Nationals announce 2018 minor league awards

The Washington Nationals named infielder Carter Kieboom their 2018 Minor League Player of the Year, left-handed pitcher Ben Braymer and right-handed pitcher Wil Crowe their 2018 co-Minor League Pitchers of the Year and infielder Jake Noll the winner of the sixth-annual “Bob Boone Award.” Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.

These players will be honored in a ceremony during 2019 Spring Training.

Kieboom, 21, hit .280 with 31 doubles, one triple, 16 home runs, 69 RBI, 58 walks, nine stolen bases and 84 runs scored in 123 games between Single-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg in 2018. He ranked in Washington’s system in runs scored (1st, 84), doubles (2nd, 31), RBI (2nd, 69), hits (3rd, 138), home runs (3rd, 16), walks (3rd, 58), slugging percentage (4th, .444) and OPS (4th, 801). Kieboom finished the season rated as the No. 34 prospect in all of baseball according to MLBPipeline.com and the No. 45 prospect according to Baseball America. Baseball America also cited him as the No. 5 prospect in the Eastern League following the season.

Kieboom began his third professional season in Single-A Potomac, where he was named a Carolina League mid-season All-Star. At the time of his promotion to Double-A Harrisburg on June 21, he ranked among Carolina League hitters in home runs (T3rd, 11), RBI (3rd, 46), hits (3rd, 73) and batting average (7th, .298). For his efforts in the first half of the season, Kieboom was selected to represent the Nationals in the 2018 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.

After joining the Senators, Kieboom picked up right where he left off, hitting .362 (25-for-69) with five doubles, two homers, seven RBI, six walks and 12 runs scored in his first 17 games in the Eastern League. He hit safely in 16 of the 17 contests. At 20-years-old during the season, Kieboom was the second-youngest player in the Eastern League in 2018.

Kieboom was selected in the first round (No. 28 overall) of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft out of Walton High School in Marietta, Ga. He was signed by Nationals scout Eric Robinson.

Braymer, 24, led Washington’s Minor League system with a 2.28 ERA while going 9-3 with two saves in 28 games (11 starts) between Single-A Hagerstown and Single-A Potomac. He struck out 118 batters - third-most in Washington’s system - in 114.2 innings pitched. Opposing batters hit .219 against him, including a .174 average by left-handed batters along the way.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound left-hander opened his first professional season by pitching to a 1.75 ERA (5 ER/25.2 IP) in seven relief appearances with Single-A Hagerstown. He struck out 25 batters while issuing just five walks. He earned South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week honors on April 15.

On May 10, Braymer was promoted to Single-A Potomac, where he made 11 starts in addition to 10 appearances out of the bullpen. In those 11 starts, he went 5-2 with a 2.43 ERA (17 ER/63.0 IP) and 65 strikeouts while holding opposing batters to a .217 average and just two home runs. In his final five starts, he pitched to a 0.96 ERA (3 ER/28.0 IP) with 33 strikeouts and a .146 opponents’ batting average.

Braymer was selected in the 18th round of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft out of Auburn University. He was signed by Nationals scout Eric Robinson.

Crowe, 24, went 11-5 with a 3.40 ERA in 22 games (21 starts) between three levels of Washington’s Minor League system. His 11 wins were tied for the most among Nationals farmhands, while his 3.40 ERA ranked fourth among full-season Nationals Minor Leaguers. He finished the season ranked as the No. 5 prospect in Washington’s Minor League system according to MLBPipeline.com.

The 6-foot-2, 240-pound right-hander began the season 11-0 with a 2.60 ERA through his first 17 games (16 starts) between Single-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg. He was named a Carolina League mid-season All-Star before being promoted to Harrisburg on Aug. 7. Following the season, he was named Carolina League Pitcher of the Year for the entire 2018 season.

Crowe was selected in the second round of the 2017 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of South Carolina. He was signed by Nationals scout Paul Faulk.

Noll, 24, becomes the sixth recipient of the Bob Boone Award, which is granted annually to the Nationals minor leaguer who best demonstrates the professionalism, leadership, loyalty, passion, selflessness, durability, determination and work ethic required to play the game the “Washington Nationals Way.”

Noll hit .291 with 20 doubles, four triples, 11 home runs, 72 RBI, 33 walks, seven stolen bases and 82 runs scored in 132 games between Single-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg. His 72 RBI were the most in Washington’s Minor League system. He was named a Carolina League mid-season All-Star after ranking among league leaders in batting average (5th, .302), RBI (5th, 46) and hits (2nd, 80) during the season’s first half. He was promoted to Harrisburg on June 21 and went on to hit .324 with five doubles, three homers, 16 RBI, seven walks, three stolen bases and 22 runs scored in his first 37 games with the Senators.

Noll was selected in the seventh round of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft out of Florida Gulf Coast University. He was signed by Nationals scout Alex Morales.