KANSAS CITY, MO – The Kansas City Royals are pleased to announce the organizational award winners for the 2011 season. The honorees will be recognized at the Royals Awards Luncheon presented by Sprint and Teva on Wednesday, January 11, 2012. The event will take place at the Overland Park Convention Center in Overland Park, Kan.
During the event, the Royals will recognize 12 honorees for their contributions both on and off the field in 2011. Former Royals greats such as George Brett, Willie Wilson and Mike Sweeney will be among the presenters in attendance.
Previously, the club announced the following award recipients as voted on by the Kansas City Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). Pitcher Bruce Chen was the selection for the 2011 Bruce Rice Pitcher of the Year while Alex Gordon was the 2011 Les Milgram Player of the Year. Rookie first baseman Eric Hosmer was named the 2011 Joe Burke Special Achievement Award winner.
The remaining award recipients to be recognized at the event include:
Johnny Giavotella, recipient of the George Brett Hitter of the Year – recognizing the organization's top hitter. Giavotella was hitting .338 with a minor league-leading 153 hits for Triple-A Omaha at the time of his call-up to the Royals on August 5. The second baseman had 34 doubles, two triples, nine home runs, 72 RBI and 67 runs scored in 110 games for the Storm Chasers. The 24-year-old was a starter on the Pacific Coast League All-Star team, part of the 12-member All-PCL Team and recently named to the Topps Triple-A All-Star team. The University of New Orleans alum was the Royals' second-round selection in the 2008 Draft.
Kelvin Herrera, recipient of the Paul Splittorff Pitcher of the Year - recognizing the organization's top pitcher. The 21-year-old rocketed through the system this season by posting dominant numbers out of the bullpen that earned him a spot on the World squad in the XM Futures All-Star Game. Herrera combined to go 7-1 with 14 saves and a 1.60 ERA in 45 relief appearances for Wilmington (A Advanced), Northwest Arkansas (Double-A) and Omaha (Triple-A). He had his contract selected by the Royals on September 21 and made two relief appearances. Born and raised in Tenares, Dominican Republic, Herrera signed with the Royals as a non-drafted free agent on December 13, 2006.
Anthony Seratelli, recipient of the Willie Wilson Baserunner of the Year - recognizing the organization's top baserunner. The versatile Seratelli, 28, stole 35 bases in 40 attempts and was named the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (AA) Player of the Year. The switch hitter who hit .317 (20-for-63) with Surprise in the Arizona Fall League, was purchased by the Royals from the Windy City ThunderBolts of the Independent Frontier League on February 27, 2007.
Lorenzo Cain, recipient of the Frank White Defensive Player of the Year - recognizing the organization's top defensive player. The 25-year-old Cain patrolled center field for the Pacific Coast League champion Omaha Storm Chasers (Triple-A) and ranked second in the league with 13 outfield assists.
Tim Melville, recipient of the Mike Sweeney Award - recognizing a player who best represents the organization on and off the field. The Royals' fourth-round pick in 2008 volunteered himself for numerous hospital, community and other charitable works throughout the 2011 season with the Blue Rocks. Melville specifically volunteered for the non-paying community appearances, allowing his teammates the first crack at the compensated events. On the field, the 22-year-old from Wentzville, Mo., compiled an 11-10 record with a 4.32 ERA in 29 games, including 25 starts.
Mike Jirschele, recipient of the Dick Howser Player Development Person of the Year – recognizing an outstanding member of player development. Jirschele was named the Mike Coolbaugh Award winner by Minor League Baseball in November for showing an outstanding baseball work ethic, knowledge of the game and skill in mentoring young players on the field. The Omaha skipper led his club to the franchise's fifth title and first-ever Pacific Coast League crown in 2011, and picked up his 1,000th career managerial win in the process. This is Jirschele's fourth Howser Award as he previously earned the honor in 1992, 1994 and 2005.
Orlando Estevez, recipient of the Art Stewart Scout of the Year - recognizing an outstanding scout. Estevez has spent the past nine seasons with the Royals, the last five as Latin America Supervisor. Under Estevez, the Royals have strengthened the club's Latin American talent pool significantly with the signings of players such as catcher Salvador Perez, pitcher Kelvin Herrera, and infielders Cheslor Cuthbert and Humberto Arteaga.
Eric Edelstein, general manager of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, is the recipient of the Matt Minker Award - recognizing an outstanding minor league affiliate employee. Edelstein has served as the Naturals GM since October of 2006, several months before the franchise played its first game. Prior to his time in Springdale, the Cleveland, Ohio, native served as the GM with the Wichita Wranglers for three seasons. Edelstein was a co-recipient of the 2008 Texas League Executive of the Year and a member of the 2008 class of 40-under-40 by the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal.
In addition, the Royals will honor Lois Lakey with the Dan Quisenberry Special Achievement Award – recognizing an outstanding member of the community. Lakey, known to everyone as "Grandma Lois," is Children's Mercy Hospital's lone "full-time" volunteer as she has spent the past 12 years holding and comforting babies in the neonatal intensive care unit. At age 73, Lakey currently volunteers at the hospital eight hours a day, five days a week.
More details, including information on how to purchase tickets for the event, will be announced soon.