08/29/08 4:00 PM ET
Royals recognize top Minor Leaguers
Maier, Lowery named Triple-A Omaha's No. 1 performers
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
Maier was honored as the Omaha Player of the Year on Friday as the Royals named their top players and pitchers for Minor League clubs in 2008.
A center fielder, Maier was called up to the Royals on July 24 after batting .316 with 24 doubles, nine homers and 41 RBIs for the Triple-A O-Royals. On Aug. 20 at Cleveland, he was hit in the face by a pitch, suffering three facial fractures and went on the DL.
The top Omaha pitcher is right-hander Devon Lowery, a reliever who has a 1-1 record, five saves and a 1.88 ERA in 30 games. He started the season with Double-A Northwest Arkansas and had a 0.69 ERA in nine games.
First baseman Kila Ka'aihue was named Northwest Arksansas' Player of the Year after banging 26 home runs with 79 RBIs and a .314 average in 91 games before being promoted to Omaha. A left-handed batter, he's hit 10 more home runs for Omaha.
The Naturals' top pitcher was Dan Cortes, a 6-foot-5 right-hander with a 9-4 record and 3.98 ERA in 22 starts. Cortes, 21, was obtained from the White Sox in the 2006 deal for Mike MacDougal.
The other honorees were:
WILMINGTON (Class A Advanced)
Right-hander Matt Kniginyzky has a 9-8 record and 3.57 ERA in 27 starts. Switch-hitting outfielder Derrick Robinson leads the Carolina League with 61 stolen bases and has a .244 average with 66 runs scored.
BURLINGTON, IOWA (Class A)
Third baseman Mike Moustakas, last year's first-round choice in the First-Year Player Draft, has a league-leading 22 homers, 71 RBIs and a .272 average. Left-hander Danny Duffy has an 8-4 record and 2.20 ERA in 17 starts with 102 strikeouts in 81 2/3 innings.
IDAHO FALLS (Rookie-Advanced)
Right-hander Bryan Casey, after missing 2007 with an elbow injury, is 3-4 with a 2.85 ERA in 14 starts. Catcher Sean McCauley is hitting .278 with 12 doubles and 19 RBIs for the Chukars.
BURLINGTON, N.C. (Rookie)
Right-hander Kelvin Herrera was 2-2 with a 1.42 ERA in 11 games (eight starts). He's also 2-0 with a 2.13 ERA at Class A Burlington. Switch-hitting second baseman Angel Franco is hitting .257 with 25 RBIs and 14 stolen bases.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.