Awards Season: New York-Penn and Northwest League honors

New York-Penn League

Hitter of the Year
Neil Medchill / OF / NY Yankees
No one player stood out from the crowd in 2009, but Medchill represented the stabilizing force in a Staten Island lineup that helped the team finish with the second best record in the league. His advanced base running instincts and .551 slugging percentage were too much for the league to handle.

Pitcher of the Year
Jose Alvarez / LHP / Boston Red Sox
Hudson Valley’s Alexander Colome could make a strong case, but Alvarez’s league-leading 1.52 ERA and 0.84 WHIP leave little doubt. The division winning Lowell Spinners would not have been the same without him.

Best Hitting Prospect
Ryan Westmoreland / OF / Boston Red Sox
Boston threw an enormous signing bonus at Westmoreland, and to show his gratitude he has done nothing but impress. Westmoreland brings a little bit of every tool you could possibly want in an outfielder, and his impressive plate discipline has taken me completely by surprise. He is ready for full season ball and may find his way into my off-season Top 100 list.

Best Pitching Prospect
Kyle Lobstein / LHP / Tampa Bay Rays
Lobstein’s short season debut was about as good as could be expected, and averaging a strikeout per inning is an encouraging sign. His potential isn’t through the roof, but his versatile repertoire could add up nicely for a Tampa team flush with starting pitching.

Pioneer League

Hitter of the Year
Ryan Wheeler / 1B / Arizona Diamondbacks
Wheeler was the standout player from last place Yakima’s lineup. He led the league with a .999 OPS and .461 OBP, and finished second in the league in both batting average and slugging percentage. His 37 walks against just 28 strikeouts was the icing on the cake.

Pitcher of the Year
Robbie Ross / LHP / Texas Rangers
In the early part of the season, no pitcher in all of baseball had more eye-popping strikeout numbers. His strikeout rate dwindled late in the year, but his stats stayed true; the most impressive of which is his 17 walks over 74.1 innings, a great feat for a 20-year-old.

Best Hitting Prospect
Brett Jackson / OF / Chicago Cubs
While I may not be a believer in Jackson’s upside, it’s hard to ignore his draft status and 2009 debut stats, as small a sample as it may be. He has a bit of that attractive power/speed combination that every team looks for, and it will be those numbers that carries him up the minor league ladder.

Best Pitching Prospect
Robbie Ross / LHP / Texas Rangers
With Ross we have this year’s first instance of a league’s top prospect putting up the league’s most dominating performance to boot. He doesn’t have the ideal frame but he does have above average velocity and an excellent mix of pitches. His command is tremendous for a player of his age.

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