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Gil Meche, Mark Grudzielanek named Royals pitcher, player of the year
11/08/2007 11:34 AM ET
KANSAS CITY -- The Kansas City Royals have announced that Gil Meche has been named the 2007 Bruce Rice Pitcher of the Year and Mark Grudzielanek has been named the 2007 Les Milgram Player of the Year. In addition, pitcher Brian Bannister received the 2007 Joe Burke Special Achievement award. The awards were voted on by the Kansas City Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Meche, 29, was an American League All-Star in his first season with the Royals. He posted a 9-13 record, but set career highs in starts (34), innings (216), ERA (3.67) and quality starts (23) while equaling his career high with 156 strikeouts. Meche tied for the A.L. lead in starts and finished eighth in innings pitched. His 3.67 ERA was the best by a Royals starting pitcher since Kevin Appier posted a 3.40 ERA in 1997 while his 23 quality starts were the most by a KC hurler since 1993.

Grudzielanek, 37, hit .302 with 32 doubles, three triples, six home runs, 51 RBI and 70 runs scored in his second season with the Royals. His average led all Royals regulars; he finished second in doubles and third in hits and runs despite playing only 116 games due to injuries. His .302 average marked the fifth time in his career he topped the .300 mark (also 1996, 1999, 2003, 2004). On top of his solid offensive numbers, the 2006 Gold Glove winner remained amazingly consistent in the field, posting a .988 fielding percentage (6 errors in 490 total chances) at second base. Grudzielanek was the Joe Burke Special Achievement winner following the 2006 season.

Bannister, 26, was one of the best rookies in the American League in 2007, his first in a Royals uniform. The right hander went 12-9 with a 3.87 ERA in 27 starts, ranking fourth in the A.L. in ERA and second in wins. Among Royals rookies, his ERA was seventh-best all-time and the lowest since Kevin Appier's franchise-record 2.76 mark in 1990. Bannister was awarded the American League Rookie of the Month Award in June and August and picked up the Royals Pitcher of the Month Award three straight months from June through August.

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