SEATTLE -- Seattle Mariners executive vice president and general manager of baseball operations Jack Zduriencik announced today the Mariners Minor League Awards.
Infielder Stefen Romero (High Desert/Jackson) was named Player of the Year, while right-hander Carter Capps (Jackson/Tacoma/Seattle) was named the Pitcher of the Year. Infielder Brad Miller (High Desert/Jackson) received the Heart and Soul Award for his exemplary play and leadership and right-handed pitcher Brandon Maurer (Jackson) was named the Most Improved Player in the Mariners organization.
Romero, 23, hit .352 (167x474) with 85 runs scored, 64 extra-base (2B-34, 3B-7, HR-23) and 101 RBIs in 116 games combined between Class A Advanced High Desert and Double-A Jackson. In only his second professional season, Romero finished third amongst all full season Minor Leaguers in average and was named to the Baseball America 2012 Second-Team All-Star team as a second baseman. Romero was one of only 19 players in the Minor Leagues this season to knock in at least 100 runs. He tied for the organizational lead in average, while ranking second in RBIs and third in home runs. Romero became the first Minor League Player in 2012 to hit for the cycle when he accomplished the feat on May 22 at Lancaster. He recorded 50 multi-hit games (25-High Desert, 25-Jackson), including eight three-hit games and six season-high four-hit games. Romero was named to the California League All-Star team before being promoted to Jackson on June 21. With the Generals, he hit safely in 47 of 55 games with an at-bat, while batting .347 (75-for-216). Romero, a native of Tucson, Ariz., attended Oregon State University from 2009-'10 and was the Mariners' 12th-round selection in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.
"Stefen had an outstanding offensive season combined between High Desert and Jackson," Zduriencik said. "He not only led the organization in many offensive categories, but was one of the top players in all of the Minor Leagues."
Capps, 22, went 2-3 with 19 saves and a 1.23 ERA (7 ER, 51 1/3 IP) in 39 relief appearances combined between Double-A Jackson and Triple-A Tacoma. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound right-hander averaged 13.2 strikeouts and 2.1 walks per nine innings and converted 19 of 21 saves opportunities. He held opponents to a .212 (40-for-189) batting average, while walking 12 and striking out 75. Capps was selected to Seattle on July 31 and made his Major League debut on Aug. 3 at New York (AL). In 18 relief appearances with the Mariners, Capps is 0-0 with a 3.96 ERA (11 ER, 25 IP) with 28 strikeouts. He was the third player from the 2011 Draft to make his big league debut. Capps was the Mariners' third-round supplemental selection (121st overall) in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of Mount Olive College (N.C.). He was named the 2011 NCAA Division II Pitcher of the Year after going 14-1 with two saves and a 1.75 ERA in 20 games/15 starts.
"Carter had a great year which led to him being called up in early August," Zduriencik said. "He had great command of the ball and was one of the most dominating relief pitchers in the Minor Leagues."
Miller, 22, received the Mariners' Heart and Soul Award for his exemplary play and leadership skills both on and off the field. Miller hit .334 (186-for-557) with 110 runs scored, 40 doubles, seven triples, 15 home runs and 68 RBIs in 137 games combined between Class A Advanced High Desert and Double-A Jackson. His 186 hits ranked second amongst all Minor Leaguers this year, while also ranking fourth in runs scored and tied for 10th in doubles. Miller led all Mariners farmhands with 56 multi-hit games, including 12 three-hit games and two season-high four-hit games. He reached base safely, via hit or walk, in 123 out of 137 games he appeared in (90 percent), including 90 of 97 games with the Mavericks. He was named to the California League All-Star team and named the league's Player of the Week, April 5-15. Miller was the Mariners' second-round selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of Clemson University. He was named 2011 ACC Player of the Year his junior season after leading the conference in average (.395) and on-base percentage (.489).
"Brad has been a leader both on and off the field this season," Zduriencik said. "He has a knack for getting things started when they need to get started and motivating his teammates throughout the game."
Maurer, 22, was recently named the Southern League's Most Outstanding Pitcher after going 9-2 with a 3.20 ERA (49 ER, 137 2/3 IP) in 24 starts with Double-A Jackson. After being limited to only 22 games, 17 starts, over the 2010-'11 seasons due to injuries, Maurer rebounded to lead the league with an .818 winning percentage and ranked fifth in ERA, while helping Jackson to the best record in the Southern League in 2012 (79-61). Maurer limited opponents to a .260 (133-for-512) average, while walking 48 and striking out 117. He finished tied for the Generals lead in wins (nine), while leading the team in strikeouts (117) and innings pitched (137 1/3). In his final 14 starts of the season from June 1-Aug. 16, Maurer went 7-1 with a 2.50 ERA (24 ER, 86 1/3 IP) and recorded 10 quality starts. During this stretch, he lowered his season ERA from 4.38 to 3.20. After only recording seven wins in his first four seasons in the Mariners organization, Maurer set a career high with nine wins in 2012. He was the Mariners' 23rd-round selection in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of Orange Lutheran (Calif.) High School. Maurer is 16-17 with a 3.65 ERA (131 ER, 320 IP) in 67 games, 58 starts in his four-year Minor League career.
"Brandon committed himself to physical fitness in the offseason and the results showed with a successful season," Zduriencik said. "After a slow start to the season he emerged one of the top pitching prospects in the organization."
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.