Courtesy of RedWingsBaseball.com
Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN—The Minnesota Twins announced today that catcher Mitch Garver has been named the 2017 Sherry Robertson Award winner as the Twins Minor League Player of the Year and right-handed pitcher Aaron Slegers has been named the 2017 Jim Rantz Award winner as the Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
Garver, 26, split the season between Triple-A Rochester and Minnesota, combining to hit .279 (102-for-366) with 30 doubles, 17 home runs and 48 RBI in 111 games. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound catcher was named International League Player of the Week in early July and was named an International League Postseason All-Star.
The Albuquerque, New Mexico native was selected by the Twins in the ninth round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of New Mexico. He appeared in 23 games for the Twins this season, playing catcher, first base and outfield. In parts of five minor league seasons, he has hit .271 (493-for-1819) with 127 doubles, 51 home runs and 286 RBI in 508 games.
Slegers, 25, spent nearly the entire season with Triple-A Rochester, going 15-4 with a 3.40 ERA (148.1 IP, 56 ER), 29 walks and 119 strikeouts in 24 starts. He made his major league debut in August and appeared in four games (3 starts) for the Twins. Slegers led the Twins minor league system in wins, innings pitched and starts. Additionally, he led all of Triple-A in wins and was tied for first among all Minor League Baseball farmhands in wins. The 6-foot-10, 245-pound pitcher earned International League Pitcher of the Week honors in mid-July.
The Scottsdale, Arizona native was selected by the Twins in the fifth round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of Indiana University. In parts of five minor league seasons, he has posted a record of 43-29 with a 3.50 ERA (601.0 IP, 234 ER), 134 walks and 447 strikeouts in 106 games (97 starts).
The Sherry Robertson Award, named in honor of the Twins’ first farm director, was established in 1970 to recognize the top Twins minor league performer each season. Since 2002, the award has recognized the Twins Minor League Player of the Year while an additional award has been created to recognize the Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year. This award was named in honor of former Twins Minor League Director and Twins Hall of Famer Jim Rantz. Past winners of the Sherry Robertson Award include Butch Wynegar (1974), Kent Hrbek (1981), Gene Larkin (1986), Paul Sorrento (1989), Denny Neagle (1990), Marty Cordova (1992), LaTroy Hawkins (1993 and ’94), Todd Walker (1996), David Ortiz (1997), Doug Mientkiewicz (1998), Michael Cuddyer (2001), Joe Mauer (2003), Jason Kubel (2004), Brian Dozier (2011), Byron Buxton (2013), Kennys Vargas (2014), Max Kepler (2015) and Zack Granite (2016). Past winners of the Jim Rantz award include Jesse Crain (2003), Scott Baker (2004), Francisco Liriano (2005), Matt Garza (2006), Kyle Gibson (2010), José Berríos (2014 and ’15) and Stephen Gonsalves (2016).
Garver and Slegers, along with the other Twins 2017 award winners, will be recognized at the 13th Annual Diamond Awards dinner, which will be held on Thursday, January 18, 2018.