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Royals name 2019 players, pitchers of the year for nine Minor League affiliates

September 25, 2019

KANSAS CITY, MO (September 25, 2019) — The Kansas City Royals have named their Minor League Players and Pitchers of the Year for their respective affiliates. All of the players will be at Kauffman Stadium on Friday, September 27 for Futures Night, where they will take part in a pregame

KANSAS CITY, MO (September 25, 2019) — The Kansas City Royals have named their Minor League Players and Pitchers of the Year for their respective affiliates.

All of the players will be at Kauffman Stadium on Friday, September 27 for Futures Night, where they will take part in a pregame autograph session at 5:30 p.m. inside Gate A, and will be honored in an on-field presentation prior to the Royals game with the Minnesota Twins. On Friday morning, the players will visit patients at The University of Kansas Health System, 4000 Cambridge Street in Kansas City, Kan., from 9:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. On Saturday morning, the players will tour the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum starting at 8:30 a.m. before leading a clinic for preselected youth from 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. at the Urban Youth Academy, in conjunction with the Royals Charities Gloves for Kids program.

OMAHA (AAA)

Infielder Erick Mejia, 24, was named the Omaha Player of the Year in his first season with the Storm Chasers. He hit .271 and led all Royals farmhands with both 83 runs scored and 134 hits. Mejia also led Omaha in games played (128), batting average (.271), total bases (189), doubles (22) and RBI (63), and finished second with 19 stolen bases. He made starts at five different positions, including shortstop (35), second base (29), center field (27), third base (18) and right field (8). He was selected to the Major League roster on September 1 and made his debut on September 5.

Right-handed pitcher Andres Machado, 26, was named the Omaha Pitcher of the Year after posting a career-best 2.89 ERA (24 ER in 74.2 IP) in a team-high 44 relief appearances, and held opponents to a .218 average (61-for-280). He was signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Venezuela in 2010.

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (AA)

Outfielder Khalil Lee, 21, was named Northwest Arkansas Player of the Year, batting .264 (124-for-546) with a .363 on-base percentage in a career-high 129 games. He had a career-high 53 stolen bases, which ranked third in all of minor league baseball, and had on-base streaks of 23 games (May 20-June 15) and 17 games (July 11-30). In his first full season at Double-A, Lee was named a Texas League midseason All-Star, and earned Northwest Arkansas Player of the Month honors in July. He was selected in the third round of the 2016 First-Year Player Draft out of Flint Hill High School in Virginia.

Right-handed pitcher Brady Singer, 23, was named Northwest Arkansas Pitcher of the Year in his first pro season. He went 12-5 with a 2.85 ERA (47 ER in 148.1 IP) in 26 starts across two levels to lead all Royals farmhands in wins, including seven in 16 starts with the Naturals. He allowed three earned runs or fewer in all but three of his Double-A starts, and was especially dominant over his last nine starts of the season, in which he went 5-2 with a 1.96 ERA (12 ER in 55.0 IP). Singer was selected to the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game and was named a Carolina League All-Star with Wilmington for his efforts prior to his promotion to Double-A. He was selected in the first round (18th overall) in the 2018 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Florida.

