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Francis receives top honor

September 10, 2004 - Texas League (TL) - Tulsa Drillers News Release

Former Tulsa Drillers pitcher Jeff Francis has been named the 2004 Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America. The 23-year old is the first player in Drillers history to receive Minor League Baseball’s top honor. He is also the first Colorado Rockies player to receive the award.

“This is something that I hadn't expected but is truly an honor," Francis said. "At the start of the year, my main goal was to go out and give my team a chance to win every time I took the mound. I share this award with all of my teammates, coaches and managers from this past season and would like to thank the entire Rockies organization for all its support."

Francis compiled one of the best seasons in Tulsa history this year. In 17 starts, he was 13-1 with a 1.98 ERA and 147 strikeouts in 113 2/3 innings pitched. At the time of his promotion to Triple A on July 7, he was on pace to win the Texas League’s pitching triple crown, leading all league hurlers in wins, strikeouts and earned run average.

Twice this season he set a Drillers Stadium record with 14 strikeouts in a game. Overall, he held Texas League hitters to a .180 batting average. Last week, he was named the TL's Pitcher of the Year.

Francis was promoted to the major leagues on August 25 and earned his first ML victory on September 5 in San Diego.

"Our organization places an emphasis on producing home-grown talent that will play a part in a championship for the Rockies and Denver," said Rockies Senior Director of Player Development Bill Geivett. "It's a great reward for not only Jeff, but our scouting and player development people to know we have the most dominant minor league player of this past year."

A native of Vancouver, British Columbia, Francis was Colorado's No. 1 selection (ninth overall) in the 2002 June Draft.

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