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01/04/2013 2:19 PM ET

Texas Rangers announce 2012 minor league award winners

Hunter Pence and John Burkett also among honorees at Dr Pepper Awards Show on January 11 Luis Martinez claimed by Baltimore; Eli Whiteside assigned outright to Round Rock

Arlington, Texas--The Texas Rangers announced today the team’s 2012 minor league award recipients. In addition, it was announced that Hunter Pence and John Burkett will also be honored at the 2013 Texas Rangers Dr Pepper Awards Show, which will be held in conjunction with Texas Rangers Fan Fest on Friday, January 11 at the Arlington Convention Center. 

Tickets for Fan Fest, which will take place January 11-12, are on sale in advance at texasrangers.com/fanfest or by calling 972-RANGERS. Tickets will also be available at the door. Fan Fest will be open on Friday, January 11 from 4:00 until 10:30 p.m. with the Awards Show taking place from 8:00 until 10:00 p.m. A Fan Fest ticket is good for admission to the Awards Show. Fan Fest hours on Saturday are 9:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.

The Rangers’ 2012 Minor League Award winners are Mike Olt—Tom Grieve Player of the Year; Cody Buckel—Nolan Ryan Pitcher of the Year; Engel Beltre—Defender of the Year; Ben Rowen—Reliever of the Year. All four will receive their awards at the Dr Pepper Awards Show. Information on the four is included at the bottom of the release.

Pence will receive the 2012 Texas Professional Player of the Year Award. The Arlington High School graduate and former University of Texas-Arlington standout helped the San Francisco Giants capture their second World Series title in the last three years in October. Acquired from Philadelphia at the trading deadline, Pence belted seven homers and drove in 45 runs over 59 games as the Giants rightfielder the rest of the season. He also started all 16 games in San Francisco’s post-season run and hit .286 in the team’s World Series four-game sweep of Detroit. Overall, Pence had 24 homers and a career best 104 RBI in 160 games with Philadelphia and San Francisco in 2012.

Burkett is the recipient of the 2013 Mark Holtz Alumni Award. The right-hander played a huge role in the Rangers’ winning their first A.L. West Division title in 1996. Acquired from Florida on August 8 of that year, he was 5-2 in 10 regular season starts the rest of the year went the route in a 6-2 victory at New York in Game 1 of the ALDS, Texas’ lone post-season victory for 14 seasons before Game 1 of the 2010 ALDS versus Tampa Bay. Burkett pitched three more seasons in Texas, winning a total of 32 games. Overall, the right-hander was 166-136 with the Giants, Rangers, Braves, and Red Sox from 1990-2003 with a career best 22 victories with San Francisco in 1993.

Other award winners to be honored next Friday include Player of the Year Adrian Beltre, Pitcher of the Year Matt Harrison, Rookie of the Year Yu Darvish, Harold McKinney Good Guy Award recipient Joe Furukawa, and Jim Sundberg Community Achievement Award winner Nelson Cruz.





It was also announced today that catcher Luis Martinez has been claimed on outright waivers by the Baltimore Orioles and that catcher Eli Whiteside has cleared waivers and been assigned outright to Triple-A Round Rock of the Pacific Coast League. Martinez, who appeared in 10 games over two stints with Texas in 2012, had been designated for assignment on December 26 to make room for A.J. Pierzynski on the major league roster. Whiteside, who was acquired on a waiver claim from Toronto on December 12, was designated for assignment yesterday to make room for Jason Frasor on the 40-man roster. Whiteside, who played in 12 games with San Francisco in 2012, will be in the Rangers’ 2013 major league spring training camp as a non-roster invitee.


Information on the Rangers 2012 Minor League Award winners:



Earned the organization’s top minor league award despite spending only four months at Frisco (AA)…batted .282 with 17 doubles, 28 homers, and 82 RBI in just 95 games for the RoughRiders…led the Texas League in homers and slugging (.579) and ranked 4th in RBI, all highs in the organization…was a 1st team selection at 3B on Baseball America’s Minor League All-Star Team…was the Rangers Minor League Player of the Month for both May and June …led all Double-A players in homers at the time of promotion to Texas on August 2 where he spent the rest of the season…was selected by Texas as a supplemental pick in the 1st round of the 2010 1st Year Player Draft. 



Right-hander combined to go 10-8, 2.49 with 159 strikeouts in 144.2 innings over 26 games with Myrtle Beach (High-A) and Frisco (AA)…was a 2nd team selection on Baseball America’s Minor League All-Star Team… had the lowest ERA among all Texas minor leaguers and was 1st in strikeouts…held opponents to an organization low .206 batting average…was 5-3, 1.31 with 91 strikeouts in 75.2 innings for Myrtle Beach and was a 3-time Carolina League Pitcher of the Week…was promoted to Frisco in June, going 5-5, 3.78 in 13 games/10 starts with 68 strikeouts in 69.0 innings…won his last 4 decisions with a 0.56 ERA…was selected by Texas in the 2nd round of the 2010 1st Year Player Draft. 



Centerfielder spent the entire season at Frisco (AA), batting .261 with 13 homers, 55 RBI and an organization best 36 steals in 133 games…had 17 triples, tied for the 2nd highest total in the minor leagues…played outstanding defense, committing just one error in 320 total chances and recording 12 outfield assists…played in the Texas League All-Star Game and was selected to the league’s post-season All-Star squad…was a 2-time Texas League Player of the Week…was acquired from the Boston Red Sox in a 4-player trade in July 2007.



Right-hander led the Carolina League with 19 saves, most among all Texas minor leaguers, at Myrtle Beach (High-A)…was 5-0, 1.57 with 52 strikeouts in 57.1 innings over 38 appearances with the Pelicans…was selected to the Carolina League post-season All-Star Team…had 18 saves after the All-Star break, most in the minor leagues…had a 31.2 innings scoreless streak from June 4-August 14…opponents hit just .201…was selected by Texas in the 22nd round of the 2010 1st Year Player Draft.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.