Mariners name top Minor League players of 2012

Mariners name top Minor League players of 2012

Mariners name top Minor League players of 2012
SEATTLE -- A breakout season by infielder Stefen Romero earned him the honor of the Mariners Minor League Player of the Year.

Reliever Carter Capps was named the Pitcher of the Year, infielder Brad Miller won the Heart and Soul Award and right-hander Brandon Maurer took home the Most Improved Player to round out the 2012 Mariners Minor League Awards, as announced by general manager Jack Zduriencik on Wednesday. All four were honored at Safeco Field during the final Major League game of the season on Wednesday.

Romero, 23, hit .352 with 23 home runs and 101 RBIs in 116 games combined between Single-A High Desert and Double-A Jackson. The infielder finished third among all full season Minor Leaguers in average and was named to the Baseball America 2012 Second-Team All-Star team.

"I just put my mind frame in situational hitting, that's one of the things they preach down on the farm a lot," Romero said. "Luckily, I had a lot of guys get on base for me in High Desert and in Jackson."

"Stefen had an outstanding offensive season combined between High Desert and Jackson," Zduriencik said. "He not only led the organization in many offensive categories, but was one of the top players in all of the Minor Leagues."

Capps, 22, went 2-3 with 19 saves and a 1.23 ERA in 39 games with Jackson and Triple-A Tacoma, and was selected by the Major League club on July 31. The hard-throwing reliever averaged 13.2 strikeouts per nine innings in the Minors.

With the Mariners, Capps has a 3.96 ERA in 18 appearances, including 28 strikeouts in 25 innings.

Miller, 22, who received the Heart and Soul Award for his exemplary play and leadership skills both on and off the field, hit .334 with 110 runs, 15 home runs and 68 RBIs in 137 games with High Desert and Jackson.

"Just a huge honor to be recognized," Miller said. "To get to represent the organization is huge. Just exciting. Totally out of the blue. I had a lot of fun my first pro season and this is just something else I'm proud of and excited about."

Maurer, 22, rebounded from an injury-filled 2010 and 2011 seasons to finish 9-2 with a 3.20 ERA for Jackson. He was named the Southern League Most Outstanding Pitcher.