The Orioles today announced the winners of their player development and scouting awards for 2010, including INF Joe Mahoney as the club’s top minor league player and LHP Zach Britton as the club’s top minor league pitcher. The winners will be honored before the Orioles’ game against the New York Yankees tonight at Camden Yards.
Mahoney, the Brooks Robinson Minor League Player of the Year, hit .307 with 30 doubles, 18 home runs and 78 RBI in 124 combined games with Single-A Frederick (72 games) and Double-A Bowie (52 games). The 23-year-old first baseman was twice named the Organizational Hitter of the Month (May with Frederick and July with Bowie) and earned two Player of the Week Awards (Carolina League, June 21-27 and Eastern League, July 19-25). Mahoney was a sixth round selection by the Orioles in the 2007 First Year Player Draft out of the University of Richmond.
Britton, the Jim Palmer Minor League Pitcher of the Year, went 10-7 with a 2.70 ERA (153.1IP, 46ER) in 27 combined games (26 starts) between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk. He struck out 124 batters and averaged 2.5 groundouts per fly out with the Tides after posting a better than 3:1 ratio with the Baysox, where he was an Eastern League All-Star. The 22 year-old left-hander was the Organizational Pitcher of the Month in June in addition to earning Eastern League Pitcher of the Week honors (June 21-27). Britton, the Orioles’ third round selection in the 2006 First Year Player Draft, pitched a scoreless inning in this year’s Futures Game.
1B Jacob Julius has been an ideal role model for the Orioles organization and is this year’s recipient of the Elrod Hendricks Minor League Community Service Award. This recognition follows his receipt of the Matt Minker Community Service Award, honoring community service excellence in the Carolina League. Julius spent over 50 hours at various community events in the Frederick area this season, including signing autographs, instructing children at camps and clinics, and entertaining underprivileged youth. The 24-year-old was the Orioles’ 33rd round selection in the 2007 First Year Player Draft.
Kieron Pope was named winner of the Moe Drabowsky Comeback Player of the Year Award after a right femur fracture during spring training caused him to miss the 2009 season. Pope batted .250 with six home runs and 44 RBI in 75 games for Class-A Delmarva following his season debut on May 23. The 23-year old outfielder was selected by the Orioles in the fourth round of the 2005 First Year Player Draft.
Norfolk Tides pitching coach Mike Griffin, who was also named the winner in 2009, became the first repeat winner of the Cal Ripken Sr. Player Development Award, presented to a minor league staff member who exemplifies the qualities of the late Oriole who is regarded as the architect of “The Oriole Way.” Griffin recently completed his second season as pitching coach with the Tides after spending 2008, his first year in the Orioles organization, as the pitching coach at Bowie. Norfolk pitchers had a 4.17 team ERA and several of Griffin’s pitchers were promoted to Baltimore during the season (Jake Arrieta, Chris Tillman, Alfredo Simon).
Amateur scout Rich Morales was presented the Jim Russo Scout of the Year Award, named in honor of the man who spent 33 years in various scouting capacities with the Orioles beginning with their move from St. Louis in 1954. Morales has been a scout with the Orioles since 2006 and was responsible for the selections of RHP Clayton Schrader (10th), CA Riley Hornback (12th) and RHP Jaime Esquivel (28th) in this year’s First Year Player Draft.
The Orioles will also recognize Bowie Baysox’ Head Athletic Trainer Joe Benge, who was named Eastern League Trainer of the Year in his third season with Bowie (10th full season in the organization).