Ballots for the Minor League Baseball Yearly (MiLBY) Awards have recently been revealed. On them are several Cleveland Indians minor league teams, players, and two spectacular plays. Voting is open now, and like most online voting systems they have given up trying to regulate duplicate voting, so you can just vote however many times you damn well please until October 27.
Shawn Armstrong, of the International League Champion Columbus Clippers, is up for Top Relief Pitcher. In his 46 appearances for the Indians Triple-A team, Armstrong held a 2.36 ERA, 38.1 K%, and a 12.4 BB%. His excellent play throughout the season even netted the 25-year-old a stint with the big league club where he allowed only two runs in eight innings of work.
Also up for Top Relief Pitcher is Jeff Johnson of the Akron RubberDucks. Johnson had an even more impressive season at what is often regarded as the most talent-laden level of the minors. Over 49 appearances, he allowed only five total runs and earned a call-up on for the Columbus Clippers Championship playoff run.
Obviously, the Clippers are nominated for Best Team. The Indians Triple-A affiliate finished the season with the best regular-season record in the International League and they ended the season by winning the Governors’ Cup Championship for the first time since 2011.
Bryson Myles has a Best Home Run nomination for his dinger that completed the cycle back on August 25.
And finally, two top plays made by Cleveland farmhands were good enough to be nominated for Top Play of the year. Jesus Aguilar’s hidden ball tag of Indianapolis Indians shortstop Gustavo Nunez earns a nomination. While it is not the most athletic play in the world (which no one in their right mind should be expected Aguilar to make), it’s hard to ignore a good ‘old fashion hidden ball trick.
The other play nominated is a little more convincing as a Top Play nominee. Ryan Rohlinger dove to stop a ground ball and threw from his knees to nail a baserunner, preserving a no-hitter from RubberDucks starting pitcher Ryan Merritt.
One of the biggest snubs for the Indians is the lack of a nomination for Bobby Bradley as Breakout Prospect. Playing the majority of his season for Single-A Lake County Captains, 19-year-old Bradley hit 27 home runs in the pitcher-friendly Midwest League -- the fifth highest home run total by a teenager in the last decade. Maybe you could make the argument that no player can "break out" in their second career season, but the kid played his way from no one's radar to on just about everyone’s radar. It’s impressive stuff either way, even with a high strikeout rate that will need to be trimmed if he ever hopes to make it to higher levels.
Less so breaking out and more so living up to his potential, Bradley Zimmer is also another potential choice for Breakout Prospect that did not find his way onto the ballot. In his second season in the minors, Zimmer hit for a .308/.403/.493 slash in 78 games for the High-A Carolina Hillcats and earned a promotion to Double-A during the All-Star break. Granted, he hit a bit of a wall at that level, hitting for a .219/.313/.374 slash in 49 games, but his incredible season at High-A makes me want to write angry forum posts about how he was obviously snubbed and the people behind putting the ballot together are obviously idiots who hate the Indians.
If you want to help seal up these well-deserved awards for Indians prospects, you can vote by going to http://www.milb.com/news/awards/y2015/ and voting for Indians players to your heart’s content. There is no way to sort by team for voting, but I found going to each page and CRTL+F’ing "Indians" brought them up easily. Happy voting!