WILMINGTON (A+) – 2019 Carolina League Champions

Outfielder Brewer Hicklen, 23, was named Wilmington Player of the Year. He ranked among the Carolina League leaders in stolen bases (39, 1st), runs (70, 3rd), triples (7, tied for 3rd), home runs (14, tied for 4th), on-base percentage (.363, 6th), slugging percentage (.427, 6th) and OPS (.790, 6th). Hicklen homered in three consecutive games from August 6-8 and homered twice in the first game of a doubleheader on August 21. The next day, he became the first player in Wilmington history to hit three home runs in a single game, en route to earning league Player of the Week honors. Hicklen was selected in the seventh round of the 2017 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Left-handed pitcher Kris Bubic, 22, was named Wilmington Pitcher of the Year. He went 11-5 and led Royals farmhands with a 2.23 ERA (37 ER in 149.1 IP) and .199 opponents’ average in 26 starts across two levels. His 185 strikeouts led all of minor league baseball, were the most by a Royals farmhand since 2000 and were the second most ever by a Royals left-handed minor league. Bubic’s 185 strikeouts hadn’t been matched in the minors by a southpaw since 2011. Nine of his 26 starts were scoreless, including his one-hit shutout on August 15 vs. Lynchburg, in which he struck out 11 batters for the second straight start. In his previous outing, on August 8 at Fayetteville, he allowed just one run on three hits over 9.0 innings. His last 17 starts came with the Blue Rocks, for which he earned Carolina League postseason All-Star honors. Bubic was also selected to the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game. He started two of Wilmington’s 10 playoff games and posted a 2.13 ERA (3 ER in 12.2 IP) with 19 strikeouts, leading the Blue Rocks to their first Carolina League championship since 1999. He was selected in the first round (40th overall) of the 2018 First-Year Player Draft out of Stanford University.

LEXINGTON (A) – 2019 South Atlantic League Champions

Infielder Jeison Guzman, 20, was named Lexington Player of the Year. He hit .253 (114-for-450) in his first full season above rookie ball with 35 extra-base hits and 15 stolen bases in 121 games, 116 of which came as the starting shortstop. Guzman hit .375 in six postseason games, including a team-high nine hits, two home runs and five RBI en route to winning the South Atlantic League title. He was signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2015 out of the Dominican Republic.

Right-handed pitcher Jon Heasley, 22, was named Lexington Pitcher of the Year. He went 8-5 with a career-best 3.12 ERA (39 ER in 112.2 IP) and 120 strikeouts (9.6 K/9) in 25 appearances (20 starts) with the Legends. His ERA was third best in the South Atlantic League among qualified starters, as was his .222 opponents’ average. Heasley was named a South Atlantic League midseason All-Star and started twice in the postseason, going 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA (3 ER in 12.0 IP) while leading Lexington to its second straight league title. He was a 13th-round pick in the 2018 First-Year Player Draft out of Oklahoma State University.

IDAHO FALLS (R) – 2019 Pioneer League Champions

Catcher Michael Emodi, 23, was named Idaho Falls Player of the Year. He hit .331 (58-for-175) with a .410 on-base percentage and .663 slugging percentage in 45 games for the Chukars. Emodi ranked among the Pioneer League leaders in doubles (18, 4th), extra-base hits (32, 4th), home runs (12, tied for 5th) and RBI (45, tied for 6th). He was named both a midseason and postseason All-Star and started 36 games behind the plate for the Pioneer League champions. He was selected in the 11th round of the 2018 First-Year Player Draft out of Creighton University.

Left-handed pitcher Derrick Adams, 22, was named Idaho Falls Pitcher of the Year. Adams had a 2.54 ERA (13 ER in 46.0 IP) in a team-high-tying 18 relief appearances, and did not allow a home run over 46.0 innings in the hitter-friendly Pioneer League. Adams earned the win in both of Idaho Falls’ series-clinching postseason games, including the deciding Game 3 of the championship series that secured the Chukars’ first title since 2013. He was a 27th-round pick in the 2018 First-Year Player Draft out of Jacksonville State University.

BURLINGTON (R)

Infielder Vinnie Pasquantino, 21, was named Burlington Player of the Year. In his pro debut, Pasquantino led the Appalachian League in home runs (14), extra-base hits (33), total bases (125) and RBI (53), and ranked among the league leaders in slugging percentage (.592, 2nd), OPS (.962, 2nd) and runs (43, tied for 2nd). He hit .294 (62-for-211) with a .371 on-base percentage in 57 games, and was one of four Burlington to earn league postseason All-Star honors. He was selected in the 11th round of the 2019 First-Year Player Draft out of Old Dominion University.

