Frank Schwindel did it again.
A second straight outstanding season at the Royals’ top minor-league affiliate earned Schwindel the Royals’ Class AAA Omaha Player of the Year award for the second year in a row. The Royals announced their Minor League Players and Pitchers of the Year for all of their affiliates Wednesday.
The players will be honored in an on-field presentation prior to Friday’s Royals-Indians at Kauffman Stadium. They will take part in a pregame autograph session at 5:30 p.m. inside Gate A
Schwindel, a 26-year-old first baseman, set a franchise record with 38 doubles, which was second in the Pacific Coast League. Schwindel also was second in the league in total bases (258), third in hits (146), fourth in RBIs (93) and seventh in home runs (24). Those were all team highs for Omaha.
Left-hander Richard Lovelady, 23, is Omaha’s Pitcher of the Year after compiling a 3-3 record with a 2.47 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 73 innings pitched over 46 relief appearances. Among PCL relievers, Lovelady was second with a .204 opponents’ average and 2.22 walks per nine innings.
Class AA Northwest Arkansas’ Player of the Year is infielder Jecksson Flores, 24. He won the Texas League batting title (.314) and led the Naturals in doubles (31), total bases (202) and on-base percentage (.363).
Right-hander Jake Newberry, 23, is Northwest Arkansas’ Pitcher of the Year. He made his first 25 appearances this season with the Naturals and went 2-0 with a 2.12 ERA and 37 strikeouts. He is currently with the Royals.
Infielder D.J. Burt, 22, is Class A-advanced Wilmington’s Player of the Year after hitting .280 and a Carolina League-best 32 stolen bases. Burt hit seven triples and scored 72 runs, which were both the fourth-best in the league.
Right-hander Gerson Garabito, 23, is Wilmington’s Pitcher of the Year. He led the league with a 3.16 ERA, his .226 opponents’ average was second and he was third with 116 strikeouts.
Outfielder Seuly Matias, 20, is Class A Lexington’s Co-Player of the Year. He hit 31 home runs, sixth most in the minor leagues, despite having his season end early because of an injury. He shares the award with 19-year-old catcher MJ Melendez. He was among the South Atlantic League leaders with 54 extra-base hits (second), 19 home runs (fifth) and 73 RBIs (fourth). Melendez also threw out 26 of 62 attempted base stealers (41.9 percent).
Lexington’s Pitcher of the Year is right-hander Carlos Hernandez, a 21-year-old who was 6-5 with a 3.29 ERA, 82 strikeouts and 23 walks in 79 1/3 innings. He allowed just one unearned run over a three-start stretch (21 innings) from June 29-July 9.
Rookie-advanced Idaho Falls’ Player of the Year is 21-year-old infielder/outfielder Nathan Eaton. His .354 average led all Royals minor-league players and was third in the Pioneer League. He led the league in hits (92), extra-base hits (37), total bases (151), triples (12) and runs (59). Left-hander J.C. Cloney, 24, is Idaho Falls’ Pitcher of the Year. He won all nine of his starts and had a 1.93 ERA with 50 strikeouts and 10 walks in 56 innings. He was promoted to Lexington in August and went 3-1 with a 2.73 ERA in five starts with the Legends.
Infielder Jose Marquez, 20, is Rookie-level Burlington’s Player of the Year. He hit .301 and was fourth in the Appalachian League leaders in extra-base hits (26) and runs (47). He also had an 18-game on-base streak from July 2-22. Burlington’s Pitcher of the Year is left-hander Marcelo Martinez, 22. He led the Appalachian League with a 2.68 ERA, 71 strikeouts and 1.00 WHIP.
Infielder Rubendy Jaquez, 18, is Rookie Surprise’s Player of the Year. He hit .303 with 27 RBIs in 46 games for the Royals. Right-handed pitcher Yohanse Morel, 18, is Surprise’s Pitcher of the Year. He had a 3.71 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 43 2/3 innings over 12 appearances (seven starts) with Surprise.
Infielder Enrique Valdez, 18, is the Dominican Royals 1 Player of the Year. He hit .264 in 27 games. Right-hander Heribert Garcia, 18, is the Dominican Royals 1 Pitcher of the Year. He was 4-2 with a 0.94 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 47 2/3 innings.
Outfielder Neyfi Marinez, 18, is the Dominican Royals 2 Player of the Year. He hit .269 with 23 RBI in 59 games. Right-hander Daury Cabrera, 17, is the Dominican Royals 2 Pitcher of the Year. He was 5-2 with a 1.16 ERA in 13 appearances.