The Atlanta Braves today announced their Minor League Pitchers and Players of the Year, as 14 of the organization's top minor league players have been honored. The organizational Pitcher and Player of the Year Award winners will be announced during an on-field pre-game ceremony prior to tonight's game.
Atlanta Braves Minor League Pitchers and Players of the Year
Gwinnett Braves Pitcher of the Year, RHP Rob Wooten: After signing as a minor-league free agent on January 13, 2016, Wooten spent his first season in the organization with the Gwinnett Braves, making 35 appearances, including six starts, while posting a 3.58 ERA with a 3-5 record. Through his first 24 games with the G-Braves, the right-hander pitched at a 1.80 ERA and struck out 39 batters in 45.0 innings. In that 24-game span, Wooten tallied 19 scoreless appearances while holding opposing batters to a .216 clip, and on June 30th, he teamed with relievers LHP Matt Marksberry and RHP Jose Ramirez to throw a no-hitter against Louisville.
Gwinnett Braves Player of the Year, 3B Rio Ruiz: In his second season in the organization and his fifth professional campaign, Ruiz played his first season at Triple-A Gwinnett batting .271 (126-for-465) with 10 home runs in 133 games. Tabbed by Baseball America as the Braves' 19th-best prospect entering the 2016 season, Ruiz paced the G-Braves with 24 doubles and 62 RBI, with 24 of his RBI coming in his last 27 games of the regular season. The third baseman posted a .974 fielding percentage, committing just seven errors in 268 total chances.
Mississippi Braves Pitcher of the Year, RHP Rob Whalen: Acquired in a late season trade during the 2015 campaign, Whalen pitched at three levels in 2016, including making his Major League debut on August 3 vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates. The right-hander combined to go 8-8 with a 3.11 ERA in 26 starts between Double-A, Triple-A, and the Majors before landing on the disabled list due to right shoulder fatigue on August 25. After making 21 starts in the minors, Whalen had his contract selected by Atlanta on August 3 and made his debut later that evening, earning the 8-4 win. Whalen's 94 strikeouts with Mississippi ranked third on the club and ninth among Braves farm hand pitchers.
Mississippi Braves Player of the Year, OF Dustin Peterson: In his second season in the Atlanta organization and his fourth as a professional, Peterson batted .282 (148-for-524) with 65 runs, 38 doubles, 12 home runs and 88 RBI to earn Southern League Mid-Season and Post-Season All-Star honors. He paced all Atlanta farmhands in RBI (88), and sat second in hits (148) and doubles (38), and was tied for third with 12 home runs. His 38 doubles were tops in the Southern League. Peterson twice earned SL Player of the Week honors, first from 6/13-19, and again from 7/18-24. Labeled by Baseball America as Atlanta's No 22 prospect entering the season, he was acquired by Atlanta from the San Diego Padres in a six-player trade on December 19, 2014.
Carolina Mudcats Pitcher of the Year, RHP Matt Withrow: In his second professional season, Withrow paced Carolina in wins (9) and led all Mudcats starters with a 3.80 ERA (51 ER/120.2 IP). His 131 strikeouts on the season were second most in the Carolina League and fifth most among Braves farmhands. Withrow surrendered three or fewer earned runs in 21 of his 25 appearances on the season, and aside from a 3.0-inning start in which he surrendered 11 runs on 7/23, he pitched to a 3.06 ERA. Selected by Atlanta in the fifth round of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft, he is the brother of current Braves reliever Chris Withrow.
Carolina Mudcats Player of the Year, OF Keith Curcio: A sixth round selection by Atlanta in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, Curcio batted .271 (124-for-458) with 67 runs, 29 doubles, 54 RBI and 24 stolen bases in 124 games, all with Carolina. The outfielder led the Mudcats in runs (67), hits (124), doubles (29), triples (8) and stolen bases (24). His 29 doubles established a new career high and ranked fourth among Atlanta farmhands, while his 24 steals were also fourth. Curcio batted .372 (32-for-86) during the month of July, with 13 runs, 12 extra-base hits, 11 RBI and five steals over 24 games.
