Northwest Arkansas (AA) Player/Pitcher of the Year
The lone player on the list who wasn’t drafted by the Kansas City Royals, Dewees played in 126 games for the Naturals in 2017. The 23-year-old spent most of his time in center field, featuring in 107 games there, while putting up an impressive .994 fielding percentage.
Dewees finished with exactly one hit per game, while slashing .272/.340/.407. A former second-round pick of the Chicago Cubs, Dewees added 67 runs, 52 RBI and 20 stolen bases to his 39 extra-base hits in his first season in the Royals organization.
According to a Royals’ release, Dewees, who bats and throws left-handed, twice earned Texas League Player of the Week honors.
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Another player who split his time between Wilmington and Springdale, Griffin did enough after his promotion on May 30 to earn pitcher of the year for the Double-A club. His stellar season saw him named a Carolina League All-Star, but more importantly landed Griffin a spot in the Futures Game during All-Star week.
A late-first-round pick in 2014, Griffin threw 161 1/3 innings this season with 104 2/3 coming with Northwest Arkansas. With the Naturals, he put together an 11-5 record, 3.61 ERA and 1.36 WHIP across 18 starts. Understandably, his stats with Wilmington (4-2 mark, 2.86 ERA and1.11 WHIP) were even better.
The 6-foot-3 left-hander is easily one of the brightest pieces in the Kansas City Royals system. According to the release, Griffin’s 15 total wins on the season were the most by a minor leaguer in the organization since Jake Odorizzi had the same number during the 2012 season.