a longtime Yankees’ reporter with the New York Times. He served as the Chairman of the New York Chapter of the BBWAA.

It was very difficult to find an image of the award itself and it seems there is no actual trophy. Rather, it seems that the player is given a watch. Here is an auction from 2013 that highlights Johnny James’ watch. This photo shows Masahiro Tanaka being presented with a watch as well. In 2018, Miguel Andujar tweeted this photo of him earning his watch. The cover image on our home page is cropped from this Tweet.


The 2010-2014 Award Winners

2010 – Jon Weber

Jon Weber played 17 years of professional baseball in the minor leagues, the Mexican League, and in independent baseball. He never reached the Major Leagues.

In 2010, for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, he hit .258/0/11 in 47 games. That season was his only one with the Yankees’ organization.

2011 – Manny Banuelos

One of the Yankees’ “Killer B’s” (along with Andrew Brackman and Dellin Betances), Banuelos never made the big club with the Yankees.

In 2015, he was traded from the Yankees to the Atlanta Braves for David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve.

Banuelos pitched in 7 games for the Braves in 2015 and in 16 games for the Chicago White Sox in 2019.

All-Time WAR = -0.5

2012 – David Phelps

There was a time when it seemed that David Phelps pitched in every game for the Yankees. Between 2014 and 2014, he pitched in 87 games (40 starts) as a Yankee going 15-14, 4.21.

He was traded with Martin Prado to the Miami Marlins for Nathan Eovaldi, Garret Jones, and Domingo German.

He has since pitched for the Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, and Philadelphia Phillies.

And he is still around… David Phelps signed with the Toronto Blue Jays in February 2021.

As a big leaguer, David Phelps has appeared in 291 games (65 starts) and has a lifetime record of 34-38, 3.95. He has six saves.

All-Time WAR = 6.2

2013 – Vidal Nuno

In 2013, Nuno appeared in five games for the Yankees. In 2014, he pitched in 17 games making 14 starts. Overall, he went 3-7, 4.78 in New York.

In July 2014, the Yankees traded Nuno to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Brandon McCarthy.

Nuno has since pitched for the Seattle Mariners. Baltimore Orioles, and Tampa Bay Rays. He last pitched in the Major Leagues in 2018.

In 155 games (42 starts), Nuno held a record of 8-21, 4.06.

All-Time WAR = 3.7

2014 – Masahiro Tanaka

A super great Yankee who was a rock of consistency, especially in the post season, for five years.

Masahiro Tanaka was never a superstar, but he was a reliable and steady pitcher for the Yankees from 2014 through 2020. He won between 11 and 14 games every season (not counting the shortened 2020 season). Overall, Masahiro Tanaka went 78-46, 3.74 for the Yankees.

Tanaka returned to Japan for the 2021 season.

All-Time WAR = 17.6


Highest All-Time WAR of Players Highlighted (thus far) In This Series:

Willie Randolph 65.9

Roy White 46.8

Brett Gardner 43.0

Jorge Posada 42.7

Al Leiter 42.5

Don Mattingly 42.4

Jose Rijo 35.0

Alfonso Soriano 28.6

Tom Tresh 22.0

Bob Tewksbury and Hideki Matsui 21.2

Norm Seibern 21.0




dr sem.png

Start Spreading the News is the place for some of the very best analysis and insight focusing primarily on the New York Yankees.

(Please note that we are not affiliated with the Yankees and that the news, perspectives, and ideas are entirely our own.)


Have a question for the Weekly Mailbag?

Click below or e-mail:

SSTN is proudly affiliated with Wilson Sporting Goods! Check out our press release here, and support us by using the affiliate links below:

Scattering the Ashes.jpeg

"Scattering The Ashes has all the feels. Paul Russell Semendinger's debut novel taps into every emotion. You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll reexamine those relationships that give your life meaning." — Don Burke, writer at The New York Post

The Least Among Them.png

"This charming and meticulously researched book will remind you of baseball’s power to change and enrich lives far beyond the diamond."

—Jonathan Eig, New York Times best-selling author of Luckiest Man, Opening Day, and Ali: A Life

From Compton to the Bronx.jpg

"A young man from Compton rises to the highest levels of baseball greatness.

Considered one of the classiest baseball players ever, this is Roy White's story, but it's also the story of a unique period in baseball history when the Yankees fell from grace and regained glory and the country dealt with societal changes in many ways."


We are excited to announce our new sponsorship with FOCO for all officially licensed goods!

FOCO Featured:
carlos rodon bobblehead foco.jpg
bottom of page