Rome Braves Pitcher of the Year, RHP Patrick Weigel: A South Atlantic League Mid-Season All-Star, Weigel finished second in the Atlanta farm system with 11 wins and 152 strikeouts (tied), while leading the Rome staff in wins (10), starters ERA (2.51), shutouts (1) and strikeouts (135). He led all starters in the organization with a 1.042 WHIP on the season, yielding just 101 hits and 55 walks over 149.2 combined innings between Rome and Double-A Mississippi. Weigel won each of his final five starts with the R-Braves, going 5-0 with a 0.85 ERA (3 ER/31.2) prior to a promotion to Mississippi on 8/20, and ended his season with an 11-6 record and a 2.47 ERA (41 ER/149.2 IP) between the two stops.
Rome Braves Player of the Year, 3B Austin Riley: Tabbed by Baseball America as Atlanta's No. 8 prospect entering the season, Riley played his first full professional campaign with Single-A Rome and batted .271 while leading all Atlanta farmhands in home runs (20) and doubles (39), and finishing second in slugging percentage (.479, min. 300 at-bats) and RBI (80). After batting .252 (61-for-242) with three home runs and 26 RBI in 63 games before the All-Star Break, Riley rebounded to hit .289 (73-for-253) with 17 homers, 21 doubles and 54 RBI in 66 games over the season's second half, slugging .581 and reaching base at a .348 clip. He closed his regular season with a career-best 19-game hitting streak (.361, 26-for-72), with 13 extra-base hits and 20 RBI.
Danville Braves Pitcher of the Year, LHP Jhon Martinez: In his fourth professional campaign, Martinez went 4-6 with a 3.21 ERA, and established new career highs in wins (4), starts (12), innings pitched (61.2) and strikeouts (45). He led the Danville starting staff with four victories. Martinez surrendered two earned runs or fewer in 10 of his 12 starts on the season, including six outings in which he allowed one earned run or less.
Danville Braves Player of the Year, 1B Ramon Osuna: Drafted by Atlanta in the 14th round of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft, Osuna spent his first professional campaign with rookie-level Danville and batted .276 (45-for-163) with 16 extra-base hits and 28 RBI in 47 games. He batted .348 (40-for-115) in his first 33 games as a professional, and ended his rookie campaign second on the D-Braves in doubles (12), homers (tied, 4) and RBI (28). Osuna went 13-for-38 (.342) with two outs and runners in scoring position, and batted .311 (38-for-122) against right-handed pitchers on the season.
Gulf Coast League Braves Pitcher of the Year, LHP Kyle Muller: The 44th overall pick in the 2016 First-Year Player Draft, Muller played his first professional season with the Gulf Coast League Braves and went 1-0 with a 0.65 ERA (2 ER/27.2 IP) in 10 games (9 starts). He allowed just 14 hits and 12 walks over 27.2 innings, fanning 38. Both of the earned runs he allowed came in his second professional start, and he did not allow an earned run in his other nine appearances on the season. Muller earned his first professional win in his only relief appearance, tossing 3.0 scoreless innings on 8/22 at the GCL Blue Jays. He did not complete more than 3.0 innings in any of his 10 appearances, but twice fanned a season-best six batters.
Gulf Coast League Braves Player of the Year, C Anthony Concepcion: Concepcion played his first season with the GCL Braves and his second as a professional, and batted .272 (49-for-180) while pacing the GCL Braves in doubles (12), home runs (4) and RBI (36). He drew 22 walks and struck out just 35 times in 53 games, reaching base at a .358 clip. A right-handed batter, he hit .333 (13-for-39) with six extra-base hits against left-handed pitching.
Dominican Summer League Braves Pitcher of the Year, LHP Filyer Sanchez: Sanchez completed his second consecutive season with the DSL Braves and went 3-1 with a 2.01 ERA (10 ER/44.2 IP) in 19 appearances. He paced all DSL Braves relievers with five saves and 44.2 innings of work, while sitting second with a 1.075 WHIP.
Dominican Summer League Player of the Year, OF Raysheandall Michel: Michel opened the season with the DSL Braves and batted .316 (48-for-152) with five doubles, five triples and 19 RBI in 39 games before finishing his season with the GCL Braves. He combined to bat .272 (65-for-239) between the two clubs on the season. Despite an abbreviated stint with the DSL Braves, he paced the club in triples (tied, 5), finished second in hits (48) and tied for third in RBI (19).