A look at some candidates for the Orioles top minor league awards

The Orioles minor league award winners for 2013 will be announced on Sunday. The Player of the Year receives the Brooks Robinson award while the Pitcher of the Year earns the Jim Palmer award.

The pitcher honor appears to be a two-man race between left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez and right-hander Mike Wright.

Wright, the club’s third-round pick in 2011 out of East Carolina, went 11-3 with a 3.26 ERA for Double-A Bowie over 26 starts and tied for first for the Eastern League ERA crown. In nine starts after the All-Star break, Wright went 4-1 with a 2.29 ERA.

The 23-year-old Wright was really coming on late in the year and he moved to Triple-A Norfolk for the last game of the season. Norfolk needed a win to keep its playoff chances alive and Wright, in his Triple-A debut, pitched 6 2/3 shutout innings.

The 20-year-old Rodriguez went 10-7 with an ERA of 3.41 over 25 starts between Bowie and Single-A Frederick. In 145 innings he gave up 131 hits with 49 walks and 125 strikeouts.

The native of Valencia, Venezuela pitched in the Futures Game this season and had a very strong finish for Bowie. Over his last four starts, Rodriguez went 25 innings allowing just one run on 16 hits with three walks and 26 strikeouts.

There appear to be three strong candidates for minor league Player of the Year.

Bowie’s Caleb Joseph came up one hit short of hitting .300 this year for the Baysox and three RBIs shy of 100. Still Joseph had a huge year batting .299 with 22 homers, 97 RBIs and a .840 OPS.

Joseph finished first in the Eastern League in total bases, second in RBIs and slugging and fourth in average, doubles and homers.

Single-A Frederick’s Michael Ohlman won the Carolina League’s batting title, hitting .313 and winning by one point. The last Key to win the league batting crown was Robbie Widlansky in 2009.

Ohlman also finished third in the league with a .410 on-base percentage and first in slugging at .524, which is also a Frederick single-season record. Over 100 Keys games he had 29 doubles, 13 homers, 53 RBIs and a .934 OPS.

Henry Urrutia had a very strong year between Bowie and Norfolk. Over 81 games, the 26-year-old from Las Tunas, Cuba hit .347 with nine homers and 50 RBIs, along with a .506 slugging percentage and .913 OPS.

Urrutia, who also played in the Futures Game, hit .365 for Bowie and .316 for Norfolk. Of course he also made it to Baltimore this year and and is with the Orioles now as a September callup.

My guess is that Urrutia and Wright are slight favorites for the awards. We’ll find out tomorrow at Camden Yards.

Who do you think should win the Brooks Robinson and Jim Palmer awards?

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