Nelson, Richards nab Marlins' top honors

Infielder, righty named Minor League Player, Pitcher of the Year

James Nelson put together a career-best .810 OPS in 102 games with Greensboro this season. (Chris Robertson/

By Alex Kraft / | September 28, 2017 9:15 PM ET

After a breakout season, James Nelson added one more honor to his collection this season. 

The Marlins named their ninth-ranked prospect their Minor League Player of the Year on Thursday, while also tapping No. 18 prospect Trevor Richards as Pitcher of the Year.

Ranked as the farm system's fourth-best position player, Nelson compiled a .309/.354/.456 slash line with 31 doubles, three triples, seven home runs, 59 RBIs and six steals in 102 games with Class A Greensboro. The 2016 15th-round pick led the organization in batting average and finished second in the South Atlantic League batting race, one point behind Lexington's Emmanuel Rivera.

Video: Greensboro's Nelson hammers one

Praised by scouts for his good feel for hitting, Nelson put together the longest hitting streak in the South Atlantic League this season with a 24-game run between May 14 and June 9. He earned both Midseason and Postseason All-Star nods from the circuit, his first at any level.

Signed as an undrafted free agent in July 2016 out of the independent Frontier League, Richards finished 12-11 with a 2.53 ERA, 30 walks and 158 strikeouts over a career-high 146 innings between Class A Advanced Jupiter and Double-A Jacksonville. After beginning the season with the Hammerheads and earning Midseason All-Star honors in the Florida State League, the 24-year-old earned a promotion to the Southern League on July 14.

Rated as the Marlins' No. 11 pitching prospect, the native of Aviston, Illinois led the organization in ERA and strikeouts while finishing second in wins. He set career highs in wins, innings pitched, appearances and strikeouts in his first full year in the Minor Leagues.

Alex Kraft is a contributor to Follow and chat with him on Twitter @Alex_Kraft21. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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