Jul 13, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; USA pitcher Christian Binford throws in the 3rd inning during the All Star Futures Game at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Player of the Year: Carlos Peguero – 418 PA, .266/.349/.563
Peguero was having a solid season through the end of July, but he exploded in August, crushing 15 home runs and slugging .806. He finished the year with 30 home runs, the second-highest total in the Pacific Coast League. Peguero did strike out a lot, but when you’re hitting dingers left and right, a team can deal with a few more whiffs.
Pitcher of the Year: Aaron Brooks – 23 GS, 139 IP, 6.3 K/9, 1.6 BB/9, 3.88 ERA
The 24-year old former 11th round pick had yet another successful season in the minor leagues, exhibiting his plus command and an ability to limit baserunners. Even though his major league season didn’t go quite as expected, it’s undeniable that Brooks was very good for the Storm Chasers this season, helping them to a fourth straight division title.
Royals Minor Leaguer of the Year
Christian Binford and Lane Adams (tie)
Adams, as previously mentioned, was great this season, showing a strong overall game with a blend of offense, defense, and speed. He’s shown that he can provide value to the major league roster, and he’s earned his 40-man roster spot.
Binford is an interesting case. He came into the season as roughly the 10th best prospect in the system, and because he didn’t spend too much time at any one affiliate, it was difficult to give him any of the other awards. But the reason he wasn’t at any one level for an extended period of time is what is so impressive. Binford dominated everywhere. He made 22 starts, pitched 140.2 innings with a 2.88 ERA, struck out 8.9 batters per 9 innings, and walked only 1.4 batters per 9.
He had success in the pitcher-friendly Carolina League, and the hitter-friendly Texas League. Binford did all of this without possessing any premium velocity or any legitimately elite pitch. He does have elite command, and the ability to spot a pitch anywhere can be incredibly useful at the minor league level.