Durham first baseman Kevin Witt slugged a Minor League Baseball-best 36 home runs this season to capture the annual Joe Bauman Trophy and the Round-Tripper Award.
In addition to the trophy, Witt will receive a check for $7,200, representing $200 for each homer he hit during the regular season, at the Baseball Winter Meetings at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Lake Buena Vista, FL, in December.
Witt, 30, had a three-homer lead over Arkansas outfielder Terry Evans when he was called up from Triple-A by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Aug. 24. However, Evans went homerless the rest of the season.
The Devil Rays signed Witt as a free agent in January after he spent the 2005 season playing for the Yokohama Bay Stars in the Japanese Central League. Witt was originally selected by Toronto with the 28th overall pick in the 1994 June Draft. He hit five homers in April, eight in May, seven in June, eleven in July and another five before his call-up in August.
The other classification leaders in the domestic leagues receive $500. Frisco first baseman Nate Gold homered three times in his last five games to win the Double-A class with 34. Myrtle Beach's Kala Kaaihue and Visalia outfielder Sergio Pedroza each finished with 28 homers in Class A. However, Pedroza won the tiebreaker by having more runs batted in (93) than Kaaihue (80).
The short-season prize is still up for grabs, as there are still a few days left in the regular season. Russell Canzler of Boise currently leads with 16 homers, one ahead of Adam Witter of Salem-Keizer and two more than Christopher Carter of Great Falls and Spokane's Chris Davis.