The Kansas City Royals honored their top minor league players of 2014 on Thursday, naming Aaron Brooks Omaha pitcher of the year and outfielder Whit Merrifield as player of the year.
Brooks, a 25-year-old right-hander went 12-3 with a 3.88 ERA in 25 regular-season games (23 starts) for the Storm Chasers. His 12 victories were tied for second-most in the Pacific Coast League while he also ranked seventh in ERA and sixth in WHIP (1.27).
Brooks tossed eight scoreless innings Wednesday night, allowing just five hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts as Omaha won its playoff opener over Memphis 7-0.
He also earned Northwest Arkansas pitcher of the year honors in 2013. Brooks made his major league debut on May 3rd against Detroit.
The 25-year-old Merrifield started the season with Double-A Northwest Arkansas before joining the Storm Chasers. He hit .340 in 76 games with the Chasers, collecting 28 doubles, three triples and three homers with 57 runs scored and 29 RBIs. His 41 doubles combined between the two levels tied for sixth-most among all minor leaguers. He went 1-for-3 with a run scored in the playoff opener.
Merrifield was selected to participate in the Texas League All-Star Game this season, but did not play due to his promotion to Omaha.
The top players from all of Kansas City's seven minor league affiliates will be at Kauffman Stadium on September 19th where they will take part in an autograph session at Gate A from 5:30-6:15 p.m. as well as be honored in an on-field presentation prior to the Royals game with the Detroit Tigers.
The organization’s Paul Splittorff pitcher of the year and George Brett hitter of the year will be announced during the off-season.