Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN - The Minnesota Twins announced today that outfielder Byron Buxton has been named the 2013 Sherry Robertson Award winner as the Twins Minor League Player of the Year and left-handed pitcher Andrew Albers has been named the 2013 Jim Rantz Award winner as the Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
Buxton, 19, began the season at Single-A Cedar Rapids and hit .341 (92-for-270) with 15 doubles, 10 triples, eight home runs, 55 RBI, 68 runs scored, 32 steals and 44 walks in 68 games with the Kernels. He was promoted to Single-A Ft. Myers on June 24 and hit .326 (71-for-218) with four doubles, eight triples, four home runs, 22 RBI, 41 runs scored, 23 steals and 32 walks in 57 games with the Miracle. He combined to bat .334 (163-for-488) with 19 doubles, 18 triples, 12 home runs, 77 RBI, 109 runs scored and 55 stolen bases in 125 games this season.
The Baxley, Ga. native led the minor leagues in triples, ranked second in runs scored and 12th in stolen bases. He was named Midwest League MVP as well as the top minor league prospect at midseason and Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America, the second Twin to win the honor after Joe Mauer earned the award in 2003. Buxton was the Twins first round (2nd overall) selection in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft from Appling County (Ga.) High School.
Albers, 27, began the season at Triple-A Rochester and went 11-5, 2.86 ERA (132.1 IP, 42 ER), allowing 124 hits with 32 walks, 116 strikeouts and three complete games (one shutout) in 22 starts. He had his contract purchased by Minnesota in August and went 2-5, 4.05 ERA (60.0 IP, 27 ER), allowing 64 hits with seven walks and 25 strikeouts in 10 starts, including 17.1 scoreless innings to begin his career, setting a Twins record by a starter.
The 6-foot-1, 201-pounder was named to the Triple-A All-Star game in 2013. At the time of his promotion to Minnesota, he ranked first in the International League in strikeouts, tied for second in wins, third in innings pitched and fifth in ERA. The Battleford, Saskatchewan native was signed by the Twins as a minor league free agent March 11, 2011 and was originally drafted in the 10th round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft by the San Diego Padres.
The Sherry Robertson Award, named in honor of the Twins first farm director, was established in 1970 to recognize the Twins top minor league performer each season. Beginning in 2002, the award began recognizing the Twins Minor League Player of the Year while an additional award was created to recognize the Twins Minor League Pitcher of the Year. This award was named in honor of former Twins Minor League Director and Twins Hall of Famer, Jim Rantz. Past winners of the Sherry Robertson Award include: Butch Wynegar (1974), Kent Hrbek (1981), Gene Larkin (1986), Paul Sorrento (1989), Denny Neagle (1990), Marty Cordova (1992), LaTroy Hawkins (1993 and '94), Todd Walker (1996), David Ortiz (1997), Doug Mientkiewicz (1998), Michael Cuddyer (2001), Joe Mauer (2003), Jason Kubel (2004), Alexi Casilla (2006), Brian Dozier (2011) and Oswaldo Arcia (2012), while past Jim Rantz award winners have included, Jesse Crain (2003), Scott Baker (2004), Francisco Liriano (2005), Matt Garza (2006), Kevin Slowey (2007), Kyle Gibson (2010), Liam Hendriks (2011) and B.J. Hermsen (2012).
Both Buxton and Albers, along with the Twins other 2013 award winners, will be recognized at the Ninth Annual Diamond Awards dinner, which will be held on Thursday, January 23, 2014 beginning at 5:30 p.m. at Target Field.