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Royals recognize top Minor Leaguers

Royals recognize top Minor Leaguers

DETROIT -- There's some consolation for Mitch Maier, now on the disabled list and at home while his face heals up.

Maier was honored as the Omaha Player of the Year on Friday as the Royals named their top players and pitchers for Minor League clubs in 2008.

A center fielder, Maier was called up to the Royals on July 24 after batting .316 with 24 doubles, nine homers and 41 RBIs for the Triple-A O-Royals. On Aug. 20 at Cleveland, he was hit in the face by a pitch, suffering three facial fractures and went on the DL.

The top Omaha pitcher is right-hander Devon Lowery, a reliever who has a 1-1 record, five saves and a 1.88 ERA in 30 games. He started the season with Double-A Northwest Arkansas and had a 0.69 ERA in nine games.

First baseman Kila Ka'aihue was named Northwest Arksansas' Player of the Year after banging 26 home runs with 79 RBIs and a .314 average in 91 games before being promoted to Omaha. A left-handed batter, he's hit 10 more home runs for Omaha.

The Naturals' top pitcher was Dan Cortes, a 6-foot-5 right-hander with a 9-4 record and 3.98 ERA in 22 starts. Cortes, 21, was obtained from the White Sox in the 2006 deal for Mike MacDougal.

The other honorees were:

WILMINGTON (Class A Advanced)
Right-hander Matt Kniginyzky has a 9-8 record and 3.57 ERA in 27 starts. Switch-hitting outfielder Derrick Robinson leads the Carolina League with 61 stolen bases and has a .244 average with 66 runs scored.

BURLINGTON, IOWA (Class A)
Third baseman Mike Moustakas, last year's first-round choice in the First-Year Player Draft, has a league-leading 22 homers, 71 RBIs and a .272 average. Left-hander Danny Duffy has an 8-4 record and 2.20 ERA in 17 starts with 102 strikeouts in 81 2/3 innings.

IDAHO FALLS (Rookie-Advanced)
Right-hander Bryan Casey, after missing 2007 with an elbow injury, is 3-4 with a 2.85 ERA in 14 starts. Catcher Sean McCauley is hitting .278 with 12 doubles and 19 RBIs for the Chukars.

BURLINGTON, N.C. (Rookie)
Right-hander Kelvin Herrera was 2-2 with a 1.42 ERA in 11 games (eight starts). He's also 2-0 with a 2.13 ERA at Class A Burlington. Switch-hitting second baseman Angel Franco is hitting .257 with 25 RBIs and 14 stolen bases.

SURPRISE (Rookie)
Left-hander Mike Montgomery, this year's sandwich-round pick, is 2-1 with a 2.11 ERA in 12 games. Catcher Jose Bonilla is hitting .357 with five homers and 24 RBIs in 34 games.

DOMINICAN ROYALS (Rookie)
Right-hander Willian Avinazar is 8-2 with a 2.37 ERA in 14 starts. Catcher/first baseman Henry Moreno, has a .314 average with 20 doubles and 41 RBIs.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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