Royals Minor League Players and Pitchers of the Year

The Royals have named their minor league award winners for 2009. The award winners will be in Kansas City for Futures Night on September 25 when the Royals play Minnesota.

Here are the award recipients: 

OMAHA (AAA)

Left-handed pitcher Lenny DiNardo has been named the Omaha Pitcher of the Year. DiNardo, who will turn 30 on September 19, went 10-5 with a 3.32 ERA and two saves in 29 games (23 starts) for the O-Royals.  A resident of Gainesville, Fla., DiNardo paced the staff in wins, innings (151.2) and strikeouts (127) while limiting opponents to five home runs.  His strikeout total tied for third in the PCL while his ERA ranked fourth.  DiNardo, a 2009 All-PCL team selection, had his contract selected by Kansas City on September 8.

30-year old outfielder Cory Aldridge is the Omaha Player of the Year.  He batted .316 while leading Omaha with 22 home runs and 71 RBI in 98 games.  A resident of Abilene, Texas, Aldridge paced the PCL with 11 home runs in August.  He batted .348 with 22 RBI during the month.

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (AA)

Left-handed reliever Ben Swaggerty, 27, has been named the Northwest Arkansas Pitcher of the Year.  Swaggerty, signed in 2007 as a non-drafted free agent, started the season at Wilmington, going 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA and two saves in 16 appearances.  The Bristol, Tenn., resident was promoted to Northwest Arkansas in June and finished with a 4-1 record, a 4.33 ERA and one save in 26 outings.    

23-year old David Lough of Clinton, Ohio, is the Northwest Arkansas Player of the Year.  Lough began 2009 at Wilmington, where he batted .320 with five home runs and 30 RBI in 65 games.  His success led to a promotion to Double-A Northwest Arkansas, where he batted .331 with nine home runs and 31 RBI in 61 games.  Lough hit safely in his final 11 games as he helped the Naturals reach the playoffs.

WILMINGTON (A-ADVANCED)

Left-handed reliever Brandon Sisk was named Wilmington Pitcher of the Year.  Sisk appeared in 45 games, going 2-3 with a 1.92 ERA and 21 saves in 24 opportunities.  He was sharp during Wilmington’s playoff push, going 15-for-15 in save opportunities in the second half while posting a 1.10 ERA. The 24-year old from Elkhart, Texas, signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2008 after spending parts of two seasons with the Bay Area Toros in the independent Continental Baseball League.

Mike Moustakas, who will turn 21 on September 11, is the Wilmington Player of the Year.  The left-handed hitting Moustakas, selected second overall in the 2007 draft, batted .250 with 16 home runs, 86 RBI and 10 stolen bases while playing in the spacious confines of Wilmington’s Frawley Stadium.  The 86 RBI ranked third in the Carolina League.  The Northridge, Calif., resident and 2008 Burlington Player of the Year earned a Carolina League All-Star nod in June.

BURLINGTON-IA (A)

20-year old Mike Montgomery, the Surprise (Ariz.) Pitcher of the Year in 2008, was named the Burlington Pitcher of the Year in his first full minor league campaign.  The 6-foot-5 lefty, a resident of Mesa, Ariz., went 2-3 with a 2.17 ERA and a .206 opponent batting average in 58.0 innings (12 starts) with the Bees.  Montgomery, Kansas City’s supplemental pick in the 2008 draft, limited opponents to one run or less in 10 of his 12 starts.  He was promoted to Wilmington on July 22, where he went 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA in nine starts. 

Birmingham, Mo., native Nick Van Stratten was named the Burlington Player of the Year. The 24-year old outfielder batted .318 with one home run, 38 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 69 games with the Bees.  He was promoted to Wilmington in July.  The Winnetonka High graduate compiled a .337 (29-for-86) average in August as he helped the Blue Rocks make the playoffs.

IDAHO FALLS (ROOKIE-ADVANCED)

Left-handed pitcher John Lamb is the Idaho Falls Pitcher of the Year.  The 6’3″, 185 lb. lefty from Laguna Hills, Calif., started the year with Burlington (R), where he went 2-2 with a 3.95 ERA in 6 starts.  Lamb was promoted to Idaho Falls on July 22.  He is 3-1 in eight starts for the Chukars, posting a 3.70 ERA.  Lamb earned Pioneer League Pitcher of the Week honors for August 10-16 after recording two wins, including 7.0 shutout innings on August 16.  He fanned 10, a season-high for an Idaho Falls pitcher.

Infielder Deivy Batista, a resident of Santiago in the Dominican Republic, has been named the Idaho Falls Player of the Year.  Batista is currently batting .270, leading the Chukars with 13 home runs and 55 RBI. He started the year with an 11-game hitting streak in which he hit five home runs and drove in 20 runs.  Batista earned Pioneer League Player of the Week honors for June 22-28.

BURLINGTON-NC (ROOKIE)

19-year old right-handed pitcher Greg Billo has been named the Burlington Pitcher of the Year.  He finished with a 2-2 mark and a 1.81 ERA in 13 games (eight starts), recording 51 strikeouts in 54.2 IP.  A native of Orland Park, Ill., Billo allowed just one earned run over his last 30.0 IP.

Outfielder Luis Del Rosario is the Burlington Player of the Year.  The 22-year old from San Cristobal in the Dominican Republic batted .268 with three home runs, 17 RBI and 19 stolen bases in 57 games with Burlington.  Del Rosario finished the year with the Wilmington Blue Rocks.

SURPRISE (ROOKIE)

Claudio Bavera, a 22-year old left-hander from Maturin Monagas, Venezuela, has been named the Surprise Royals Pitcher of the Year.  Bavera, selected in the 33rd round in 2009, was 4-0 with a 0.44 ERA and two saves in 15 appearances with Surprise.  He compiled 21 strikeouts in 20.2 IP.  Bavera was promoted to Burlington (NC), where he made one appearance.

Outfielder Alex Llanos of Caguas, Puerto Rico, has been named the Surprise Royals Player of the Year. Llanos, who will turn 19 on September 21, batted .311 with three home runs, 16 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 31 games for Surprise.  The 2008 sixth-round pick was promoted to Idaho Falls on August 3.

DOMINICAN ROYALS (ROOKIE)

Right-handed pitcher Jonathan Rodriguez is the Dominican Royals Pitcher of the Year. The 20-year old from Santiago in the Dominican went 3-1 with a 0.80 ERA and two saves in 17 outings (4 starts), striking out 36 and walking 15 in 45.0 innings.  Rodriguez completed his third season with the Dominican Royals after signing as a non-drafted free agent on November 17, 2006.

Catcher Rainier Bello, signed by KC as a non-drafted free agent on December 10, 2008, is the Dominican Royals Player of the Year.  Bello, 17, from Bani, Dominican Republic, hit .293 (53-for-181) with eight doubles, 25 RBI and 24 runs scored.

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