Minor League Notes: Royals announce awards

The Royals on Thursday named the organization's 2010 award recipients. The Texas League Champion Northwest Arkansas Naturals were well-represented, as expected, with Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Derrick Robinson, John Lamb, and manager Brian Poldberg all collecting hardware.

Mike Moustakas was named as the George Brett Hitter of the Year after hitting a combined .322/.369/.630 with a minor league-best 36 home runs and 124 RBIs between Double-A NW Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha. The George Brett Award caps an impressive run of postseason honors for the 22-year-old slugger, who also collected the Texas League MVP Award and the Joe Bauman Award (recognizing the minor league home run champion), among others.

Eric Hosmer is best-known for his prolific bat, but he is also an outstanding defensive first baseman. He was named as the Frank White Defensive Player of the Year after compiling a .990 fielding percentage in 123 games between Wilmington and NW Arkansas.

Derrick Robinson won the Willie Wilson Baserunner of the Year Award, making him the first repeat winner of the award. The 23-year-old speedster also won the honor in 2008, when he stole 62 bases for the Wilmington Blue Rocks. Robinson celebrated his finest professional season in 2010, hitting a career high .286 for the Naturals while successfully swiping 50 bases in 67 attempts.

John Lamb blazed through the Royals' system in 2010, and he was awarded the organization's Paul Splittorff Pitcher of the Year Award. The 20-year-old southpaw began the season with Low-A Burlington and finished at Double-A NW Arkansas, compiling a 10-7 record with a 2.38 ERA along the way. In 147.2 innings pitched, Lamb held opponents to a paltry .226 average while fanning 159 batters and walking just 45.

Buddy Baumann was named as the recipient of the Mike Sweeney Award, which recognizes the player who best represents the organization both on and off the field. The Royals' press release cited Baumann's extensive community involvement while playing for the Wilmington Blue Rocks in 2010, which included "visiting area schools and hospitals and conducting baseball clinics." On the field, the Missouri State alum bounced back from an injury-shortened 2009 campaign, compiling a 4-2 record and 2.24 ERA. In 100.1 innings pitched, the 23-year-old southpaw fanned 113 batters while walking 36 and holding opponents to a .212 batting average.

Brian Poldberg – the Naturals' manager – guided his team to its first Texas League Championship in 2010. For his efforts, he was named as the organization's Dick Howser Player Development Person of the Year. Under his guidance, the Naturals have won more games than any other team in the Texas League over the last three seasons, and he was named as the league's Manager of the Year following the 2010 season.

Sean Gibbs, an area scout covering eastern Tennessee and Georgia, was named as the organization's 2010 Art Stewart Scout of the Year. Among his notable signings is southpaw Crawford Simmons, who was named earlier this offseason as the 2010 Burlington Royals Pitcher of the Year.

Recent Award Winners:

Award 2008 2009 2010
George Brett (Hitter) Kila Ka'aihue David Lough Mike Moustakas
Frank White (Defensive Player) Jeff Bianchi Salvador Perez Eric Hosmer
Paul Splittorff (Pitcher) Dan Cortes Mike Montgomery John Lamb
Willie Wilson (Baserunner) Derrick Robinson Jarrod Dyson Derrick Robinson
Mike Sweeney (Community) Everett Teaford Clint Robinson Buddy Baumann
Dick Howser (Player Development) Brian Rupp Mark Davis Brian Poldberg
Art Stewart (Scout) Dan Ontiveros Louie Medina Sean Gibbs

Other Notes

  • To clear room on the club's 40-man roster for recent additions Jeff Francoeur and Melky Cabrera, the Royals this week designated for assignment Philip Humber and infielder Lance Zawadzki. Humber, who went 2-1 with a 4.35 ERA in eight games for the Royals in 2010, was claimed on Friday by the Oakland Athletics.

    The Royals originally claimed Zawadzki on outright waivers from the San Diego Padres on November 5. The 25-year-old appeared in 20 games for the Padres in 2010 – his first in the big leagues – hitting .200/.300/.257 in 35 at bats. Originally signed as the Padres' fourth round selection in the 2007 draft, Zawadzki has a career minor league line of .268/.344/.401 with 30 home runs and 187 RBIs in 1452 at bats.

  • The Royals this week also released right-handed pitcher Chris Nicoll. The former third rounder was one of the most promising young pitchers in the Royals' organization after compiling a 3.05 ERA in 26 starts between Low-A and High-A during his full season debut in 2006. Unfortunately, a combination of injuries and a case of the yips derailed his once promising career, and he did not pitch at all in 2010. In all, Nicoll spent five seasons in the Royals' organization, compiling a career record of 23-20 with a 3.83 ERA.

  • Royal Curve Top Stories