The 2010 season is now over, which means it's time to hand out the hardware! Who stood out above everyone else in the organization? Find out inside as TigsTown awards the Ryan DeWitt Minor League Player of the Year award and Brian Bluhm Minor League Pitcher of the Year award.
2010 Ryan DeWitt Player of the Year: 3B Wade Gaynor
.286 AVG .354 OBP 39 2B 10 HR 80 RBI 91 R
Gaynor's .192/.281/.282 line in the New York-Penn League in 2009 left a sour taste in his mouth, and helped motivate him to bust out in 2010. Playing the entire season with West Michigan this year, Gaynor was a steadying force in the ‘Caps lineup throughout the year. Though he was strong all season long, Gaynor exploded in July and August, hitting .336/.402/.514 and .319/.388/.478, respectively. He showed the raw power he has in his swing, while also working counts better and truly showing his increased comfort at the plate. After his struggles in 2009, Gaynor worked with Tigers instructors to re-incorporate a leg kick he had employed previously in his playing career, and the results were certainly positive. Gaynor finished the season tied for fifth in the league with 39 doubles, and also found his name on the leader board in the RBI category with 80 knocked in. As if all that wasn't enough, Gaynor finished second in the circuit with 91 runs scored, and he even tacked on 13 stolen bases. After a breakout performance like the one just completed, Gaynor will head to 2011 with lofty expectations for continued development, and given his work ethic, he might just reach them.
2010 Brian Blum Pitcher of the Year: RHP Jacob Turner
6-5 W-L 3.28 ERA 115.1 IP 102 K's 23 BB .238 BAA
The Tigers top pick (9th overall) in the 2009 draft, Turner's debut performance this season has cemented his status as the top prospect in the organization, and one of the elite young arms in all of the minor leagues. Starting his career in West Michigan, Turner gave Tigers fans a scare when he was shut down with stiffness in his right forearm, but he was activated after just a couple of weeks, and he was outstanding from there on out. The 19-year old Turner posted a 3.67 ERA in 54 innings with the Whitecaps, before the Tigers aggressively pushed him to High-A Lakeland for the remainder of the season. With Lakeland, Turner hit some bumps in the road early on, but was absolutely electric down the stretch, as he began to adjust to the higher level of competition. In five August starts, Turner posted a 1.05 ERA, allowing just 16 hits and five walks in 25 2/3 innings, while fanning 23. Those strong starts to end the season, helped him finish with a 2.93 ERA with Lakeland, while notching a strikeout to walk ratio of over 4:1. After an outstanding professional debut, Turner is undoubtedly the Tigers top prospect, and is the discussion as one of the top pitching prospects in baseball.
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