Two New York Yankees farmhands have been selected as a league Topps Player of the Year in the annual George M. Trautman Awards, presented in the 16 domestic Minor Leagues by the Topps Company of New York, in conjunction with Minor League Baseball. Mason Williams (New York-Penn League) and Dante Bichette Jr. (Gulf Coast League), each played for the Staten Island Yankees During the 2011 Season.
Williams, an outfielder with the Baby Bombers, led the New York-Penn League with 94 hits and 28 stolen bases, and finished second with a .349 batting average - an All-Star year. Days before Williams played in the 2011 NYPL All-Star Game in Lowell, he was awarded the New York-Penn League player of the week. Offensively, the 20-year-old outfielder Williams provided the spark in the Staten Island Yankees' lineup, helping the Baby-Bombers capture their sixth New York-Penn League Championship in 13 seasons. Following the Season, Baseball America named Mason Williams a Short-Season All-Star.
Bichette Jr., the 51st-overall pick in the 2011 Draft out of Orangewood Christian High School in Maitland, Fla., is the son of longtime Major League slugger Dante Bichette. The 18-year-old grew up with a close relationship to New York manager Joe Girardi and was elated to join the organization in June. Since then, he led the Gulf Coast League in hitting, runs and doubles. During the playoffs, Bichette Jr. hit a game-tying homer and then had a hand in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning to lead the Yankees past the Marlins, 3-1, to claim the 2011 Gulf Coast League championship, the GCL Yankees' first since 2007. A late call-up to the Staten Island Yankees, Bichette Jr. spent the final two weeks of the season with the Baby Bombers.
Topps salutes the top performances throughout Minor League Baseball, including monthly awards and all-star teams in each classification.
2011 Topps Minor League Players of the Year
||San Jose/San Francisco
||Fort Wayne/San Diego
||Staten Island/New York-AL
||Dante Bichette Jr.
*Traded to Seattle on July 31
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.