A pair of Royals’ minor-league players who became social media sensations among fans in Kansas City were honored by the franchise on Thursday.
The Royals announced their minor-league pitchers and players of the year, and the honorees include first baseman Balbino Fuenmayor, whose rise from Independent League ball made him a folk hero among Royals fans.
Fuenmayor was the player of the year at Class AA Northwest Arkansas, where he hit .354 with 15 homers and 51 RBIs in 73 games. He earned a promotion to Class AAA Omaha, where he suffered a season-ending injury after batting .377 in 16 games.
Jonathan Dziedzic (10-6, 3.12 ERA) was the Naturals’ pitcher of the year.
For Omaha, left-hander Scott Alexander (14 saves, 2.56 ERA) was the pitcher of the year, and he is currently with the Royals. Outfielder Jose Martinez was the player of the year after setting social-media afire by hitting .384 with a 1.024 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.
One other honoree of note: Derek Gordon was the pitcher of the year at Idaho Falls. The right-hander, who went 2-3 with a 3.47 ERA at Rookie-Advanced ball, is a younger brother of Royals left fielder Alex Gordon.
▪ TWO CLEAR WAIVERS: The Royals secured waivers on pitcher Yohan Pino and outfielder Dusty Coleman and assigned them to Omaha.
Royals Minor League Pitchers and Players of the Year
Class AAA Omaha: LHP Scott Alexander and OF Jose Martinez
Class AA Northwest Arkansas: LHP Jonathan Dziedzic and 1B Balbino Fuenmayor
Class A-Advanced Wilmington: RHP Alec Mills and INF Mauricio Ramos
Class A Lexington: RHP Pedro Fernandez; INF Corey Toups
Rookie-Advanced Idaho Falls: RHP Derek Gordon and OF Amalani Fukofuka
Rookie Burlington: RHP Jacob Bodner and C Xavier Fernandez
Surprise Royals: RHP Arnaldo Hernandez and OF Rudy Martin
Dominican Royals: LHP Cristian Castillo; SS Oliver Nunez