Starling among Royals to earn Minors awards

Outfielder wins defensive honor; Dziedzic, Gore are top pitcher, baserunner

Starling among Royals to earn Minors awards

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Minor Leaguers, Major Leaguers, scouts, coaches and front-office personnel all gathered on the grass between the Royals' practice fields on Monday morning to honor seven individuals with the team's annual Minor League awards.

Those honored were:

Left-hander Jonathan Dziedzic was the recipient of the Paul Splittorff Award, which recognizes the top Minor League pitcher. Dziedzic, 25, was named the Northwest Arkansas pitcher of the year. He went 10-7 with a 3.56 ERA in 27 appearances (26 starts) combined between Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha.

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Outfielder Terrance Gore was recipient of the Willie Wilson Baserunner of the Year Award, which recognizes the top baserunner. Gore, 24, won the award for the fourth straight year after stealing 39 bases at Double-A.

Outfielder Elier Hernandez was the recipient of the Carlos Fortuna Award, which recognizes the player most dedicated to improving his English, work ethic and conduct.

Catcher Parker Morin received the Mike Sweeney Award, which recognizes the player who best represents the organization on and off the field. Morin, 24, was a 14th-round pick in the 2012 Draft. He hit .309 at Northwest Arkansas last season.

First baseman Ryan O'Hearn received the George Brett Hitter of the Year Award. Splitting time between Low-A and High-A ball, O'Hearn hit .263 with 21 doubles, 27 homers and 77 RBIs in 127 games.

Outfielder Bubba Starling received the Frank White Defensive Player of the Year Award. Starling did not commit an error in 201 chances while splitting time between Class A Advanced Wilmington and Northwest Arkansas.

Ryan Keur, general manager of the Burlington (Rookie) Royals, was the recipient of the Matt Minker Award, recognizing an outstanding Minor League affiliate employee. In 2015, Burlington drew more than 46,000 fans, a 15 percent increase from '14, which at the time was a 15-year high.

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.