The Milwaukee Brewers have announced the recipients of the 2017 Robin Yount Performance Awards, presented annually to the organization's top Minor League performers. Outfielder Lewis Brinson was named Brewers Minor League Player of the Year and right-handed pitcher Corbin Burnes was named Brewers Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Brinson split time with Triple-A Colorado Springs and made his Major League debut with the Brewers later in the season. Burnes began the season with Class-A Carolina and finished with Double-A Biloxi.
Brinson, who entered the season as the top prospect in the organization according Baseball America, finished his first full season in the Brewers system batting .299 (99-for-299) with 66 runs, 22 doubles, 4 triples, 13 homers, 48 RBI, 32 walks, 11 steals and a .962 OPS in 76 games with Colorado Springs. The 23-year-old hit .339 (77-for-227) with 57 runs, 19 doubles, 2 triples, 10 homers, 42 RBI, 26 walks and 10 steals prior to the All-Star break. Brinson owned a 30 game on-base streak from June 4 - August 5, during which he posted a .434 OBP. That included a 20-game hitting streak where he batted .375 (33-for-88) with 16 runs, 7 doubles, 3 triples, 2 homers, 12 RBI and 7 walks. This all culminated with a call up to the Major Leagues on June 11 at Arizona. He appeared in 21 games with the Crew and hit 2 home runs. His season was cut short after suffering a strained left hamstring on August 14.
The outfielder represented the Brewers in the 2017 XM All-Star Futures Game in Marlins Park, finishing 1-for-4 with a double, a run, an RBI and a walk in the game. The Texas Rangers 2012 first-round selection was acquired along with RHP Luis Ortiz and OF Ryan Cordell in exchange for C Jonathan Lucroy and RHP Jeremy Jeffress on August 1, 2016.
"There were a number of worthy players who were considered for this award, but Lew put together a phenomenal year," said Brewers Farm Director Tom Flanagan. "He built upon his impressive debut after joining the organization last year and is very deserving of this honor."
Burnes went 8-3 with a 1.67 ERA (145.2ip, 27er) with 36 walks and 140 strikeouts in 26 starts between Class-A Carolina and Double-A Biloxi. The 22-year-old began the season with the Mudcats and started 10 games for the Club, going 5-0 with a 1.05 ERA (60ip, 7er) with 16 walks and 56 strikeouts. He would go on to make 16 starts for the Shuckers, posting a 2.10 ERA (85.2ip, 20er) with 20 walks and 84 strikeouts. Burnes finished third in Minor League Baseball and first in the organization in ERA (1.67). He also paced the Brewers system in starts (26), WHIP (0.954 - min 50ip) and was third in strikeouts (140).
"Corbin's first full professional season was nothing short of sensational," added Flanagan. "He was dominant at both Carolina and Biloxi, and he very much earned this award."
The Brewers fourth-round selection from the 2016 First-Year Player Draft out of St. Mary's College of California was named the Southern League Pitcher of the Week for the time period of July 3-9. Burnes made 2 starts in that span and tossed a combined 13 scoreless innings, allowing a walk and striking out 11. In addition, he was awarded Brewers Minor League Pitcher of the Month honors for May after going 4-0 with a 0.55 ERA (32.2ip, 2er) with 7 walks and 29 strikeouts in 5 starts. He won the award again in the following month, posting a 2-1 record with a 1.53 ERA (29.1ip, 5er) with 5 walks and 32 strikeouts in 5 starts, including a 7-inning shutout on June 23 against Mississippi. Burnes was signed by area scout Joseph Graham.