With their minor league affiliate seasons concluded, the Orioles announced the winners of the organization's postseason player development awards on Thursday afternoon. These are given out each year to the most outstanding pitcher and the most outstanding position player in the organization. The winners of the awards are right-handed starter Tyler Wilson and first baseman Christian Walker.
Wilson gets the Jim Palmer Pitcher of the Year award. It's really called that. A 10th-round pick from the University of Virginia in 2011, Wilson started the year out at Double-A Bowie, where he made 16 starts with a 3.72 ERA over 96.2 innings. That was enough for him to receive a promotion to Triple-A Norfolk, where he spent the remainder of the season. For the Tides, Wilson started 12 games, with a 3.60 ERA over 70 innings. He's put himself in the conversation for a future back of the Orioles rotation candidate.
Walker will receive the Brooks Robinson Player of the Year award. The 4th-round pick out of the University of South Carolina in 2012 also played at both Bowie and Norfolk this year. At Bowie, Walker broke out a power stroke for the first time in his professional career, mashing 20 home runs in 95 games. That performance was enough for a .301/.367/.516 batting line, earning him a well-deserved promotion to Norfolk. There, Walker played 44 games with a .259/.335/.428 batting line, much less impressive.
Still, Walker's 26 home runs led all Orioles minor league players. He also played himself into the conversation about a potential role on the Orioles in the future. You might have heard the Orioles current first baseman is going to be a free agent after next year. The 23-year-old first baseman could earn more consideration if he keeps playing the way he did this year.
Other awards winners: Mark Blackmar (recently traded to the White Sox) receiving the Elrod Hendricks Community Service award, Jim Richardson winning the Jim Russo Scout of the Year award, and the coaching staff of the Delmarva Shorebirds receiving the Cal Ripken Sr. Development award. Even the Bowie Baysox groundskeeper, Matt Parrott, will be recognized for winning the 2014 Eastern League Diamond Pro Sports Field Manager of the Year award.
The Orioles will honor all of the winners in a ceremony on the field before Thursday's series finale against the Reds.