Today's honor caps the most decorated season by a single player in Reno's brief history. In August, Cowgill was named PCL Rookie of the Year and joined Aces infielder Cody Ransom on the 2011 All-PCL Team. Baseball America tabbed the University of Kentucky product as the PCL's Best Base Runner, Best Defensive Outfielder and Most Exciting Player. He hit for the cycle on June 7, was twice named PCL Player of the Week and was a starter in the Triple-A All-Star Game. Here at FutureBacks.com, we named him as runner up to Paul Goldschmidt for Minor League Position Player of the Year.
After earning Southern League (AA) All-Star honors in 2010, Cowgill enjoyed a breakout season with the Aces in 2011. Helping lead Reno to its first division title in franchise history, Cowgill batted .354 with 13 homers and 70 RBI for the Aces before having his contract selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks for the first time in his career on July 26. He registered 140 hits with Reno—including 45 extra-base hits—and was successful on 30-of-33 stolen base attempts.
Cowgill went on to bat .239 with a home run, nine RBI and four stolen bases in 36 games for the D-backs after his July promotion. He hit .366/.409/.512 over his final 14 games of the regular season, then helped spark an Arizona victory in Game 4 of the National League Division Series with a pinch-hit, two-out, two-run single in the third inning. Cowgill is currently playing for Bravos de Margarita in the Venezuelan Winter League.
Cowgill's achievement complements an already impressive list of award winners for Reno in the 2011 season. The Aces were awarded five PCL Player of the Week honors (Wily Mo Peña, 2x; Cowgill, 2x; Ransom) and one PCL Pitcher of the Week selection (Wade Miley). Tony Abreu, Cowgill, Ransom and Konrad Schmidt were elected to the PCL mid-season all-star team, while Josh Cuffe was named PCL Strength Coach of the Year and Eric Blanton was named PCL Sports Turf Manager of the Year. Cole Gillespie earned a Rawlings Minor League Gold Glove Award in September.
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