Springdale, AR - Five current or former Naturals are receiving Organizational honors following the conclusion of the 2013 regular season.
The Kansas City Royals, the Naturals parent club, announced this morning that 1B Matt Fields is the Naturals Player of the Year. RHP Aaron Brooks was named the Naturals Pitcher of the Year. OF Lane Adams was also honored as the HiA-Wilmington Player of the Year. Former Naturals INF Christian Colón and LHP Chris Dwyer were recipients of the respective awards representing AAA-Omaha.
All of those honored are invited to Futures Night at Kauffmann Stadium on Friday, September 20th for an On-Field Recognition and pre-game autograph session before the Royals host the Texas Rangers. The Royals will announce the organizational-wide Paul Splittorff Pitcher of the Year and George Brett Player of the Year awards after the World Series.
Matt Fields led the Texas League in homeruns and fell four shy of the RBI lead while setting the new single-season Naturals Homerun record in 2013. The 28-year-old blasted 31 homeruns, which led all Royals affiliates, and collected 87 RBI. In 2013, Fields was named to the Texas League All-Star Team, presented by Castrol, and clubbed 23 homeruns in two rounds en route to winning the Tyson Foods Homerun Derby. The Seattle-native was also named Texas League Player of the Month in June for batting .300 with 9 homeruns, 25 RBI, and slugging .630. Originally drafted by The Royals signed Fields out of the Independent Frontier League in 2012 and the minor league veteran slugger has hit 48 homeruns in 198 games between HiA-Wilmington and AA-Northwest Arkansas.
Aaron Brooks was promoted to the Naturals on June 4th and proceeded to win three of his first four starts as part of the team's mid-season surge. In 16 games in the Texas League, the 23-year-old compiled a 7-7 record with a 4.17 ERA in 103 ⅔ innings. Brooks, the Royals 9th Round draft pick in 2011 out of Cal State-San Bernardino, also posted nine quality starts and tossed a complete-game shutout on July 24th in Arvest Ballpark and also lasted 8 ⅔ innings on August 17th versus San Antonio. He reached the ninth inning twice in 2013, more than any other Natural in franchise history.
Lane Adams was advanced to the Naturals on July 17th and excelled in at all three outfield positions and hit three homeruns in 10-1 victory over the Hooks at Arvest Ballpark in August 13th. In 87 games for Hi-A Wilmington, the 23-year-old Adams hit .276 with 12 homeruns and 30 doubles. For the Blue Rocks, he stole 23 bases in 29 tries, and was a perfect 15-for-15 in steals as a Natural. Adams was promoted to AAA-Omaha for their PCL Championship run following the conclusion of the Naturals season. The Red Oak, Oklahoma-native was drafted by Kansas City in the 13th Round of the 2009 MLB June Amateur Draft.
Christian Colón, the Naturals Player of the Year in 2012, hit .273 with 12 homeruns and 58 RBI in 131 games mostly between second base and shortstop. The 24-year-old former First Round Selection in the 2010 Draft out of Cal State-Fullerton hit .335 after the All-Star Break as part Omaha's come-from-behind push to a Division Title.
In 29 games, including 28 starts, Chris Dwyer was 10-11 for the Storm Chasers with a 3.55 ERA across 159 ⅔ innings. A 2013 Pacific Coast League All-Star, Dwyer posted 17 quality starts and made his mark on the League Leader Board ranking among left-handers third in ERA, first in games started, and second in innings-pitched.
LHP Sam Selman was named Hi-A Wilmington's Pitcher of the Year in the 22-year-old's first full professional season. The Organization's 2nd Round Pick from Vanderbilt in 2012 posted a 3.38 ERA in 125 ⅓ innings over 27 starts, compiling 128 strikeouts while recording an 11-9 record for the Blue Rocks. In his second to last start of the season, Selman tossed eight hitless innings with 11 strikeouts.
SS Raul Mondesi garnered the Player of the Year Award for A-Lexington. The 18-year-old hit .261 with 7 homeruns and 47 RBI for the Legends. The switch-hitting speedster also swiped 24 bases. The son of former Major League Outfield Raul Mondesi was born in Los Angeles during the Dodgers Division Championship season and signed by the Royals out of the Dominican Republic in 2011.
The Royals named RHP Christian Binford as Lexington's Pitcher of the Year. In 23 starts, the 6-foot 6-inch 20-year-old struck out 130 batters in 135 innings posting a 2.67 ERA and an 8-7 record for Lexington. Binford was drafted in the 30th Round of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft out of Mercersburg, Pennsylvania.
2013 First Round Draft Choice 3B Hunter Dozier earned Player of the Year Honors for Idaho Falls in the Advanced-Rookie Pioneer League. The 8th Overall selection out of Stepehen F Austin hit .303 in 54 games for the Chukars with 7 homeruns, 24 doubles, and 43 RBI. The 21-year-old was promoted to Lexington for the final 15 games of the season and was 18-for-55 (.327).
Kansas City awarded 7 others with yearly honors across the Organization's 8 total affiliates including: LHP Patrick Conroy the Pitcher of the Year in Idaho Falls, RHP Luis Santos the Pitcher of the Year and 3B Mauricio Ramos the Player of the Year for the Burlington Royals in the Rookie-Level Appalachian League, RHP Pedro Fernandez the Pitcher of the Year and 1B/OF Samir Duenez the Player of the Year for the Surprise Royals in the rookie-level Arizona League, and RHP Yuinor Marte the Pitcher of the Year and INF Angelo Castellano the Player of the Year for the Dominican Royals of the rookie-level Dominican League.
The Seventh Season of Naturals Baseball begins Thursday, April 3, 2014 in Frisco, TX. The team opens at Arvest Ballpark on on Thursday April 10, 2014 against the same Frisco Rough Riders.
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are the Double-A Texas League Affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. The Naturals play at state-of-the-art Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, AR. For more information including statistics, ticket options, and more, please visit nwanaturals.com, and follow us on Twitter @nwanaturals and Facebook.com/Naturals.