Kansas City Royals third baseman and former Wilmington Blue Rock Mike Moustakas was named the American League Comeback Player of the Year by The Sporting News on Tuesday. The publication's awards are voted on by a panel of players in each league. Moustakas is the second Royal to garner the award, joining Bret Saberhagen, who was named AL Comeback Player of the Year in 1987.
The 29-year-old Moustakas enjoyed a career year after being limited to just 27 games in 2016 due to a torn ACL. In 2017, he slugged a career-best 38 home runs to set the franchise's single-season record, passing Steve Balboni's 36 homers in 1985. Moustakas' home run total also tied for fifth in the American League and eighth in the Majors. He also set career-bests in runs scored (75), RBI (85), slugging percentage (.521) and total bases (289). He was named an All-Star for the second time in his career, winning the MLB Esurance Final Vote, while he also became the third Royal to participate in the Home Run Derby, joining Bo Jackson (1989) and Danny Tartabull (1991).
First State fans are certainly accustomed to seeing Moustakas hit the long ball. He became the first Blue Rock to slug 16 home runs in a single season in more than a decade when he did it for Wilmington in 2009. Moustakas added 32 doubles on his way to slugging .421 in 129 games with the Blue Crew.
Moustakas is one of 168 former Blue Rocks to make it to the majors.
Season seats for the 2018 season are on sale now, with group packages available beginning November 9. For more information please call 302-888-BLUE or visit the team's website at BlueRocks.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.