PHOENIX -- Baseball America announced today that the Mobile BayBears, the D-backs Double-A affiliate and 2011 Southern League Champions, have been named the 2011 Minor League Team of the Year. This marks the second time the BayBears have been recognized for the award, after being honored by Baseball America following the organization’s Southern League title in 1998. The award gives consideration to over 160 Minor League affiliated teams and is presented annually within the publication’s end of year special awards issue each December.
“The team in Mobile was a special group of players led by a coaching staff with a wealth of knowledge and character,” said D-backs’ Director, Player Development Mike Bell. “The team had some of the organization’s most talented players and they played a fundamental and high energy game that allowed them to be consistent throughout the year. Mobile has been an affiliate since 2007 and we are pleased that we were able to help put together a winning team. We would like to thank them for the work they do and the way they treat our players and staff.”
In 2011, the Mobile BayBears claimed their third Southern League Championship as a D-backs farm team, joining the 1998 and 2004 teams. The BayBears finished the season with a league-best 84-54 (.609) record, going 47-25 (.653) at home and 46-22 (.676) in the second half of the season. Throughout the season, Mobile collected two Southern League Batter-of-the-Week and six Pitcher-of-the-Week Awards while seven BayBears were elected to the 2011 Mid-Season All-Star Team. Mobile saw five players move on to become part of the D-backs 2011 National League West Divisional Championship roster: infielder Paul Goldschmidt, left-hander Wade Miley, right-hander Jarrod Parker, right-hander Bryan Shaw and right-hander Ryan Cook.
For their contributions with the BayBears, Goldschmidt would go on to be named USA TODAY’s Minor League Player of the Year after leading the Southern League in on-base percentage (.435), slugging percentage (.626) and walks (82) while tying for the league-lead with home runs (30) and finishing second in RBI (94). Outfielder AJ Pollock led the Southern League in hits (169) and runs scored (103) while right-handed pitcher Jarrod Parker finished second in opponent batting average (.236) and wins (11). Former D-backs outfielder and current BayBears manager Turner Ward was also named Baseball America’s Manager of the Year in his first season at the helm.
“The Mobile BayBears in 2011 notched several impressive achievements in 2011. In addition to their Southern League championship and the best record in the league, the BayBears featured an amazing number of the Diamondbacks top prospects, several of whom contributed to the major league team’s NL West championship. We are pleased to recognize the Mobile BayBears as the 2011 Minor League Team of the Year award winner in minor league baseball,” said Lee Folger, President/Publisher of Baseball America.