Royals Name Minor League Pitchers and Players of the Year

Kansas City, MO (August 28, 2007) – The Kansas City Royals Director of Player Development J.J. Picollo announced Monday the award winners for each of the club’s eight minor league affiliates. The players will all attend Royals Futures Day at Kauffman Stadium on Sept. 28 where they will be presented with their awards on the field in a pre-game ceremony at 6:45 p.m. During their visit to Kansas City, they will also make a trip to the Negro Leagues Museum at 10 a.m. on the 28th, followed by lunch at George Brett’s on the Plaza. Prior to the award presentations, the players will take part in an autograph session just inside Gate B near the spiral ramp at Kauffman Stadium from 5:15 to 6 p.m. to be followed by a question and answer session from 6 to 6:20 p.m.

OMAHA - (Billy Buckner and Mike Aviles)
Right-handed pitcher Billy Buckner, who turned 24 yesterday, was named the Omaha Pitcher of the Year. The Royals second-round pick in 2004 out of the University of South Carolina began the season at Double-A Wichita making four appearances before being promoted to Omaha. He was 9-7 in 27 games (15 starts) for the O-Royals, posting a 3.78 ERA, which led the staff among pitchers who made at least 10 starts. In 104.2 innings, he walked just 26 and struck out 83. He had his contract purchased by the Royals on Aug. 24 and has made one relief appearance for KC, tossing five innings of one-run baseball on Aug. 26 against the Indians.
26-year old utility man Mike Aviles, who plays third base, shortstop and second base for Omaha, was named Player of the Year. The Manhattan, New York native is hitting .298 (152-for-510) with a 15 home runs and 74 RBI. He leads the O-Royals in hits, triples (six) and runs scored (75). Aviles, the 2003 Arizona Royals Player of the Year, was selected by the Royals in the seventh round of the 2003 draft out of Concordia (N.Y.) College.

WICHITA - (Dusty Hughes and Mike Stodolka)
25-year old left-hander Dusty Hughes, the 2003 Arizona Royals Pitcher of the Year, earned the Wichita pitcher honors in 2007. Hughes is 5-2 with a 3.54 ERA in 23 appearances, including 14 starts, for the Wranglers. His ERA leads the club among pitchers with at least 10 starts. A resident of Horn Lake, Miss., Hughes was selected by the Royals in the 11th round of the 2003 draft out of Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss.
2000 first-round draft choice Mike Stodolka, 25, was selected as the Wichita Player of the Year. The left-handed hitting first baseman is batting .291 (111-for-381) and leads the Wranglers in homers (12), RBI (59) and walks (73). The native of Fontana, Calif., was named a Texas League All-Star this summer after earning a spot on the Cal League team in 2006.
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WILMINGTON - (Rowdy Hardy and Jose Duarte)
24-year old lefty Rowdy Hardy has baffled Carolina League hitters all season on his way to being named Wilmington Pitcher of the Year. The 2007 Carolina League All-Star Game starter is 15-4 with a 2.43 ERA in 25 games (21 starts), pacing the circuit in wins and ranking second in ERA. In 159 innings, the undrafted free agent in 2006 from Austin Peay University has issued just 15 walks while striking out 90.
Outfielder Jose Duarte was named the Wilmington Player of the Year. The speedy right-handed hitter from Venezuela is hitting .287 (134-for-467) with 24 doubles, five triples, 79 runs scored and 33 stolen bases in 42 attempts. Signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2004, the leadoff man was a Carolina League All-Star.

BURLINGTON-IA - (Mario Santiago and Joe Dickerson)
Right-handed pitcher Mario Santiago was awarded the Burlington (Iowa) Pitcher of the Year. The 22-year old Puerto Rican is 5-10 with a 3.77 ERA in 25 games, including 19 starts, for the Bees. The Royals 16th-round selection in 2005 out of Puerto Rico has tossed a team-leading 131.1 innings and allowed opponents to hit just .249 against him.
20-year old Joe Dickerson has been named Burlington Player of the Year, as he leads all regulars with a .289 average and 121 hits. The Royals fourth-round selection in the 2005 draft, the Yorba Linda, Calif., native has stolen 26 bases on the year.

IDAHO FALLS – (Greg Holland and Clint Robinson)
Royals 2007 10th-round draft selection Greg Holland, 21, has been named the Idaho Falls Pitcher of the Year. A closer at Western Carolina University, Holland leads Idaho Falls with a 6-1 record out of the bullpen. The right-hander has made 19 appearances, picking up four saves, and recording a 3.30 ERA.
Clint Robinson, the Royals 25th-round pick in this year’s draft out of Troy University, paces the Pioneer League in RBI (59) and is second in homers (14) and was named Idaho Falls Player of the Year. The 22-year old first baseman and Alabama resident is hitting .338 with 16 doubles and has struck out just 34 times in 216 at bats.

BURGLINGTON-NC – (Anthony Bradley and Wilson Tucker)
The versatile Anthony Bradley was named Burlington (NC) Pitcher of the Year. The 22-year old undrafted free agent out of Florida Atlantic made seven starts and five relief appearances for the B-Royals, recording a 2-2 mark with three saves and a team-best 2.09 ERA. The lefty has allowed just 34 hits in 51.2 innings, striking out 51. He made an appearance for Omaha yesterday, allowing two runs in three innings.
22-year old Wilson Tucker, KC’s 33rd-round selection from Belmont University, is the Burlington Player of the Year. Tucker, an outfielder, is hitting .298, with eight home runs and shares team-high honors with 41 RBI. He was recently sent to Idaho Falls, where he has hit .382 (13-for-34) with six doubles and seven RBI in seven games.

ARIZONA – (Matt Mitchell and David Wood)
Matt Mitchell was named Arizona Royals Pitcher of the Year. The 18-year old was the Royals 14th-round pick in the 2007 draft out of Barstow, Calif. The right-hander is 5-1 with a 1.94 ERA in 13 games, including six starts. In 51 innings, he’s allowed 33 hits, walked 22 and struck out 65.
Undrafted free agent David Wood, 22, was named Arizona Player of the Year. The left-handed hitting first baseman and post-season Arizona League All-Star leads the team in average (.324) and RBI (39) while pacing the league in hits (68) and doubles (17). Wood played baseball at Texas State University prior to being signed by the Royals.
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DOMINICAN – (Giancarlos De La Cruz and Angel Franco)
17-year old Giancarlos De La Cruz was named Dominican Royals Pitcher of the Year. The right-handed hurler is 3-2 with a 1.13 ERA in 12 starts. Signed as a non-drafted free agent in July 2006, De La Cruz resides in San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic.
Shortstop Angel Franco, 17, was named Dominican Royals Player of the Year. Franco, a switch hitter, leads the club with a .282 average and has stolen 14 bases in 21 attempts. The native of Bani, Dominican Republic, signed with the Royals as a non-drafted free agent on Sept. 1, 2006.
For more information, media may contact Royals media relations, (816) 921-8000.

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