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Fraley honoured with Helms Award
Heat stars caps off historic 2018 season
04/26/2018 12:00 AM ET
 

After a history making ABL campaign, Perth Heat star and Tampa Bay Rays prospect Jake Fraley has been honoured with the Helms Award for the Most Valuable Player of the 2017/18 ABL season.

Fraley put together one of the most dominant and well-rounded ABL seasons in recent history, as he coupled a league leading 115 total bases with his 61 hits (t-1st in the league). Of those 61 hits, 27 yielded extra bases, as the prodigious talent finished with a triple, 13 doubles (t-4th in the league), and 13 homers (t-3rd in the league)

That power was complemented by blistering speed on the bases, with the lefty stealing 39 bases in 40 games, eclipsing the single-season record set by Canberra's Jon Berti (31 in 46 games during season 2012/13).

Speaking about his time in Perth, Fraley credited Perth's veterans with aiding his development.

"Picking the brains of guys like Luke Hughes, Tim Kennelly and Warwick Saupold who have been around the game for so long was very humbling," Fraley said.

Fraley, 22, had an injury plagued 2017 season, and believes his time in the ABL has made his overall game more well-rounded.

"I took a lot away from the opportunity that the Lord gave me," Fraley said.

"The Lord really knew what he was doing when he had me go through such a tough first year in pro ball with being injured for much of the year. It was great to be able to go out and play all winter long in such a great environment in Perth and league in the ABL."

Heat manager Andy Kyle has come across a multitude of quality players come through the ABL, and believes Fraley is one of the best he's ever seen.

"It's hard to compare Jake to guys from previous generations, but he's up there in the top five guys I've played with or coached," Kyle said.

"There have been guys that have recorded bigger power numbers and a better average, but as far as a game-changer, Fraley is one of the best we've ever had."

"What's even more impressive is he's a true professional. I couldn't tell whether he went 0-for-4 or 4-for-4 after the game, he always remained upbeat and takes everything in his stride."

Helms Award Winners
2010/11: James McOwen (Adelaide Bite)
2011/12: Tim Kennelly (Perth Heat)
2012/13: Adam Buschini (Canberra Cavalry)
2013/14: Ryan Casteel (Melbourne Aces)
2014/15: Aaron Miller (Adelaide Bite)
2015/16: Justin WIlliams (Brisbane Bandits)
2016/17: Aaron Whitefield (Brisbane Bandits)
2017/18: Jake Fraley (Perth Heat)

All six of the ABL's 2017/18 Awards (Rookie of the Year, Gold Glove, Reliever of the Year, Pitcher of the Year, Brett Brothers Batting Champion and Helms Award) were determined by a 3-2-1 vote conducted by each of the 2017/18 ABL Managers.

This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.