SPRINGDALE, Ark - The Kansas City Royals announced their minor league award winners for the 2016 season and recognized nine individuals. Seven of the nine honorees were members of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals during the past season. General Manager Justin Cole and Manager Vance Wilson received awards, while the Royals also recognized Jake Junis, Yender Caramo, Logan Moon, Hunter Dozier, and Cameron Gallagher for their performance on and off the field.
Justin Cole, General Manager - Justin Cole was the recipient of the Matt Minker Award, which recognizes an outstanding minor league affiliate employee. In 2016, Cole completed his fourth season in his current role with the Naturals. The team serves as the Royals' Double-A Affiliate and has appeared in the Texas League Championship Series each of the last two season.
Vance Wilson, Manager - Vance Wilson was the recipient of the Dick Howser Award, which recognizes the organization's most outstanding player development person. Wilson has spent his last eight seasons in the Royals' organization and has been the manager of the Naturals for the past three seasons. During his time in Northwest Arkansas, he has guided the team to back-to-back North Division Championships and consecutive trips to the Texas League Championship Series.
Jake Junis, Right-Handed Pitcher - Jake Junis was the recipient of the Paul Splittorff Award, which recognizes the top minor league pitcher in the organization. The 24-year old went 9-7 with a 3.25 ERA with Northwest Arkansas and was named the Naturals pitcher of the year. Junis also earned midseason and postseason All-Star honors for his success in the Texas League. The former 29th round selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft was promoted to Triple-A Omaha on August 8.
Yender Caramo, Right-Handed Pitcher - Yender Caramo was the recipient of the Carlos Fortuna Award, which recognizes a player who is dedicated to improving his English, work ethic and conduct. The 25-year old spent the majority of the 2016 season with Northwest Arkansas and went 5-7 with a 2.45 ERA in 34 outings (10 starts). Caramo led the Texas League in ERA and ranked second in WHIP (1.09) and walks per 9.0 innings pitched. He was signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2010.
Logan Moon, Outfielder - Logan Moon was the recipient of the Mike Sweeney Award, which recognizes a player who best represents the organization on and off the field. The 25-year old outfielder spent the entire 2016 season with Northwest Arkansas and hit .254 games in 107 games. Moon was selected in the sixth round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft.
Hunter Dozier, Infielder/Outfielder - Hunter Dozier was the recipient of the George Brett Hitter of the Year, which recognizes the top position player in the organization. The 25-year old spent the majority of 2016 in Omaha but began the year in Northwest Arkansas. Across the two levels, Dozier hit .296 while setting a career high in runs (79), hits (144), doubles (44), home runs (23), and RBI (75) while earning Player of the Year honors for Omaha. The former 8th overall selection in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft made his Major League debut on September 12 and recorded his first hit on September 15.
Cameron Gallagher, Catcher - Cam Gallagher was the recipient of the Frank White Defensive Player of the Year Award, which recognizes the organization's top defensive player. The 24-year old spent the entire season with Northwest Arkansas and played in 91 games while starting 79 games at catcher. Gallagher led all Texas League catchers in total chances (713), putouts (648), assists (62), double plays (9), and caught stealing percentage (.476, 30-of-63). The former second round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft was added to the Royals' 40-man roster on November 18.
In addition to the honorees listed above, the Royals recognized Nick Heath of Idaho Falls as the Willie Wilson Baserunner of the Year while Special Assignment Scout Mitch Webster took home the Art Stewart Award for most outstanding scout.
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals will host the San Antonio Missions, the Double-A Affiliate of the San Diego Padres, on Thursday, April 6 at 6:25 p.m. for Opening Day of Season 10 of Naturals Baseball at Arvest Ballpark.
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are the Double-A Texas League Affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. The Naturals play at state-of-the-art Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, Ark. For more information, including statistics, ticket options, and more, please visit NWANaturals.com, and follow us on Twitter @NWANaturals and Facebook.com/Naturals.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.