Orioles announce 2014 award winners for player development and scouting

The Orioles today announced the winners of their player development and scouting awards for 2014, including infielder Christian Walker as the club’s top minor league player and right-hander Tyler Wilson as the club’s top minor league pitcher. The winners will be honored in an on-field ceremony before tonight’s game against the Cincinnati Reds, with awards presented by Director of Player Development Brian Graham and Director of Minor League Operations Kent Qualls.

Walker, the Brooks Robinson Minor League Player of the Year, hit a combined .288/.357/.489 with 53 extra-base hits, 96 RBI and 73 runs scored in 139 total games with Double-A Bowie (.301/.367/.516 in 95 games) and Triple-A Norfolk (.259/.335/.428 in 44 games), leading all Orioles minor leaguers in home runs (26) and RBI (96) in 2014. Walker, 23, was named the first baseman for the 2014 Eastern League Season Ending All-Star Team, finishing the season among the EL leaders despite being promoted to Triple-A in July, ranking 2nd in RBI (77), 3rd in slugging (.516) and 6th in average (.301). He also was Named EL Player of the Week twice, for the weeks ending April 20 and May 18. Walker was selected by the Orioles in the 4th round of the 2012 First Year Player Draft out of the University of South Carolina.

Wilson, the Jim Palmer Minor League Pitcher of the Year, went a combined 14-8 with a 3.67 ERA in 166.2 innings pitched for Double-A Bowie (10-5, 3.72 ERA in 96.2 IP over 16 starts) and Triple-A Norfolk (4-3, 3.60 ERA in 70.0 IP over 12 starts) this season. He led all Orioles minor leaguers in wins (14) and strikeouts (157) and ranked 7th in ERA (3.67). Wilson was named the Organizational Pitcher of the Month for April, when he went 4-0 with a 2.76 ERA (29.1IP, 9ER) in five starts for the Baysox. He also received EL Pitcher of the Week honors for the week ending April 27. Wilson, 24, was selected by the Orioles in the 10th round of the 2011 First Year Player Draft out of the University of Virginia.

Right-hander Mark Blackmar has been named this year’s recipient of the Elrod Hendricks Minor League Community Service Award. Blackmar, 22, the Orioles’ 16th round pick in 2011 out of Temple University, displayed outstanding dedication to the community while spending his season with the Frederick Keys. He made numerous appearances in the Frederick community on behalf of the Keys, including helping with a camp at the stadium, telling stories to children at multiple library appearances, and mingling with fans at the annual Celtic festival. Blackmar was traded to the Chicago White Sox on August 30 as part of a deal for Alejandro De Aza.

The Delmarva Shorebirds coaching staff of Ryan Minor (manager), Alan Mills (pitching coach), Paco Figueroa (hitting coach), and Shawn McGill (coach) has been named the winner of the Cal Ripken Sr. Player Development Award, presented to a minor league staff member(s) who exemplifies the qualities of the late Oriole who is regarded as the architect of “The Oriole Way.” The Shorebirds staff earned the award due to multiple player development successes, including producing seven league All-Stars; coaching the league batting champion (Chance Sisco); overseeing a pitching staff that led all of the minor leagues in ERA in the month of May; and the progress and promotions of players like Steven Brault, Drew Dosch, Hunter Harvey, Mitch Horacek, Trey Mancini, Jimmy Yacabonis and Mike Yastrzemski.

Midwest Supervisor Jim Richardson 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. Richardson has been an Orioles scout for 10 drafts, having started with the organization in 2004. His draft signings for the Orioles as an area scout or supervisor include current Orioles Zach Britton and Kevin Gausman and minor leaguers Parker Bridwell, Buck Britton, Dylan Bundy, Bobby Bundy, Tanner Scott and Ashur Tolliver. Orioles Director of Scouting Gary Rajsich will present the award.

The Orioles will also recognize Sisco for winning the 2014 South Atlantic League batting crown. Sisco, 19, batted .340 (145-426) and also led the SAL in on-base percentage (.406). He was selected by the Orioles in the 2nd round of the 2013 draft.

Additionally, Bowie Baysox Head Groundskeeper Matt Parrott will be honored for winning the 2014 Eastern League Diamond Pro Sports Field Manager of the Year Award. Parrott also won the award in 2011 and just completed his 12th season with the Baysox. Orioles Head Groundskeeper Nicole McFadyen will present Parrott with his award.