Warning: Some of these awards and acknowledgments are serious and some ... not so much.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: PITCHER
RHP Chris Devenski earns the honors as he put up a 2.16 ERA and a 0.914 WHIP in 48 appearances for the Astros. Phenomenal season for The Dragon.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: POSITION PLAYER
IF Alex Bregman, the 2015 first round pick, flew through the Astros system, making his debut one year and one month after the day he signed. After collecting only one hit in his first 32 at-bats, Bregman had a .308/.355/.562 batting line the rest of the way to silence his detractors.
TWEETER OF THE YEAR
LHP Zac Person wins the honor, following in the footsteps of other lefty pitchers such as Kenny Long and Brian Holmes. Here are a few samples of the Person charm.
On a scale from One to Zero, are you happy?— Zachary Person (@Zac_Person) July 20, 2016
Somewhere between amateur and grandmaster of iambic pentameter— Zachary Person (@Zac_Person) June 9, 2016
YOUR HIT PARADEHow come cheerleaders feel the need to do a stunt every time they visit/tour somewhere?— Zachary Person (@Zac_Person) June 5, 2016
I'm bout to start tossin bullpens all over the globe
2B/3B Nick Tanielu led the system in hits with 145 in 130 games. OF Myles Straw collected 124 hits in only 87 games!!!
3B J.D. Davis collected a system-leading 34 doubles in his 126 games while OF Drew Ferguson collected 29 doubles in 105 games.
OF Bobby Boyd earns the Astros Triple Crown by collecting 10 triples in his 105 games.
GOING, GOING, GONE!!!
3B J.D. Davis (126 games) and OF Jason Martin (110 games) tied with 23 home runs each.
THOSE EYES THO!
Yes, I made LHP Austin Nicely take off his sunglasses for this shot. Very Nicely.
COOLEST BULLPEN, PART I
The Quad Cities bullpen not only unified with mustachioed solidarity this season, they also managed a reportedly decent version of the National Anthem!
RHP James Hoyt was so dominant that he should have his own award! He led the Astros system in saves (29), lowest WHIP for 50+ innings pitched (0.873), lowest ERA for 50+ innings pitched (1.64), and strikeouts per nine innings (15.2) Show off.
BEST BASEBALL NAME
You just can't beat Carmen Benedetti for a good old school baseball name. And he wears high socks too!
RHP Cesar Valdez led the Astros system with 140 strikeouts in 127.1 innings. LHP Matt Bower had only four fewer striketouts (136) in his 110.1 innings of work.
BROTHERS FROM ANOTHER MOTHER
OF Jason Martin and IF Antonio Nunez appear to be kindred spirits.
ARMED AND DANGEROUS, PART I
Garrett Stubbs caught 51% of would be base stealers in his 67 games behind the plate. Carlos Canelon matched that mark for short season teams.
THE ROADRUNNER AWARD
OF Ramon Laureano was a terror on the basepaths this season, leading the Astros system with 43 in 116 games!
HE'S HOW OLD?!?!
Former Astros outfielder and current Astros minor league hitting coach Cesar Cedeno may be 65 years old, but he's still got a few moves in him.
WALK LIKE A MAN
OF Derek Fisher (129 games) and 1B Jon Singleton (124 games) each walked a whopping 83 times this season.
THAT HAIR THO, PART I
OF Frankeny Fernandez was on point.
SHUT THE DOOR!
Both RHP Brady Rodgers and RHP Jose Luis Hernandez collected complete game shutouts this season. On May 4th, Rodgers allowed 4 hits and no walks, striking out 9 on his way to a nine-inning complete game shutout. Hernandez accomplished his in a 7-inning game on August 24th, allowing 7 hits and striking out 6.
COOLEST BULLPEN, PART II
The Greeneville bullpen (RHP Devon Carr, RHP Lucas Williams, RHP Reggie Johnson and LHP Luis Ramirez) are cool, collected and ready to go!
THAT'S GONNA LEAVE A MARK
OF Drew Ferguson and OF Ramon Laureano managed to take a base the hard way 13 times each as the co-hit-by-pitch leaders in the system.
THE ABOVE AND BEYOND AWARD
On July 17th, Greeneville C Gabriel Bracamonte singled with one out, advanced to second on a wild pitch and then scored from second on a single from Abraham Toro. Sure, a catcher scoring from second on a single isn't that rare, but when you take into consideration that it was Bracamonte's 9th at-bat and he had caught all 20 innings of a 20-inning game, it's surprising that he could even walk!
THAT HAIR THO, PART II
SS Jonathan Arauz was on fleek.
ARMED AND DANGEROUS, PART II
Kyle Tucker (105 outfield games) and Ramon Laureano (110 outfield games) led the system in OF assists with 12 each. But Johnny Sewald (11 outfield assists in 83 outfield games) and Osvaldo Duarte (11 in only 38 games playing the outfield!) were breathing down their necks.
The Bromance of OF Andrew Aplin and IF Nolan Fontana is one for the ages ...
but RHP Joe Musgrove and IF Alex Bregman tried to give them a run for their money.
TEACHER'S PETThey seriously love each other 😂💙 I'm cracking up!! @astros @musgrove23Stros @ABREG_1 pic.twitter.com/QixcQeK4xY— Terra Musgrove (@terra_nicoleee) August 21, 2016
OF Frankeny Fernandez not only learned English in one year at the Astros Dominican Academy, he is quite fluent. Doris Gonzalez, the Astros Supervisor of Language Development and Acculturation, has had many success stories but she has to be particularly proud of Frankeny.
THAT HAIR THO, PART III + ONE RIPSNORTER OF A GAME!
And Australian native 1B Connor McDonald's hair was fair dinkum! As was his second game of the season in which he hit for the cycle (yes, the triple was last and he was busting it!), and he collected a walk as well ... just for grins.
COMEBACK OF THE YEAR
Sometimes there is more to a comeback than just putting up great numbers. Try coming back from Tommy John surgery and cancer. That's what LHP Ben Smith did this year.
And since I can't top that, I'll bring this post to a conclusion. Hope you enjoyed the 2016 Astros minor league season and getting to know a few of these players as much as I did.