OaklandClubhouse's Minor League Player of the Year
Fan Choice: Addison Russell, Stockton Ports/Sacramento River Cats (110 games, .269/.369/.495 with 17 homers, 60 RBI, 21 stolen bases and 61 walks)
Staff Choice: Max Muncy, Stockton Ports/Midland Rockhounds (140 games, .273/.381/.476 with 25 homers, 100 RBI and 88 walks)
Others Considered: Michael Choice, Sacramento River Cats (132 games, .302/.390/.445 with 14 homers, 89 RBI and 69 walks); Anthony Aliotti, Midland RockHounds/Sacramento River Cats (133 games, .324/.416/.480 with 14 homers, 71 RBI and 81 walks); Chris Bostick, Beloit Snappers (129 games, .282/.354/.452 with 14 homers, 89 RBI, 25 stolen bases and 51 walks)
There were plenty of good choices for A's minor league position player of the year, as several players put together huge seasons at the plate. The fans went with shortstop Addison Russell for the award. It's hard to argue with that choice, as Russell finished ninth in the California League in OPS despite being one of the youngest players in the league throughout the year.
We went a different direction with our award (keep in mind, these are not prospect rankings, but merely an award for production during the season). Russell's teammate for the first half of the season, first baseman Max Muncy, was our choice. While Muncy isn't as young as Russell, his professional experience is the same, having been part of the same 2012 draft class. Muncy showed his trademark plate discipline while also displaying significantly more homerun power than he was projected to have going into the 2013 season. Muncy had a rough first month at the Double-A level, but he hit well during his final month as a member of the RockHounds and looks well positioned to continue his quick climb towards the big leagues next season.
OaklandClubhouse's Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year
Fan Choice: Sonny Gray, Sacramento River Cats (118.1 innings, 3.42 ERA, 118:39 K:BB, 5 HR allowed, 1.44 GO/AO)
Staff Choice: Raul Alcantara, Beloit Snappers/Stockton Ports (156.1 innings, 3.11 ERA, 124:24 K:BB, 11 HR allowed, 1.05 GO/AO)
Others Considered: Carlos Hernandez, Midland RockHounds/Sacramento River Cats (152 innings, 2.66 ERA, 106:41 K:BB, 6 HR allowed, 1.60 GO/AO); Sean Murphy, Stockton Ports/Midland RockHounds (155.1 innings, 3.94 ERA, 121:50 K:BB, 13 HR allowed, 0.89 GO/AO); Tanner Peters, Stockton Ports (165.2 innings, 4.02 ERA, 159:27 K:BB, 24 HR allowed, 0.93 GO/AO)
Sonny Gray took home the fan's choice for the starting pitcher award after an outstanding 2013 season with the Sacramento River Cats. Gray improved his game across the board with Sacramento, showing better command and more swing-and-miss stuff than he did during his 2012 season with Double-A Midland. Gray also made a big contribution to the A's run to the post-season and had one of the most memorable starts of the playoffs in Game 2 of the ALDS.
The staff choice for this award went to Raul Alcantara, who also made significant enhancements to his game in 2013 after struggling in 2012. Alcantara continued to pound the strike-zone at an impressive rate (only 24 walks in 156.1 innings), but he did a much better job of missing bats in 2013 than he did in 2012. He also more than held his own after a mid-season promotion to the hitter-friendly Cal League despite being one of the youngest starting pitchers in the circuit. Alcantara's ability to reach the mid-90s with his fastball and command the strike-zone is unusual for a pitcher of his age (20).
OaklandClubhouse's Minor League Reliever of the Year
Fan and Staff Choice: Ryan Dull, Beloit Snappers, Stockton Ports, Midland RockHounds (60 innings, 2.60 ERA, 78:9 K:BB, 19 SV, 3 HR allowed)
Others Considered: Brian Gordon, Sacramento River Cats (63 innings, 3.57 ERA, 66:9 K:BB, 23 saves, 4 homers allowed); Tucker Healy, Beloit Snappers/Stockton Ports (48 innings, 1.31 ERA, 74:10 K:BB, 5 saves, 4 homers allowed); Seth Frankoff, Stockton Ports (74.1 innings, 2.78 ERA, 93:23 K:BB, 4 saves, 6 homers allowed)
The A's have had good success developing relievers over the years, and that trend appears to be continuing, as three of the four pitchers considered for this award were drafted by the A's. Dull got both the staff and fan votes for a 2013 season that saw him scale three levels. Dull is currently pitching in the Arizona Fall League and A's fans could get to know his ‘ghost pitch' in the near future.
The other three pitchers considered – Tucker Healy, Seth Frankoff and Brian Gordon – also generated lots of swings-and-misses while keeping the bases-on-balls to a minimum. Gordon is a minor league free agent this off-season, but Healy and Frankoff should begin their 2014 campaigns in Double-A and, like Dull, could factor in the big league picture in the near future.