Kowar, McBroom, Witt Jr. Earn 2021 Triple-A East Honors
PAPILLION, Neb. - Right-hander Jackson Kowar, first baseman/outfielder Ryan McBroom, and infielder Bobby Witt Jr. earned Triple-A All-Star honors and league awards, Minor League Baseball announced Tuesday.
Kowar was named Triple-A East Pitcher of the Year in addition to earned All-Star honors as the league's top right-handed pitcher. McBroom earned Triple-A East All-Star honors at designated hitter while Witt Jr. was named the Top MLB Prospect in Triple-A East. Omaha tied for the Triple-A East lead with two All-Stars and led the league with three total representatives between the All-Star team and league awards.
Kowar posted a 3.46 ERA across 17 games (16 starts) with the Storm Chasers in his first season at the Triple-A level. The right-hander struck out 115 and walked 34 in 80.1 innings, compiling a 9-4 record. His 115 strikeouts led the league at the time of his promotion to Kansas City on Sept. 1. Among Triple-A East pitchers with a minimum of 80.0 innings-pitched, Kowar ranked first in strikeout percentage (34.0%), sixth in batting average against (.220), and eighth in ERA (3.46).
He began the season as Omaha's Opening Day starter, tossing 5.1 shutout innings with a career-high-tying nine strikeouts in his Triple-A debut on May 4 vs. St. Paul. He completed at least 5.0 innings with no more than one run allowed in each of his five May starts en route to earning Triple-A East Pitcher of the Month honors for May with a 1.01 ERA in 26.2 innings. Following his first start in June, 5.0 innings of one-hit ball on June 2 vs. Iowa, Kowar lowered his ERA to a league-leading 0.85 and was ultimately selected by the Kansas City Royals for his Major League debut on June 7 at Los Angeles (AL).
Kowar returned to the Triple-A level on July 3 at St. Paul and tied his career high with 10 strikeouts-a mark set earlier in the year on May 22 vs. Iowa. He struck out at least eight batters in four of his five starts in July. Kowar completed his second stint with Omaha by striking out nine batters in 6.0 shutout innings on Aug. 21 vs. Columbus before striking out seven with zero walks in 5.0 innings of two-run ball on Aug. 27 at Iowa. His Triple-A East All-Star honor is the second All-Star honor of his career (Carolina League Midseason All-Star, 2019).
McBroom played a team-best 115 games, batting .261/.337/.524. He led the league with a career-best 32 home runs-also a Storm Chasers era (2011-pres.) single-season franchise record-while also leading the league in runs scored (78), rankings second in RBIs (88), tied for fourth in extra-base hits (48), seventh in slugging percentage (.524), and ninth in total hits (113). The 29-year-old recorded three multi-homer games, including hitting a career-best three home runs on June 13 at St. Paul. He smacked his modern franchise record breaking 31st home run of the season on Sept. 17 vs. Iowa.
McBroom hit either fourth (98 games) or fifth (17) in each of his games with Omaha, batting in the middle of a Storm Chasers offense that led the league in runs (746), hits (1129), home runs (231), RBIs (708), stolen bases (150), slugging percentage (.478), and OPS (.820). His Triple-A East All-Star honor is the ninth of his career (2019 International League Postseason All-Star, 2019 International League Midseason All-Star, 2017 Eastern League Midseason All-Star, 2017 Florida State League Postseason All-Star, 2017 Florida State League Midseason All-Star, 2015 Midwest League Postseason All-Star, 2015 Midwest League Midseason All-Star, 2014 Northwest League Midseason All-Star).
Witt Jr. made his Triple-A debut with the Storm Chasers on July 20 following 61 games with Double-A Northwest Arkansas. 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). He finished his 62 games at the Triple-A level batting .285/.352/.581 with 24 doubles, 17 home runs, 46 RBIs, 55 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases.
The consensus No. 3 prospect in baseball and top prospect in the Royals organization, Witt Jr. earned Triple-A East Player of the Month honors for August-his first full month at the Triple-A level. He began the month by earning Triple-A East Player of the Week honors for Aug. 2-8, hitting four home runs-including a grand slam-in a six-game span. 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. 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.
Overall, the 21-year-old finished the season 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 Sept. 30 at Iowa prior to the game being canceled before becoming official.
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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