Rutschman, Stowers and Rodriguez at Camden Yards for awards tonight

The Orioles announced their minor league award winners on Sunday. Tonight they will be honored before the game at Camden Yards.

Catcher Adley Rutschman and outfielder Kyle Stowers were named co-winners of the Brooks Robinson Player of the Year Award. Rutschman has hit .286/.399/.513/.912 between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk with 25 doubles, two triples, 23 homers and 75 RBIs. Stowers hit .283/.387/.526/.914 with 23 doubles, a triple, 27 homers and 84 RBIs between three teams, starting at high Single-A Aberdeen and moving to Bowie and then Norfolk.

Grayson Rodriguez won the Jim Palmer Award as Pitcher of the Year, going 9-1 with a 2.36 ERA over two levels. Over 103 regular season innings between high Single-A Aberdeen and Bowie, he allowed 58 hits, including 10 homers, with 27 walks, 161 strikeouts, a .159 batting average against and 0.83 WHIP.

Bowie manager Buck Britton won the Cal Ripken Sr. Player Development Award. And Brandon Verley won the Jim Russo Scout of the Year award.

Rodriguez talked about his strong year culminating in his award.

Rodriguez-Throws-Front-White-Bowie-Sidebar.jpg“You know I was extremely excited,” he said. “Obviously, anything with Jim Palmer’s name on it is a pretty high achievement. Being able to share that award in 2019 with Mike Baumann was pretty special. Especially after my first full season. And this year again, you know getting the award alone, that’s really special to me.

“I wish (the season) it would have ended a little better in terms of winning games and stuff. But I think everything was right on track. Even better than we could have asked for.”

A reporter reminded Rodriguez that the next time he is here could be for his big league debut.

“You know that’s special,” he said. “Obviously, the dream is to pitch in Camden Yards. It’s been like that ever since I was drafted by the Orioles, and that’s pretty special to think about.”

Does he feel about ready?

“If you ask me, absolutely. Obviously, that’s not my choice or my decision. But yeah, I’ve been ready,” said Rodriguez.

Stowers talked about his big year and sharing the Player of the Year award with a teammate.

“It means a lot,” Stowers said. “Obviously, any validation of the work you put in is super special. To win alongside Adley, who is one of my best friends and someone I love playing the game with, that makes it even more special.”

Stowers led the O’s farm in homers while moving up twice.

“Obviously, I have a high belief in myself as a player and what I’m capable of doing on the field,” he said. “But, you know, that being said, wasn’t necessarily expecting anything in terms of moving up. It’s been fun to kind of to experience different coaches, different levels, different players. And then having good friends at each level has been a lot of fun. There is a special group of people in this organization, and everywhere you go, you are able to fit right in, get comfortable, and it’s made an easier transition onto the field.”

Rutschman also talked about sharing the award with Stowers, and maybe joining him next year in the lineup at Oriole Park.

“It’s really special. Kyle and I are super close,” Rutschman said. “And, having the opportunity to play with him this year again, for the first time since 2019, it’s a blessing. We’ve had a lot of fun this year and it’s great to be able to share this with him.

“It would be awesome (to play with him here). You can’t really draw it up any better than playing with your good friends and having good people around you as you’re playing, it just makes the whole experience so much more fun and enjoyable.”

Rutschman was asked about the strengths of the O’s farm in 2021.

“I think the most noticeable thing for me has been one, the people and two, just the mindset that the whole organization has toward player development,” he said. “And that comes with just the process-oriented mindset that everyone has here. I really appreciate that because I feel like guys don’t get the sense of everything being such a failure. They see it as a learning opportunity. Making that switch in their mind has been huge and I think guys have really appreciated that about the staff. We have a phenomenal group of people here and I think the guys in our organization here have tremendous character, and so does everyone in the front office and the coaching staff and everyone in development. Just great people.”

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