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Bobby Witt Jr. Earns Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year Honors

October 4, 2021 - Triple-A East League (AAA East) - Omaha Storm Chasers News Release


PAPILLION, Neb. - Bobby Witt Jr. has been named Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year, the publication announced Monday.

Witt Jr. is the third player to earn Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year during a season in which they played for Omaha, joining Tom Gordon (1988) and Wil Myers (2012). He is the fourth player in the Kansas City Royals organization to win the award, joining Tom Gordon, Alex Gordon (2006), and Myers (2012).

"It's been a thrill for everyone in the Omaha metro to watch Bobby play at Werner Park this season and we couldn't be prouder of his accomplishments," Storm Chasers Vice President and General Manager Laurie Schlender said. "He earned our Fan Favorite award this season for many reasons, not just his play, but also the way he carries himself off the field and the way he takes the time to interact with fans. We're so excited to see what the future holds for Bobby."

The honor, first awarded in 1981, celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2021. Past honorees include two eventual Hall of Famers-Frank Thomas (1990) and Derek Jeter (1994)-and 24 future Major League Baseball All-Stars.

"On behalf of our entire organization I want to congratulate Bobby on such a terrific first full season as a professional," JJ Picollo, Royals Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations/General Manager, said. "He came into 2021 carrying high expectations and he didn't disappoint in any phase of his game. From his hitting, including hitting with power, to his baserunning and his defensive skill set, Bobby had just a tremendous year and is very deserving of this honor. We are very proud of his accomplishments this year and look forward to many years of outstanding play by him."

Witt Jr. finished the season batting .290/.361/.575 with 99 runs scored, 144 hits, 35 doubles, 33 home runs, 97 RBIs, and 29 stolen bases in 123 games between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Triple-A Omaha. He led Minor League Baseball in extra-base hits (72) while finishing second in runs scored (99), fourth in home runs (33) and RBIs (97), fifth in hits (144), and tied for sixth in doubles (35).

The consensus No. 3 prospect in baseball and top prospect in the Royals' organization, Witt Jr. ended the year one stolen base shy of recording the third season with 30+ home runs, 30+ stolen bases, and 30+ doubles since 1990 and the ninth 30+ homer and 30+ steal season since 2000. Witt Jr. recorded his 30th stolen base on Thursday prior to the game being canceled before becoming official.

Witt Jr. made his Triple-A debut with the Storm Chasers on July 20 following 61 games with Double-A Northwest Arkansas. At the time of his promotion to Triple-A, Witt Jr. led Double-A Central in total bases (139) and RBIs (51) while also tying for the division lead in hits (72) and ranking second in the division in home runs (16). From the time of his Triple-A debut on July 20 to the end of the season, Witt Jr. led Triple-A East in runs scored (55), doubles (24), and extra-base hits (41), while tying for fourth in homers (17) and ranking sixth in slugging percentage (.581).

The 21-year-old went 2-for-6 in his Triple-A debut on July 20 vs. St. Paul, singling up the middle in his first Triple-A at-bat. He recorded his first Triple-A home run in the following game, a go-ahead, inside-the-park home run. After beginning his Triple-A career with four straight multi-hit games, Witt Jr. notched his first over-the-fence home run on July 25 vs. St. Paul.

He earned Triple-A East Player of the Week honors for Aug. 2-8 en route to earning Triple-A East Player of the Month honors for August. From Aug. 2-8, in a six-game span against the Columbus Clippers at Huntington Park, Witt Jr. went 8-for-27 (.296) with two doubles, four home runs, 11 RBIs, eight runs scored, and one stolen base. He started the week with a three-run homer in the 11th inning of the Omaha's 11-inning, 11-7 win on Aug. 3, went 3-for-5 with a solo homer on Wednesday, Aug. 4, hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the eighth inning on Friday, Aug. 6, and tied a career-high with five RBIs in Omaha's 13-10 win on Saturday, Aug. 7, a game that included his first career grand slam.

Over the following two weeks, Witt Jr. hit safely in nine of his next 11 games during the Storm Chasers' 12-game homestand from Aug. 10-22. On Aug. 14, he stole his 20th base of the season to become the first Kansas City Royals minor leaguer to record 20+ home runs and 20+ stolen bases in a single season since Alex Gordon in 2006 with the Double-A Wichita Wranglers. Overall, Witt Jr. hit .279/.342/.635 in 26 games in August, leading the league in runs scored (25), RBIs (29), doubles (10), and total bases (66) while ranking second in the league with nine home runs.

Witt Jr. continued his stellar season in September, batting .292/.385/.573 with 10 doubles, five home runs, 11 RBIs, 19 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. He homered in three straight games in the top of the first inning from Sept. 8-10 at CHS Field in St. Paul, Minn., a stretch that included an inside-the-park home run on Sept. 8 and his 30th home run of the season on Sept. 9. He doubled for the final time on Sept. 23 vs. IND to record 10 doubles for the second consecutive month and 35 for the season.

In 63 games with Omaha, Witt Jr. led the team in doubles (24), finished third on the team in runs scored (55) and stolen bases (15), fourth in home runs (17), and sixth in RBIs (46).

Ticket packages for the 2022 season, as well as Chasers Blue Books and undated voucher packs, are available for purchase through the Werner Park Ticket Office. For more information, visit omahastormchasers.com or call the Werner Park Ticket Office at (402) 738-5100 and follow the team on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.


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