Vote for the Player and Pitcher of the Month

Royals Corner has identified six pitchers and six position players who turned in the finest performances last month in the Royals' minor league system. Readers can vote this weekend for June's Pitcher and Player of the month on the Royals Corner message board. Last month, Omaha first baseman Kila Ka'aihue and reliever Chris Hayes received the top honors for May. Below are June's top candidates.

Among the pitchers, three relievers and three starters stood out. Wilmington starter Mario Santiago began turning his season around in June, going 2-3 with a 2.87 ERA. In 31.1 innings pitched, Santiago struck out 27 batters while walking just four and allowing 28 hits. Not to be outdone, rotation mate Rowdy Hardy found his groove as well. The submariner went 2-0 on the month with a stellar 0.67 ERA, striking out 22 batters in 27 innings pitched.

Burlington (IA) southpaw Mike Montgomery is the final starting candidate. In his first full month in the Midwest League, Montgomery went 1-0 with a 1.37 ERA for the Bees, striking out 23 batters in 26.1 innings while allowing just 15 hits and five walks. Opponents hit just .167 against him in June.

The three relief candidates all spent time with the Blue Rocks in June. Ben Swaggerty began the month in Wilmington before being promoted to NW Arkansas. Between the two levels, the lefty went 1-0 with three saves and a 1.37 ERA, striking out 18 batters in 13.1 innings pitched. Fellow southpaw Brandon Sisk was also dominant, striking out 18 batters in 11.1 innings while walking just a single batter and allowing just six hits. He too was 1-0 with three saves on the month.

The final pitching candidate is Wilmington reliever Juan Abreu. The young right-hander made nine appearances on the month without allowing an earned run, going 2-0 with five saves while surrendering just one hit and striking out 13 batters. Despite walking eight hitters, opponents batted just .030 against Abreu last month.

Among the position player candidates, four of the six finished June with the NW Arkansas Naturals. Shortstop Jeff Bianchi earned a promotion from Wilmington during the month, and he hit .369/.419/.524 between the two levels with five doubles, a triple, two home runs, and 15 RBIs. Also promoted to Double-A during the month was outfielder Jarrod Dyson. The speedster moved up from Burlington, and he finished June hitting .344/.385/.389 with 16 runs scored and 12 stolen bases.

Naturals second baseman Kurt Mertins continued his strong campaign, hitting .306/.376/.388 with eight doubles and 12 RBIs. Mertins began the month on an incredible streak of eight straight multi-hit games.

Perhaps nobody, however, was hotter than Naturals outfielder Jordan Parraz. Parraz continued his assault on the Texas League in June, hitting .407/.473/.704 with seven doubles, five homers, and 16 RBIs.

Elsewhere in the system, Omaha outfielder Scott Thorman also put up an outstanding month. Thorman powered the O-Royals' offense by slamming seven home runs and knocking in 18 runs while hitting .360/.429/.600.

The final position player candidate is Burlington outfielder and Hot List regular Nick Van Stratten. The Kansas City native continued to pace the Bees' offense by hitting .302/.402/.384 with five extra base hits, eight RBIs, 16 runs scored, and six stolen bases.

To vote for the Pitcher and Player of the Month, click here (Player) and here (Pitcher). The winners will be announced on Monday, July 6, when the next Hot List is published.

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