Hellweg, Rogers take Brewers' Minor League honors
No. 3 prospect Hellweg named Pitcher of the Year; Rogers named Player of the Year
MILWAUKEE -- The awards continued to pile up Friday for right-hander Johnny Hellweg, who was named the Brewers' Minor League Pitcher of the Year a day before rejoining the Major League rotation for a start against the Cubs.
Hellweg, who is rated the organization's No. 3 prospect by MLB.com and last week was named the Triple-A Pacific Coast League's Player of the Year, was honored alongside Brewers Minor League Player of the Year Jason Rogers, a first baseman who is less well-known to many of the organization's fans.
Each of the awards is named for Robin Yount, and they will be presented to Hellweg and Rogers in a pregame ceremony at Miller Park later this month.
"It's a cool accolade," said Hellweg. "I beat out some good guys. It's a great honor, and I'm glad to have it."
The Brewers have been handing out the awards since 1999, and they are a strong predictor of a promotion to the Major Leagues. The only Player of the Year who has not made it to the Majors is Hunter Morris, who won just last year. The only Pitcher of the Year who did not make it was 2009 winner Amaury Rivas.
"We congratulate Johnny and Jason on their great seasons and well-deserved recognition," Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said in a statement. "In his first season at the Triple-A level, Johnny showed why he was chosen as the top pitcher in the Pacific Coast League, and we're excited to see him contribute at the Major League level. Jason had a great finish to the season in the Southern League as the league's top run producer while playing nearly every game this season.
"This is also a reflection of our player development and scouting staffs as they work hard to provide young players the opportunity to play in Milwaukee."
Hellweg, 6-foot-9 and 24 years old, was 12-5 with a 3.15 ERA in 23 starts at Triple-A Nashville, where he was named the PCL's top pitcher. He led the league in winning percentage (.706) and opponents' batting average (.228) and was among the leaders in ERA (second) and wins (tied for second). Hellweg struggled mightily in his first Major League stint in Milwaukee but won 11 of his last 12 decisions with Nashville, including a stretch in which he went 9-0 with a 1.16 ERA over 10 starts from May 16 to July 30.
Hellweg has owned a high profile in the Brewers' system since last July, when he was traded from the Angels to the Brewers with shortstop Jean Segura and pitcher Ariel Pena for right-hander Zack Greinke.
"I'm [looking] to show them that I can do what I was doing [in Triple-A] up here," he said. "It's just a mind-set [that] it's going to be the same results if I do the same thing [that I did in Triple-A]."
Rogers, 25, played the entire season at Double-A Huntsville and enjoyed a breakthrough summer, batting .270 with 22 home runs and 87 RBIs in 133 games. He led the Southern League in RBIs and ranked among the leaders in home runs (tied for second), total bases (third, 225) and extra-base hits (tied for fourth, 49).
Drafted in the 32nd round by the Brewers in 2010 from Columbus State University, Rogers earned the organization's Player of the Month honors in July (.338, seven homers, 20 RBIs) and August (.333, five homers, 15 RBIs).
Rogers will represent the Brewers in the Arizona Fall League.
This marks the second straight season that a Huntsville first baseman was named Brewers Player of the Year. Morris took the honor in 2012.