A Look at the Baltimore Orioles' 2016 Minor League Award Winners

On Friday, the Baltimore Orioles announced their 2016 Minor League Awards, which included both the Brooks Robinson Minor League Player of the Year and the Jim Palmer Minor League Pitcher of the Year awards. The list of award winners includes catchers Chance Sisco and Yermin Mercedes, reliever Donnie Hart, infielder Drew Dosch and medical coordinator Dave Walker.

C Chance Sisco in the Eastern League ASG
 Photo: Patrick Cavey

The award winners are chosen by the Orioles player development department and they were announced via press release on Friday.

Sisco, the Brooks Robinson Minor League Player of the Year, played in 116 games between AAA Norfolk and AA Bowie. Over 112 games with the Baysox, he batted .320/.406/.422 with 28 doubles, one triple, four home runs, 44 RBI, and 53 runs scored. He led the club in doubles (28), finished second on the team in hits (131), and ranked third in total bases (173).

A Baseball America Double-A Classification All-Star, Sisco led the Eastern League with a .406 on-base percentage and ranked fourth with a .320 batting average. He was named an Eastern League Mid-Season and Post-season All-Star with the Baysox and was also selected to Baseball America's All-Prospect Team for April. Sisco was rated by Baseball America as having the best strike-zone judgment in the Eastern League and went 1-for-2 with a solo home run as a member of the United States team in the 2016 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.

I have no problem at all with Sisco getting this award. He had a tremendous year, and continues to prove he is one of, if not the best prospect in the O's organization. There were a couple of other players in my eyes that could have very well earned this honor as well in first baseman Aderlin Rodriguez or Mercedes.

Mercedes claimed the South Atlantic League batting crown after posting a .353 batting average over 91 games with Low-A Delmarva. He was also named a Mid-Season and Post-season South Atlantic League All-Star, the South Atlantic League Player of the Month for July, and was twice named a South Atlantic League Player of the Week (April 18-24 and June 13-19).

Hart, the Jim Palmer Minor League Pitcher of the Year, went 3-1 with a 2.72 ERA (14 ER/46.1 IP), four saves, and a career-high 50 strikeouts over 40 games with Double-A Bowie this season. Hart posted a 1.036 WHIP with the Baysox, walking just seven batters. He was named an Eastern League Mid-Season All-Star with the Baysox and had his contract selected by the Orioles on July 15.

The race for the Jim Palmer Minor League Pitcher of the Year award was a wide open race, and honestly, I was a little surprised to see Hart get the nod. Not because he wasn't worthy of the award, because he certainly is, but simply because there were some starting pitchers that had strong cases as well, most notably LHP Brian Gonzalez.

One of the awards I always like to highlight is the Elrod Hendricks Minor League Community Service Award because of what it stands for. The minor leagues are hard enough for players, but to be able to go above and beyond in the community while going through the rigorous minor league schedule, really shows you what kind of a player and man the award winner is. This year, infielder Drew Dosch won the award and rightfully so. Dosch was an enthusiastic instructor during three youth baseball camp programs conducted by the Bowie Baysox this season, coaching kids ages 6-14 in hitting and fielding drills. Along with assisting in other community outreach efforts offered by the Baysox, Dosch also could be seen interacting with fans before each Baysox home game, signing autographs, taking pictures, and speaking with children.

Lastly, the Orioles also announced the Cal Ripken Sr. Player Development Award winner, which is presented to a minor league staff member that exemplifies the qualities of Cal Sr, who was the main architect of "The Oriole Way." This year's winner of minor league medical coordinator Dave Walker, A.T.C., C.S.C.S., who just completed his 23rd year in the organization. Walker is responsible for developing and implementing the rehabilitation programs for Orioles minor league and Major League players, including his work with O's right hander Dylan Bundy.

Congratulations to all of the well deserving award winners!


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