The Washington Nationals today named outfielder Billy Burns Minor League Player of the Year and right-handed pitcher Taylor Jordan Minor League Pitcher of the Year. The club also named second baseman Tony Renda the recipient of the inaugural Bob Boone Award. Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo, Assistant General Manager and Vice President of Player Development Bob Boone, Director of Player Development Doug Harris and Director of Minor League Operations Mark Scialabba made the announcement.
Burns, who finished the season with Double-A Harrisburg after spending the season's first four months with Single-A Potomac, hit .315, earned 72 walks, posted a .425 on-base percentage and swiped 74 bases in 121 games for the two affiliates. Burns led the Nationals' system in batting average (among those to play in at least 100 minor-league contests), on-base percentage (ninth in MiLB) and stolen bases (third in MiLB).
Burns, 24, earned a spot on the Carolina League's post-season All-Star team. He was Washington's 32nd-round selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of Mercer (GA) University.
Jordan, 24, went 9-1 with a 1.00 ERA in 15 games/14 starts in Washington's system this season to earn the citation. Jordan began his first complete campaign after September 2011 right-elbow surgery with Potomac (2-1, 1.24 ERA, 6 starts) before debuting with Harrisburg (7-0, 0.83 ERA, 9 games/8 starts) on May 12. Of the 271 outs recorded this season by Jordan in the minor leagues, 210 (or 77.5%) came via the ground ball (138) or the strikeout (72).
Jordan was invited to represent the Nationals in MLB's annual Futures Game, but he did not participate as he made his big league debut for Washington on June 28 at New York (NL). In nine starts for the Nationals, Jordan went 1-3 with a 3.66 ERA and registered a ground-ball percentage (71.8%) that would rank second in MLB with enough innings to qualify. Jordan was selected by Washington in the ninth round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft out of Brevard (FL) Community College.
Renda, 22, becomes the initial recipient of the Bob Boone Award, which will be granted annually to the Nationals minor leaguer who best demonstrates the professionalism, leadership, loyalty, passion, selflessness, durability, determination and work ethic required to play the game the Washington Nationals way.
Renda hit .294, posted a .380 on-base percentage and earned South Atlantic League All-Star status in a team-leading 135 games with Hagerstown in his first full professional campaign. The Nationals' 2nd-round selection in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of California, Renda ranked among Single-A South Atlantic League leaders in games played (first, 135), runs (first, 99), doubles (first, 43), hits (second, 153), strikeout ratio (third, K/9.3 plate appearances), walks (fourth, 68) and batting (6th). Renda also ranked fourth among Nationals farmhand with 30 stolen bases.
WASHINGTON NATIONALS MINOR LEAGUE PLAYER AND PITCHER OF THE YEAR
2013: OF Billy Burns, RHP Taylor Jordan, 2B Tony Renda (Boone)
2012: INF Matthew Skole, RHP Nathan Karns
2011: INF Steve Lombardozzi, RHP Brad Peacock
2010: OF Tyler Moore, LHP Tom Milone
2009: C Derek Norris, RHP Brad Meyers
2008: OF Leonard Davis, RHP Jordan Zimmermann
2007: OF Justin Maxwell, LHP John Lannan
2006: INF Kory Casto, RHP Zechry Zinicola
2005: INF Kory Casto, LHP Michael O'Connor