O's Jordan Westburg is club's Minor League Player of the Year

You have to have a pretty strong year to beat out Gunnar Henderson for an O's farm award this year, and Jordan Westburg sure had one.

Today he was named the Brooks Robinson Award winner as the Orioles Minor League Player of the Year. Right-hander Ryan Watson won the Jim Palmer Pitcher of the Year award while High-A manager Roberto Mercado was named winner of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Player Development award. Scott Walter is the Jim Russo Scout of the Year.

The winners will be recognized in an on-field ceremony before Tuesday's game with Toronto at Camden Yards. 

Westburg spent time between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk and batted .265/.355/.496 (144-for-544) with 39 doubles, three triples, 27 homers, 96 runs scored, 106 RBIs, 70 walks and 12 stolen bases in 138 games.

He led all O's minor league players in doubles, extra-base hits (69), total bases (270) and RBIs. He also finished second in the organization in hits and home runs. After being promoted to the Tides on June 6, he led the International League with 74 RBIs, tied for the league lead with 25 doubles, while also ranking second in the IL with 46 extra-base hits, 184 total bases and 64 runs scored through the end of the season.

Westburg, 23, is ranked as the No. 77 prospect by MLBPipeline.com and No. 90 via Baseball America.

Watson, 24, was 7-5 with one save and a 3.44 ERA (41 ER/107.1 IP), allowing 89 hits, 45 total runs, 16 home runs, nine hit batters and 29 walks. He got 108 strikeouts while holding opponents to a .223 average (89-for-399) in 27 games (18 starts) between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk.

He was the Orioles Minor League Pitcher of the Month for April. The former free agent signee in the shortened 2020 draft from Auburn finished fourth in the organization in innings, and his ERA ranked second among O's minor leaguers with at least 80 innings pitched.

Mercado wins the award named for Cal Ripken Sr., who is widely regarded as the architect of “The Oriole Way.” The Orioles each year recognize a minor league staff member who exemplifies Ripken’s qualities as an instructor. Mercado enjoyed a successful introduction to professional ball after spending the previous 17 years coaching in the high school ranks in his home state of Connecticut, part of two winters in Australia and New Zealand (Goodwill Series), as well as seven summers in the Cape Cod Baseball League.

He led the IronBirds to their first playoff appearance as a High-A club, and first overall since 2013, after winning the South Atlantic League North first half with a 43-23 record. The team finished with the second-best overall record in the league at 78-54. His Aberdeen club advanced to the SAL Championship Series before falling in a winner-take-all third game to the Bowling Green Hot Rods. Mercado was instrumental in creating a positive culture and learning environment for the many prospects he managed. Twenty-seven total players were promoted to Double-A Bowie under his watch, and 19 of those made their Double-A debuts this season.

Walter was named the scout winner of the Russo 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. Walter has been a key member of the Orioles’ scouting operations since the fall of 2010, patrolling a large portion of California that ranges from Los Angeles to Northern California, as well as northern Nevada. Some of his recent signees includes current big leaguer Kyle Stowers and 2022 Comp A selection Dylan Beavers. 

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