The award winners will be honored before the Mariners game vs. the Indians at Safeco Field on Sept. 22.
ARLINGTON, Texas — With the minor league regular season now over and only Class A Modesto playing in the postseason, the Mariners and director of player development Andy McKay have announced their 2017 minor league season awards for the top performers in the organization. The official names of the awards were changed last season to reflect former top players that wore Mariners’ uniforms in their career. The winners of the awards will be honored at Safeco Field on Sept. 22 vs. the Indians.
The Ken Griffey Jr. Minor League Hitter of the Year: Ian Miller, OF, (Class AA/Class AAA Tacoma)
Miller, 25, had a breakout 2017, hitting .307 (157 for 512) with a .355 on-base percentage, a .393 slugging percentage, 85 runs scored, 22 doubles, five triples, four home runs, 35 RBIs and 43 stolen bases in 124 games combined between Arkansas and Tacoma. The speedy outfielder set career highs in nearly every offensive category, including runs scored, hits, doubles, home runs, RBI, average, slugging percentage and on-base plus slugging percentage (.748).
He led the Mariners minor league system with 43 stolen bases and is considered the best overall base runner.
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The Jamie Moyer Minor League Pitcher of the Year: Nick Neidert, RHP, (High-A Modesto/AA Arkansas)
Neidert, the Mariners’ top pitching prospect, dominated the Class A Cal League and then predictably struggled after being called up a level to the Class AA Texas League. The 20-year-old right-hander posted an 11-6 record with a 3.45 ERA in 25 combined starts. Neidert started the season with Modesto, posting 10-3 record with a 2.76 ERA in 19 starts before being promoted to Arkansas on July 19. He struck out 109 batters and walked just 17 in 104 1/3 innings pitched.
In six starts with Arkansas, Neidert posted a 1-3 record with a 6.56 ERA. He finished the season on the disabled list with a bone bruise after being hit by a line drive in his start on Aug. 19.
The Alvin Davis “Mr. Mariner Award: Chris Mariscal, INF, (High-A Modesto/AA Arkansas)
Mariscal earned the award “given to the player for exemplary play and leadership skills both on and off the field.” Mariscal played most of the season with Modesto and then played the last two months in Arkansas. He hit .285 (137 for 480) with .771 OPS, 67 runs scored, 16 doubles, eight triples, eight home runs and 63 RBI in 125 combined games.
The Edgar Martinez Productive Team Plate Appearance Award: Jordan Cowan, INF, (High-A Modesto)
The award is given to the player that most embodied the Mariners’ “Control the Zone” philosophy and “instilling a team approach, instead of an individual approach” at the plate. The Kentlake grad earned the honors after reaching base safely in 99 of 120 games with an at-bat. He hit .271 (127 for 468) with .345 on-base percentage, 67 runs scored, 20 doubles, two triples, two home runs, 39 RBI and 18 stolen bases.
The 60 foot, 6 inch Club Award: Ljay Newsome, RHP, (A Clinton)
This is yet another new award for the Mariners and it is the pitching equivalent to the previous award mentioned. It goes to “the best pitcher in the Mariners organization that embodied the Control the Zone philosophy, dominating 0-0 and 1-1 counts and the ability to get back in the count when behind.” Newsome, 20, made 25 starts with Clinton in his first full season in the minor leagues, going 8-9 with a 4.10 ERA. He struck out 111 batters and walked just 16 in 129 2/3 innings pitched. He posted the fourth best WHIP in the Midwest League with a 1.13, while his 1.11 walks per nine innings was best among MWL starters.
The Dan Wilson Minor League Community Service Award: Dimas Ojeda, OF, (A Clinton)
Per the release, Ojeda was “honored for his individual effort in the Clinton community over the course of the season, participating in numerous community events including reading to children at the local library, speaking appearances and autograph sessions.” He batted .248 with 17 doubles, a triple, four homers and 35 RBI in 106 games for the LumberKings.
The Dave Henderson Minor League Staff Member of the Year: Cesar Nicolas, MGR (Dominican Summer League Mariners.
After serving as hitting coach in Clinton last season, Nicolas moved to Boca Chica in the Dominican Republic where the Mariners’ new academy is located. The Mariners said he “has been instrumental in leading the process in getting players signed, accelerating and improving their development and increasing the percentage who achieve the goal of playing in the Majors.” Nicolas has helped implement education-based programs for life beyond baseball. The DSL Mariners went 30-40 and finished 7th in their league this season.