MIAMI - The Miami Marlins today named third baseman James Nelson and right-handed starter Trevor Richards as the organization's Player and Pitcher of the Year for 2017. The announcement was made by Marlins' President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill.
Nelson spent the season with Single-A Greensboro, appearing in 102 games. He finished second in the South Atlantic League with a .309 (122x395) batting average, earning Midseason and Postseason All-Star honors. His batting average led all Marlins' minor leaguers, and his 59 RBI ranked fifth.
From April 28 to June 9 he posted the longest on-base streak in the SAL this season, at 37 games. Within that span he posted a 24-game hitting streak from May 14 to June 9, also the longest in the SAL this year. Nelson batted .376 (56x149) during the on-base streak, and .368 (35x95) during the hitting streak. The performance earned him Organizational Player of the Month honors for May; he slashed .372/.425/.540 for the month, leading the SAL in hits (42) and ranking third in average.
Nelson, 19, was Miami's 15th-round selection in the 2016 First-Year Player Draft out of Cisco Junior College (TX). A native of Rex, Georgia, he set career highs in hits, doubles (31), home runs (7), and RBI this season.
Richards went 12-11 with a 2.53 ERA (146.0/41) in 27 games (25 starts) between High-A Jupiter (13 G/11 GS) and Double-A Jacksonville (14/14), setting career highs in wins, innings pitched, and strikeouts (158) in his first full Minor League season. He led Miami's minor league system in ERA and strikeouts, and was second in wins.
He opened the season with the Hammerheads and went 7-4, 2.17 in 13 games (11 starts), winning his last three starts before being promoted on June 21. The showing garnered Florida State League All-Star honors and one Pitcher of the Week award, following a career-best 11-strikeout outing on June 2. He carried the success to Jacksonville, and for the month of June combined to go 4-0, 1.65 with 29 strikeouts, earning Organizational Pitcher of the Month honors. He also went on a career-best five-game winning streak from June 2-July 4, posting a 1.62 ERA during the streak.
Richards, 24, is a native of Aviston, Illinois. He attended Drury University and was signed as a non-drafted free agent out of the Frontier League on July 2, 2016.