Walker, Wilson head O's Minors award winners

Prospects honored as Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively

Walker, Wilson head O's Minors award winners

BALTIMORE -- Orioles infielder Christian Walker and right-handed pitch Tyler Wilson have been named the organization's Minor League Players of the Year, the club announced on Thursday.

Walker, the Brooks Robinson Minor League Player of the Year, hit a combined .288/.357/.489 with 53 extra-base hits, 96 RBIs and 73 runs scored in 139 total games with Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk leading all O's Minor Leaguers in home runs (26) and RBIs this season.

"It's a big honor," Walker said. "I'm just excited to be here. There's a lot of offense and a lot of great players and a lot of hard workers throughout the organization, so it's exciting and, like I said, an honor."

The 23-year-old, selected by the Orioles in the fourth round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, was named the first baseman for this year's Eastern League All-Star team, finishing the season among the league leaders despite being promoted in July.

"I think with one exception Christian was consistent. The thing I'm most happy about with him is how he's made strides defensively," O's manager Buck Showalter said. "He's really, it's something that a lot of people talk about but you got to preach it. 'Hey, you're not going to play up here if you can't defend.'"

Wilson, the Jim Palmer Minor League Pitcher of the Year, went a combined 14-8 with a 3.67 ERA in 166 2/3 innings pitched for Bowie and Norfolk this season. He led all Orioles Minor Leaguers in wins and strikeouts (157) and ranked seventh in ERA (3.67).

"Being in Triple-A was great, it's each of our goals to work and improve, take something away from the players you've played with, the coaches that are there for your use," Wilson said. "At Triple-A, we had a great opportunity to play with guys that played in the World Series last year, won the World Series last year, guys that have had 10 years in the Major Leagues and really listen to their mind and their experiences and what they've gone through. That type of knowledge is really an invaluable part of the game."

The 24-year-old Wilson was a 10th-round selection in the 2011 Draft out of the University of Virginia. He was named was named the Organizational Pitcher of the Month for April, when he went 4-0 with a 2.76 ERA in five starts for the Baysox. Wilson also received Pitcher of the Week honors for the week ending April 27.

"Wilson has been so consistent. … Two or three outings I've seen of him, he looks really good. He's a competitive guy," Showalter said. "I keep asking guys about him and like [Triple-A manager Ron Johnson] said, 'This guy is a winning pitcher.' He knows how to win. He knows how to minimize damage when guys get on He can locate a fastball. There's not a wipeout pitch but when you put it in one package, it's good stuff. I don't think it's one of these awards that these guys won just statistically. That's part of it I'm sure, you'd have to ask Dan [Duquette], he selected them with some other people, but it also had to do with they are also prospects."

Additionally, right-handed pitcher Mark Blackmar was named this year's recipient of the Elrod Hendricks Minor League Community Service Award. Blackmar was traded to the White Sox for Alejandro De Aza last week.

The Delmarva Shorebirds' coaching staff of Ryan Minor (manager), Alan Mills (pitching coach), Paco Figueroa (hitting coach), and Shawn McGill (coach) has been named the winner of the Cal Ripken Sr. Player Development Award, presented to Minor League staff members who exemplifies the qualities of the late Oriole who is regarded as the architect of "The Oriole Way."

The winners were honored in an on-field ceremony before Thursday's game against the Cincinnati Reds, with awards presented by director of player development Brian Graham and director of Minor League operations Kent Qualls.

The O's also recognized Chance Sisco for winning the 2014 South Atlantic League batting crown. Sisco, 19, batted .340 (145-for-426) and also led the SAL in on-base percentage (.406).

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.