Lamb named D-backs' Player of the Year

Arizona's No. 5 prospect, Southern League MVP finished year in bigs

Third baseman Jake Lamb led the Southern League with a .318 batting average. (Ed Gardner/MiLB.com)

By Mark Emery / MiLB.com | September 29, 2014 7:50 PM

Jake Lamb claimed many Minor League awards during his ascent to "The Show" this past season. He'll have to make room on his already crowded mantel for one more.

The D-backs' No. 5 prospect was named the organization's Player of the Year on Sunday. The 23-year-old third baseman hit.327/.407/.566 with 15 home runs and 84 RBIs over 103 games at Double-A Mobile and five games at Triple-A Reno before making his big league debut on Aug. 1.

In addition, right-hander Aaron Blair -- the club's fourth-ranked prospect -- was selected as the organization's Pitcher of the Year after going 9-5 with a 3.56 ERA in 27 starts spread across three levels. His 171 strikeouts tied him with close friend Ben Lively of Cincinnati for second in the Minors, behind only Toronto's Taylor Cole (181).

Lamb led the Southern League with a .318 average on the way to winning the circuit's Most Valuable Player award. He was also a mid- and postseason All-Star as well as the Player of the Week for June 9-15. In 37 games with Arizona, he batted .230/.263/.373 with four homers and 11 RBIs.

"Jake had a tremendous year as the numbers will show," D-backs director of player development Mike Bell said. "However, the numbers will not show how he accumulated them. Jake continually came up with the big hit or big play in key games in Mobile as well as his brief stint in Reno.

"Jake was selected to the Major League roster in August, but not before helping both Mobile and Reno reach the playoffs. Jake is a winning player and we are fortunate to have him on our team."

Blair, 22, started the year at Class A South Bend, where he posted a 1-2 record and 4.04 ERA over six starts. He then proceeded to go 4-2 with a 4.35 ERA over 13 starts at Class A Advanced Visalia before compiling a 4-1 record and 1.94 ERA in eight starts at Mobile. He won Southern League Pitcher of the Week honors for July 21-27.

"Aaron was in the top five of many key pitching categories in our Minor League system, including strikeouts," Bell said. "Aaron has moved across four levels in just over a year and he has been outstanding at each stop. He helped all three teams he played for this year reach the playoffs.

"He improved as the year went on and posted his most impressive numbers in Mobile, the most advanced level he has reached. Aaron is a great teammate and competitor, and we are eager to watch his continued development."

Mark Emery is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @Mark_Emery. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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