The Philadelphia Phillies have officially named their Paul Owens 2012 Minor League Hitter and Pitcher of the Year, giving the awards to who but Darin Ruf and Tyler Cloyd.
Both Ruf and Cloyd have a lot in common because both are past the ideal age for a player still in the minor leagues (Ruf is 26, Cloyd is 25). Each quietly snuck up the minor league system and dominated this year like no one expected. Each was probably the best overall player in their respective level of the minor leagues. Each will probably be a September call-up to the Phillies this year – Cloyd will actually be making his major league debut tonight for Cole Hamels, who was scratched with a stomach illness, and Ruf should get his chance soon.
Ruf batted .317/.408/.625 with 37 home runs and 98 RBIs this season, officially tying the single-season Reading Phillies record (owned by Ryan Howard in 2004). Ruf has been making a strong case for the Eastern League Triple Crown and he owns lefties, slugging a ridiculous .890 against them this season.
Ruf has 18 home runs in August, an absolutely insane total for a player at any level of professional baseball, and he’s homered in more games (16) than he hasn’t (12).
Meanwhile, Cloyd is 16-1 with a 2.26 ERA (4-0 in Double-A and 12-1 in Triple-A). He doesn’t walk many batters and his remarkable control will help him in the big leagues especially considering he doesn’t strike out many batters at all. Cloyd has been getting pretty fortunate in several key areas, notably an unmaintainable .226 batting average on balls in play and a 84.8 left on base percentage at the Triple-A level. It will be interesting to see how he does tonight against major league hitters, given that he only throws in the low nineties and doesn’t possess any overpowering secondary pitches. Tonight will be his first opportunity to show the team that he deserves a chance to be the fifth starter in 2013.