Mullins, Akin, Lowther among O’s minor league award winners

The Orioles have named outfielder Cedric Mullins the 2018 Brooks Robinson Award winner as their minor league Player of the Year. They named left-handers Keegan Akin and Zac Lowther as co-winners of the Jim Palmer Award for minor league Pitcher of the Year.

Mullins-Batting-Bowie-Sidebar.jpgMullins played in 109 games between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk. Over 49 games with Bowie, he batted .313/.362/.512 with 12 doubles, five triples, six home runs, 36 runs and 28 RBIs. He was promoted to Triple-A on June 1 and played in 60 games for the Tides, batting .269/.333/.438 with 17 doubles, three triples, six home runs, 41 runs, 19 RBIs and 12 stolen bases.

Mullins was selected by the Orioles in the 13th round of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft and made his major league debut Aug. 10. He became the first player in Orioles history to record three hits in his debut. He recorded five doubles in his first nine games, becoming the first Orioles player to do so since 2002. Over 29 Orioles games, he’s hit .240/.319/.394 with seven doubles, three home runs, 17 runs scored and six RBIs.

Akin went 14-7 with a 3.27 ERA and a career-high 142 strikeouts and 14 quality starts for Double-A Bowie. He was named the 2018 Eastern League Pitcher of the Year. Akin led the league in wins, strikeouts, batting average against (.225) and strikeouts per nine innings (9.28), and finished third in ERA. In 11 road starts, he went 9-1 with a 2.58 ERA. He held left-handed batters to a .211 average and righty batters to .232. Akin struck out a career-high 12 batters on May 1 at Erie, and had two games with double-digit strikeouts. He was selected as both a mid-season and postseason Eastern League All-Star.

Lowther pitched to a combined 8-4 record with a 2.18 ERA with 151 strikeouts in 22 starts (23 games) between Single-A Delmarva and Single A-Frederick. His 151 strikeouts led all Orioles minor leaguers. He started the season with the Shorebirds, going 3-1 with a 1.16 ERA and was named the Orioles minor league Pitcher of the Month in April. He was promoted to Frederick on May 4 and made 16 starts (17 appearances) for the Keys, going 5-3 with a 2.53 ERA and 100 strikeouts. He held left-handed hitters to a .174 combined average between Delmarva and Frederick, including 1-for-27 while with the Shorebirds. Right-handed batters hit .205. Lowther went 2-2 with a 1.86 ERA his last eight starts for the Keys.

Single-A Delmarva outfielder Zach Jarrett has been named this year’s recipient of the Elrod Hendricks Minor League Community Service Award. He helped lead the Shorebirds baseball camps throughout the summer, teaching kids the fundamentals. He also helped with the summer reading program, visiting the library and reading to more than 75 children, while offering tips and advice on how to achieve their goals, manage their time and have fun. Jarrett was an integral part in helping Delmarva win the South Atlantic League Community Service Award. He played in 129 games, batting .277/.342/.437 (139- for-501) with 26 doubles, six triples, 14 home runs, 74 runs and 72 RBIs, and was named both a mid-year and postseason SAL All-Star.

Triple-A Norfolk manager Ron Johnson 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.” Johnson helped develop and send off 12 former Tides players to make their big league debuts. This is Johnson’s second Cal Ripken, Sr. Award, the first coming in 2015. Johnson just completed his seventh season with the Tides and eclipsed the 1,000-game mark as manager of Norfolk in the third-to-last game of the season.

Orioles area scout Rich Morales 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. Morales was the signing scout for three players who made their major league debuts this season in Mullins, catcher Austin Wynns and pitcher Ryan Meisinger.

The Orioles will also recognize their minor league strikeouts leader, right-handed pitcher Dean Kremer. Kremer led all minor league levels of the Orioles organization, striking out 178 batters for three different teams this season. He finished with a record of 10-5 and a 2.88 ERA in 25 starts. After being acquired by Baltimore, he made eight starts for Bowie, going 4-2 with a 2.58 ERA. Kremer is ranked as the Orioles’ No. 16 prospect according to MLB.com.

Additionally, the Orioles will recognize PBATS Gulf Coast League Trainer of the Year Adam Sparks. Sparks completed his first season with the Orioles organization this year, working as the Rookie-level GCL Orioles athletic trainer. He was selected by his peers as the GCL Trainer of the year, awarded by the Professional Baseball Athletics Trainer’s Association.

The winners will be honored in an on-field ceremony Saturday, before the Orioles play the Chicago White Sox, with awards presented by Orioles director of scouting Gary Rajsich, director of minor league operations Kent Qualls and O’s special advisor and community liaison Brooks Robinson.

Finally, a potential future Orioles international target has been declared eligible to be signed today.

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