SPRINGDALE, Ark. - The Kansas City Royals have announced their Minor League Players and Pitchers of the Year for each of their respective affiliates. Northwest Arkansas infielder Corey Toups was named the Naturals' Player of the Year while starting right-handed pitcher Jake Junis was tabbed as the team's Pitcher of the Year by Kansas City for the 2016 season.
Toups, 23, was promoted to the Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals on May 26 from Advanced-A Wilmington. The infielder primarily led-off for the team and hit .275 (93-for-338) with 10 home runs and 16 stolen bases in 86 games. He helped lead the Naturals to the second-half North Division Championship as well as a Division Series win over the Springfield Cardinals. During the playoffs, the Naturals' Player of the Year hit .355 (11-for-31) with a playoff-high four (4) home runs and seven (7) RBI. The Player of the Year Award for the Royals' 15th-round pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft marks the second of his career.
Junis, a 2016 Mid-Season and Postseason Texas League All-Star, was a dominant force during his time with the Northwest Arkansas starting rotation. The Northwest Arkansas Pitcher of the Year went 9-7 with a 3.25 ERA prior to his call-up to the Triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers on August 8. The nine (9) wins on the year ranked tied for fourth in the Texas League while his 3.25 ERA was the third best in the circuit. In addition, the right-handed pitcher ranked second in Highest SO/9 IP Ratio (8.85) and led the league in the Lowest BB-IBB/9 IP Ratio with a ratio of 2.04. The award marks the second time the Royals former 29th-round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft has been honored by the Kansas City Royals as a Pitcher of the Year.
Here is a look at the rest of the 2016 Minor League Award Winners:
INF/OF Hunter Dozier (a member of the Naturals in 2014-2016)
RHP Brooks Pounders (a member of the Naturals in 2013 and 2015)
INF Samir Duenez (a member of the Naturals in 2016)
RHP Zach Lovvorn
INF DJ Burt
LHP Emilio Ogando
Idaho Falls (R)
C Meibrys Viloria
RHP Andres Machado
OF Kort Peterson
LHP Cristian Castillo
OF Khalil Lee
RHP Grant Gavin
INF Esteury Ruiz
RHP Andres Sotillet
All of the Royals' award winners were at Kauffman Stadium on Friday, September 30 where they took part in a pregame autograph session for fans before being honored in an on-field presentation prior to Kansas City's game against Cleveland.
Follow the Northwest Arkansas Naturals on Twitter @NWANaturals all throughout the year by using the hashtag #NaturalPastime and #CrowntoCrown for all of our latest information on Season 10 of Naturals baseball set to begin on Thursday, April 6. 2017.
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, Ark. For more information, including statistics, ticket options, and more, please visit NWANaturals.com, and follow us on Twitter @NWANaturals and Facebook.com/Naturals.