Kansas City Royals Announce Minor League Award Winners

MIAMI, FL - JULY 09: Foster Griffin
MIAMI, FL - JULY 09: Foster Griffin /
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Wilmington (A+) Player/Pitcher of the Year

Nicky Lopez

Lopez finished the season with 59 appearances at Northwest Arkansas, but it’s what he accomplished in his 70 games at Wilmington that land him a player of the year honor.

The 22-year-old put together a triple-slash line of .295/.376/.407 during his time in the Carolina League. According to the Royals’ release, Lopez earned a spot on the Carolina League midseason All-Star team, and that’s after being named an Appalachian League postseason All-Star last year.

A 2016 fifth-round pick, Lopez wrapped up his season with a combined 144 hits, 68 runs and 38 RBI. The shortstop had exactly the same number of walks and strikeouts (52). Although, his ratio was much better with Wilmington (23 strikeouts to 16 walks).

Richard Lovelady

Not only is Lovelady the first left-hander to appear on this list, but also he’s the first relief pitcher honored. Like Lopez, Lovelady split his time between Wilmington and Northwest Arkansas in 2017. In fact, Lovelady made exactly 21 appearances and pitched exactly 33 1/3 innings for each team.

While in the Carolina League, the 22-year-old had a 1-0 record and seven saves in eight chances. His ERA stood at a sensational 1.08, while striking out 41 and walking just four. After his promotion to Double-A, Lovelady struggled a bit. He had a 3-2 mark with only three saves in six chances and a 2.16 ERA.

Even still, his overall numbers in 2017 were stupendous. According to the release, his cumulative 1.62 ERA placed him first among Kansas City Royals farm hands with at least 60 innings pitched. Lovelady’s 10 total saves ranked second in the system.