SAN DIEGO -- Ideally, you win an award for superior Minor League achievement, then make a name for yourself in the Major Leagues.
John Ely did it backward.
On Thursday, he was named the Dodgers' Branch Rickey Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Outfielder Joc Pederson, ranked No. 4 among the Dodgers' top prospects, was named the Player of the Year.
Ely's selection comes in a rebound year for the right-hander, who was the Pacific Coast League's Pitcher of the Year after going 14-7 with a 3.20 ERA at Triple-A Albuquerque. The ERA is remarkable considering the altitude of Albuquerque, but the 14 wins mean he was left there until a September callup.
Ely, now 26, was something of a sensation during his first trip to the Major Leagues in 2010, going 3-1 in his first five starts as a rotation fill-in. Then he struggled, was sent down and made only three cameo callups in 2011.
He came off the roster and wasn't invited to Major League training camp this year, but used that as motivation to get his game together and return, which he has.
"The way I see it, as long as I was in the Minor Leagues all year, I might as well make the best of it, and I'd say this [award] is making the best of it," he said. "Obviously my goal was to be here and have a season good enough to get back."