The Washington Nationals announced the winner of the second annual Phil Rizzo Scout of the Year Award on Thursday. The award is given annually to the Washington Nationals scout who represents the integrity, character and work ethic exemplified by Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo's late father, Phil Rizzo. Jay Robertson, Special Assistant to the President of Baseball Operations and General Manager, is this year's winner, announced by Mike Rizzo.
Robertson enters his 12th season as a member of Washington's scouting staff in 2022. He plays an integral role in the Nationals' professional scouting department, providing detailed analysis and scouting reports that assist in building both the Major League and the Minor League rosters. He is responsible for covering several organizations from the Major League clubs down to the low Minor League levels
"Congratulations to Jay on being the second winner of this special award," said Rizzo. "Jay has been as important as anyone to our success during his tenure. He brings an incredible work ethic and invaluable knowledge of the entire league both at the Major League and Minor League levels. Jay's scouting reports and future projections have played - and continue to play - a vital role in helping our organization sustain its success over the years. Jay embodies everything this award is about and I am very proud to name him this year's winner."
"I'd like to thank Mike Rizzo for selecting me as the winner of this year's Phil Rizzo Scout of the Year Award," said Robertson. "Phil was a legend in the scouting community and I always enjoyed talking about the game we all love while at the ballpark. It's an honor to receive this award and to be a member of the Washington Nationals scouting department. I look forward to all that we will accomplish together in the future."
Prior to joining the Nationals, Robertson spent eight seasons as special assistant to the general manager with the Texas Rangers, working under the leadership of John Hart (2002-05) and Jon Daniels (2006-09). He also enjoyed an 11-year tenure (1990-2001) with Cleveland, culminating with appointment as special assistant to general manager John Hart from 2000-01. He helped Cleveland to six Postseason appearances, including two American League Championships (1995, 1997). Robertson pitched for five seasons in Toronto's organization before coaching and scouting stints with the Phillies and Twins.
Phil Rizzo spent 11 seasons as a senior advisor to his son, Mike. He was named to the position on Dec. 3, 2009, at the time bringing more than 40 years of scouting experience to the organization. Phil joined his son for the second time in their respective careers when he was hired by the Nationals in 2009. The two also worked together for seven seasons (1999-2005) in Arizona, where Phil was a Diamondbacks special assignment scout.
While with the Diamondbacks, Phil Rizzo made the first call and filed the first report on University of Kentucky right hander Brandon Webb, who won the 2006 NL Cy Young Award and represented Arizona in three All-Star Games. In addition to his time with the Nationals and Diamondbacks, Rizzo's 50-year career in baseball included stints as a scout in the Chicago area for the Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Angels, Milwaukee Brewers and New York Yankees. Rizzo is also credited with signing, among others, right-handed pitcher Bob Wickman, left-handed pitcher Bob Kipper, catcher Mike Matheny, infielder Dick Schofield and infielder Mark Loretta.
In May of 2008, Rizzo was one of eight scouts to comprise the inaugural class of the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame.
Phillip "Butch" Rizzo passed away at age 90 on Feb. 1, 2020. Phil led his family with the values of hard work, grit and loyalty. His impact on the Washington Nationals and the professional baseball scouting community will not be forgotten.