Oct. 12, 2006
Gonzaga alum Nate Gold and former Portland standout Kory Casto each earned 2006 Minor League Player of the Year honors for their respective organizations. Gold received the Texas Rangers' honor after clubbing 34 home runs in Double-A this season, while Casto received the award from the Washington Nationals organization for the second straight season.
Gold was named the Texas Rangers 2006 Tom Grieve Minor League Player of the Year after batting .291 (131-for-450) with 26 doubles, 34 home runs and 103 RBI in 119 games for the Double-A Frisco RoughRiders this season. He ranked second among all minor leaguers with 34 homers, and ninth with 103 RBI. Both 34 homers and 103 RBI established Frisco franchise records. Gold was named a Texas League All-Star after leading the league in home runs and finishing second in RBI and slugging percentage (.582).
The former Gonzaga standout was selected in the 10th round of the 2002 Draft after leading the NCAA with a WCC-record 33 home runs. The native of Centerville, Utah, finished second in the Home Run Challenge at the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., to cap his senior season.
After hitting .290 with 22 home runs and 90 RBI's for Class A Potomac (Va.) to capture the Washington Nationals 2005 Minor League Player of the Year honor, Casto played for Double-A Harrisburg (Pa.) this season and hit .272 with 20 home runs and 80 RBI's. Even more impressive was that Casto made the switch from third base to left field, his original position, and didn't miss a beat, according to assistant general manager Bob Boone.
"I like his bat, his character and his defense," Boone said. "He is a very superior left fielder."
The Nationals were prepared to bring up Casto to the big leagues had they traded Alfonso Soriano before the trade deadline last season, but Soriano remained with the club, while Casto played a full season with Harrisburg. Casto was ranked by Baseball America as the fifth best prospect in the Nationals organization entering the season.