Right-handed pitcher Adrian Alcantara, 20, was named Burlington Pitcher of the Year. Of his 13 appearances this season, 12 came with the Burlington, where he pitched to a 2.47 ERA (14 ER in 51.0 IP) with a .152 opponents’ average (27-for-178) and 57 strikeouts (10.1 K/9). He made 10 starts with Burlington, seven of which he allowed one earned run or fewer, including his first start with Burlington on June 20, in which he pitched 5.0 no-hit innings in a 10-2 win at Bristol. In his first season stateside, Alcantara was one of four Burlington players to be named to the Appalachian League postseason All-Star team. He originally signed as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2017.

SURPRISE (R)

Infielder Jimmy Govern, 22, was named Surprise Player of the Year. In his pro debut, Govern led the Arizona League in on-base percentage (.492) and OPS (1.120) and ranked among the league leaders in doubles (17, tied for 2nd), walks (34, tied for 2nd), batting average (.365, 3rd), extra-base hits (26, tied for 3rd), slugging percentage (.628, 4th), and total bases (98, 4th). The 2019 draftee was named an Arizona League postseason All-Star and was promoted to Omaha (AAA) for six games, where he hit home runs on back-to-back days from September 1-2. He was selected in the 30th round in June out of Eastern Illinois University.

Left-handed pitcher Emilio Marquez, 21, was named Surprise Pitcher of the Year. He made 13 of his 14 appearances with Surprise, in which he went 5-1 with a 2.51 ERA (13 ER in 46.2 IP), .217 opponents’ average (39-for-180) and 63 strikeouts (12.2 K/9), which ranked tied for third in the Arizona League. He had a career-high 10 strikeouts in 4.0 innings on August 16, before being promoted to Lexington for his final start of the season. He was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Venezuela in 2018.

DOMINICAN 1 (R) – 2019 Dominican Summer League Champions

Outfielder Jean Ramirez, 18, was named the Dominican Royals 1 Player of the Year. He hit .329 (53-for-161) with a .395 on-base percentage in 53 games and led the team in hits and RBI (28). Ramirez also stole 29 bases, sixth most in the Dominican Summer League. He played in 10 postseason games, leading Royals 1 to the DSL championship while batting .351 (13-for-37) with a team-high 10 runs and five stolen bases. He was signed as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2018.

Right-handed pitcher Luis De La Rosa, 17, was named the Dominican Royals 1 Pitcher of the Year. He went 2-1 with a 2.33 ERA (10 ER in 38.2 IP), 52 strikeouts (12.1 K/9) and just seven walks (1.6 BB/9) in 12 appearances (11 starts), and did not allow a home run in 38.2 innings. De La Rosa recorded 14.0 consecutive innings from July 5-26, and seven of his 12 outings were scoreless. He also started two games during the team’s title run, allowing just two runs in 6.2 innings. De La Rosa was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2018.

DOMINICAN 2 (R)

Infielder Wilmin Candelario, 18, was named the Dominican Royals 2 Player of the Year. He hit .315 with a .396 on-base percentage and .505 slugging percentage in 49 games, including a team-high-tying 58 hits. He was the team’s primary shortstop, making 47 starts at the position while turning 22 double plays. Candelario also ranked tied for fourth in the Dominican Summer League with eight triples and had 11 stolen bases, one shy of the team lead. He was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2018.

Left-handed pitcher Luis Cepeda, 18, was named the Dominican Royals 2 Pitcher of the Year. He went 5-3 with a 2.37 ERA (13 ER in 49.1 IP) and 61 strikeouts (11.1 K/9) to just six walks (1.1 BB/9) in 12 starts between both Dominican League squads, including seven starts with Royals 2. He started a team-high three games for Royals 1 during their championship run, in which he pitched to a 2.31 ERA (3 ER in 11.2 IP) with 15 strikeouts, including 4.1 scoreless innings in the title-clinching game. Cepeda was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2017.