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  • Writer's picturePaul Semendinger

The Best Rookies of the Spring, The James P. Dawson Award Winners (Part 7, 2010-2022)

by Paul Semendinger


I originally ran this series a few years ago. As Spring Training dawns, I figured it was worth revisiting again.

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.



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, Philadelphia Phillies, and the Toronto Blue Jays

As a big leaguer, David Phelps has appeared in 367 games (67 starts) and has a lifetime record of 34-40, 3.80. He has six saves.

All-Time WAR = 7.4

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


2015 – Slade Heathcott

It was just 17 games. Just 17, but Slade Heathcott hit .400 for his big league career. A 10-for25 line will result in a .400 batting average. Slade also hit two home runs. His whole Major league career was spent with the Yankees.

After not making it with the Yankees, Slade played in the Chicago White Sox, San Francisco Giants, and Oakland A’s organizations.

All-Time WAR = 0.4

2016 – Johnny Barbato

A right-handed pitcher, Johnny appeared in 13 games for the 2016 Yankees. His 7.62 ERA was the reason his career in New York didn’t last long.

In 2017, Barbato pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 2018, it was the Detroit Tigers.

In 44 games, all in relief, Johnny Barbato pitched to a 1-3, 6.14 record.

All-Time WAR = -0.4

2017 – Gleyber Torres

The sky was the limit for Gleyber Torres, and since he is only 26-years-old, it still is. He has 98 lifetime home runs. He's hit more than 20 homers in a season three times. The 2023 season will be an important one for Torres.

All-Time WAR = 11.5

2018 – Miguel Andujar

In 2018, Miguel Andujar batted .297 with 27 home runs, 9s runs batted in, and 47 doubles.

The sky was the limit, but he then got hurt and Gio Urshela took over third base. Andujar, who was a poor fielder, lost two years of development. He never came back and was recently released from the Pirates organization.

All-Time WAR = 1.4

2019 – Stephen Tarpley

A left-handed pitcher, in 2019, Stephen Tarpley appeared in 21 games for the Yankees. He made one start. He had a 1-0 record, but the 6.93 ERA didn’t impress.

On January 15, 2020, Tarpley was traded in a minor deal with the Miami Marlins.

On January 8, 2021, the Mets picked up Tarpley off the waiver wire.

All-Time WAR = -0.8

2020 – Clarke Schmidt

In 2020, Clarke Schmidt first tasted the big leagues. He pitched in three games, making one start. To date he has an 0-1, 7.11 Major league record.

All winter it seemed that Clarke Schmidt would be in the running for a spot in the starting rotation for the 2021 Yankees.

Spring Training came and in an instant, he was one of the first players shut down with an injury.

He has been an up-and-down pitcher for the Yankees since with 2023 being a huge year for him. Many feel his future is as a relief pitcher.

All-Time WAR = 0.4

2021 – Deivi Garcia

Deivi Garcia won the 2021 award and was a top prospect whose career took a nosedive.

All-Time WAR = 0.1

2022– Clarke Schmidt

The only two-time winner in Yankees history. Clarke Schmidt also won the award in 2020.


Highest All-Time WAR of James P. Dawson Award Winner

  1. Willie Randolph 65.9

  2. Roy White 46.8

  3. Brett Gardner 44.3

  4. Jorge Posada 42.7

  5. Al Leiter 42.5

  6. Don Mattingly 42.4

  7. Jose Rijo 35.0

  8. Alfonso Soriano 28.6

  9. Tom Tresh 22.0

  10. Bob Tewksbury and Hideki Matsui 21.2

  11. Norm Seibern 21.0


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