The Orioles today announced the winners of their player development and scouting awards for 2017, including OF AUSTIN HAYS as the club’s top minor league player. The winners will be honored in an on-field ceremony on Saturday, September 23, before the game against the Tampa Bay Rays, with awards presented by Orioles Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations DAN DUQUETTE, Orioles Director of Minor League Operations KENT QUALLS, and Orioles INF JONATHAN SCHOOP. The Orioles recognized LHP ALEX WELLS as the top minor league pitcher during the club’s last homestand.
OF AUSTIN HAYS, the Brooks Robinson Minor League Player of the Year, played in 128 games between Double-A Bowie and Class A-Advanced Frederick. Over 64 games with Frederick, he batted .328/.364/.592 (86-for-262) with 15 doubles, three triples, 16 home runs, 42 runs, and 41 RBI. He led the Keys in hitting and finished second in home runs. He was named the Carolina League Player of the Week three times while with Frederick and was also named a Carolina League Mid-Season All-Star. He was named Orioles Minor League Player of the Month for June after batting .373/.469/.664 (41-for-110) with eight doubles, eight home runs, 15 runs, and 22 RBI in 26 games. Hays was ranked as the number 98 prospect in Baseball America’s Midseason Top 100 Prospect ranking. He was promoted to Double-A Bowie on June 22 and played in 64 games for the Baysox, batting .330/.367/.594 (86-for-261) with 17 doubles, two triples, 16 home runs, 39 runs, and 54 RBI. His 32 combined home runs were tied for second-most in all of Minor League Baseball, his 172 hits were sixth-most, and his 95 RBI ninth-most. He was named to Baseball America’s Double-A All-Star team and was also a Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year Award finalist. MLBPipeline.com named him one of three outfield prospects on their 2017 Prospect Team of the Year. Hays was selected by the Orioles in the third round (No. 91 overall) of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft. He made his Orioles debut on September 7, 2017 vs. New York-AL. He was the first member of the 2016 draft class to make his Major League debut. Over 11 games with the Orioles this season, Hays has batted .259/.286/.444 (7-for-27) with two doubles, a home run, two runs scored, and five RBI.
LHP ALEX WELLS was previously announced as the Orioles Jim Palmer Minor League Pitcher of the Year. He went 11-5 with a 2.38 ERA (37 ER/140.0 IP) and a career-high 113 strikeouts, 17 Quality Starts, and 25 starts for Class-A Delmarva this season. He led the South Atlantic League in ERA and WHIP (0.91), and was tied for second in wins. He was selected as both the SAL Player of the Month and the Orioles Minor League Pitcher of the Month for July. He was also named a South Atlantic League (SAL) Mid-Season All-Star with the Shorebirds.
C AUSTIN WYNNS has been named this year’s recipient of the Elrod Hendricks Minor League Community Service Award. Wynns participated as an instructor for multiple youth baseball camps throughout the season, helping teach kids the fundamentals of hitting and fielding. He served as one of the main speakers for a Baysox community event that gave fans the opportunity to interact with players. When he was not in the lineup, he voluntarily served as the catcher for many ceremonial first pitches. He was a regular on the video board, participating in team promotions and videos for the fans. He also regularly signed autographs and took pictures with fans before Baysox games. Wynns played in 105 games for Bowie, hitting .281/.377/.419 (104-for-370) with 19 doubles, one triple, 10 home runs, 54 runs, and 46 RBI. He was selected by the Orioles in the 10th round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of Fresno State University.
Double-A Bowie Hitting Coach BUTCH DAVIS has been named the winner of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Player Development Award, named for the late Orioles coach and manager who is widely regarded as the architect of “The Oriole Way.” Each year, a minor league staff member who exemplifies Ripken’s qualities as an instructor is recognized with the award. Davis helped lead Bowie to an Eastern League best .283 batting average, while also helping the Baysox lead the league in hits (1,361), runs (697), and RBI (661), and finish second in home runs (143). Under Davis’ guidance, INF/OF GARABEZ ROSA took home Eastern League MVP honors, while leading the league in hitting, and OF DJ STEWART reached base safely in 44-straight games to close out the regular season, while also posting a 20 home run/20 stolen base season, and being named a Baseball America Double-A All-Star. Davis completed his first season as Double-A Bowie’s hitting coach after returning to the Orioles organization for his 21st season with the franchise. He began his professional baseball coaching career with the Orioles in 1995, serving as a coach for the Triple-A affiliate. He has been a coach in the Orioles organization for all but two years of his 23-year coaching career, serving also as First Base Coach for the Minnesota Twins from 2015-16.
East Coast Scouting Supervisor KIRK FREDRIKSSON will receive 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. Fredriksson moved into his role as a scouting supervisor at the beginning of last season, after being an area scout for the Orioles since joining the organization in 2013. In his first year as a scout for the Orioles, Fredriksson signed INF/OF TREY MANCINI. Recent draft signings under his supervision include 2017 Brooks Robinson Minor League Player of the Year OF AUSTIN HAYS, as well as 2017 first round pick LHP DL HALL and 2017 third round pick and Orioles Minor League Pitcher of the Month for August RHP MICHAEL BAUMANN.
The Orioles will also recognize Eastern League Most Valuable Player and batting champion INF/OF GARABEZ ROSA, Carolina League Most Valuable Player OF ADEMAR RIFAELA, and Carolina League batting champion INF RYAN MOUNTCASTLE. Rosa, was named MVP after batting .310/.333/.444 (162-for-523) with 24 doubles, two triples, 14 home runs, 75 runs, and 91 RBI in 124 games. He led the league in batting average, hits, and RBI. His 162 hits are the second highest single-season total in franchise history and his 91 RBI are tied for the seventh-most. He was named a Mid-Season and Postseason All-Star. He is the third player in Baysox history to be named Eastern League MVP. Rosa was signed by the Orioles as a non-drafted free agent on November 2, 2006. Rifaela, was named MVP after batting .284/.358/.500 (128-for-450) with 23 doubles, one triple, 24 home runs, 73 runs, and 78 RBI in 126 games. He led the Carolina League in home runs and total bases (225), and finished second in RBI and slugging percentage. He is the second Keys player to be named Carolina League MVP in the franchise’s 29-year history. Rifaela was signed by the Orioles as a non-drafted free agent on March 26, 2013. Mountcastle claimed the Carolina League batting crown after posting a .314 batting average (113-for-360) over 88 games with Class A-Advanced Frederick. He was also named a Mid-Season and Postseason Carolina League All-Star, and the Orioles Minor League Player of the Month for May. Mountcastle was selected by the Orioles in the first round (No. 36 overall) of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft.