Canberra Cavalry manager Michael Collins says Robbie Perkins is one of the top two catchers in Australia and is closing the gap with the national team's incumbent ahead of the World Baseball Classic.
Perkins enjoyed a breakout ABL season, which was rewarded with the Cavalry MVP and Silver Slugger awards at Narrabundah Ballpark on Tuesday night.
Shortstop Scott Kelly was named the Player's Player and Golden Glove, Sean Guinard took home the Pitcher of the Year award and Zech Lemond won the Relief Pitcher of the Year.
Perkins averaged .331 with the bat, hit five homers and drove in 21 runs across a season where Canberra was second for most of it only to just miss out on the play-offs.
Collins said the 22-year-old had also grown as a leader, shouldering a majority of the catching duties this campaign.
Perkins will now not only prepare for the minor season ahead for the Colorado Rockies franchise, but also Australia's WBC push in Japan in March.
Collins said Aussie catcher Allan de San Miguel held the big game experience over Perkins, but the gap between the two had closed.
"He and de San Miguel are the top two catchers in the country and de San's obviously got a bit more experience at higher levels and the international tournament level for Australia," Collins said.
"But between the two of them it's a pretty good couple of catchers to have lead Australia.
"[Perkins] has definitely gotten closer ...Robbie will be more than capable to step into whatever role he has."
While most of the league were recruiting former Major League pitchers, the Cavalry plucked Guinard out of relative obscurity from ACT baseball to become one of the Cavalry starters this season.
While he was born in the USA, the 30-year-old has spent the last seven years living in Canberra, where he's started a young family.
He excelled with an earned run average of 3.21 and had four wins and two losses from his 10 games.
But his contribution went beyond his statistics - Collins said he pitched some invaluable long stints that helped a tired bullpen out when they needed.
"Guinard was outstanding. He had a number of games for us that were just huge in a sense of what the team needed," he said.
"We had a couple of games where we used a lot of pitchers so the staff was pretty tired and worn out and Sean rose to the occasion on his start and really saved us with a couple of big outings.
"Not only helping the team to some wins, but the ability to go long into the ballgames. He was quick and went deep into the games, which really saved the other pitchers."
CANBERRA CAVALRY AWARDS NIGHT
Theo Vassalakis MVP: Robbie Perkins
Player's Player: Scott Kelly
Silver Slugger: Robbie Perkins
Cy Young Pitcher of the Year: Sean Guinard
Relief Pitcher of the Year: Zech Lemond
Golden Glove: Scott Kelly