Byron Buxton, Andrew Albers earn Twins' top minor league awards
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MINNEAPOLIS - With the Twins season ending Sunday, fans turned their eyes to the future. Byron Buxton, perhaps the top prospect in baseball, earned the Sherry Robertson Award for best minor league player, the Twins announced Sunday. Left-handed starter Andrew Albers also received the Jim Rantz Award for minor league pitcher of the year.
This isn't the first hardware Buxton has earned this offseason, as he also reeled in Baseball America's Player of the Year honor. Drafted No. 2 overall in 2012, Buxton is the consensus top prospect in the Twins system.
Buxton hit .334/.424/.520 between Low-A Cedar Rapids and High-A Fort Myers, with 76 walks, 55 stolen bases, and a minor league-high 18 triples. He could open 2013 at Double-A New Britain, with a very real chance to crack the major league lineup with the following calendar year.
In some ways, Albers is the antithesis of Buxton as a prospect. While Buxton has been among the youngest player at every level he's played, the 27-year-old Albers was discovered by the Twins when the club signed him as an Independent Leaguer.
He has produced at every level since, although he's never been billed as the top prospect Buxton looks to be.
Before his call-up to the major league club, Albers had gone 11-5 at Triple-A Rochester, with a 2.86 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 7.9 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched. Albers was also selected to the Triple-A All Star game, which was held in mid-July in Reno, Nev. Albers tossed one inning, giving up an earned run while striking out Rangers farmhand Joey Butler.
Albers held his own in his big league stint, which included back-to-back scoreless outings (spanning 17 1/3 innings) to begin his career. Albers finished the season 2-5 with a 4.05 ERA, 3.8 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched, and a WHIP of 1.18 in the Majors.
Both players will be honored at the ninth annual Diamond Awards, which will be held at Target Field on January 23.
Here's a list of the last five winners of each award:
Minor League Player of the Year
2012- Oswaldo Arcia
2011- Brian Dozier
2010- Joe Benson
2009- Ben Revere
Minor League Pitcher of the Year
2012 - B.J. Hermsen
2011 - Liam Hendriks
2010 - Kyle Gibson
2009 - David Bromberg
2008 - Anthony Slama