The Kansas City Royals announced their 2014 team award winners today, which were voted on by the Kansas City Chapter of the BWAA. Outfielder Lorenzo Cain was named the Les Milgram Player of the Year, while relief pitcher Wade Davis garnered the Bruce Rice Pitcher of the Year award and starting pitcher Yordano Ventura earned the Joe Burke Special Achievement Award. All three were first-time winners of these awards.
Cain, 28, enjoyed a breakout year in his third full season in Kansas City, batting .301 with 29 doubles, four triples, five homers and 53 RBI to go along with a career-best 28 stolen bases. He also enjoyed a standout season in the field, ranking third among American League outfielders with a .949 zone rating, while collecting a career-best eight outfield assists. Cain earned MVP honors in the ALCS, while he hit .333 (20-for-60) with five doubles, eight RBI and 13 runs scored, during the postseason.
Davis, 29, had a historic season in his first full-year in the Royals' bullpen. The 6-foot-5 righty led all Major League relievers with a 1.00 ERA (8 ER in 72.0 IP), which was the seventh-best mark all-time by an A.L. relief pitcher that tossed at least 50 innings. He did not allow an extra-base hit over his first 45.2 innings of the year, until Minnesota's Kurt Suzuki doubled off him on July 31. Davis posted a Royals' record 109 strikeouts out of the bullpen, which ranked second to the Yankees' Dellin Betances (135) among MLB relievers. He also had a dominating postseason, going 2-0 with a 0.63 ERA in 12 appearances.
Ventura, 23, produced one of the best rookie seasons in team history, going 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA (65 ER in 183.0 IP) in 31 games (30 starts). His ERA ranked 10th in the A.L., while he led all Major League rookies in innings, opponents' average (.240) and quality starts (22). Ventura finished the season strong, going 7-2 with a 2.63 ERA in his final 12 starts and posted a 3.20 ERA over five postseason appearances (four starts), including the victory in Game 6 of the World Series.
The Royals will make every effort to have all three players available to the media during the upcoming Royals FanFest presented by Commerce Bank, January 30-31, at the Kansas City Convention Center's Bartle Hall.