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Austin Hays named Orioles' minor league player of the year

Orioles outfielder Austin Hays, whose breakout season is ending with a September call-up and the opportunity to get regular big league innings down the stretch, has been named the organization’s Brooks Robinson minor league player of the year.

Hays, who went from being drafted to making the majors in a 16-month span, emerged as one of the Orioles’ top prospects this season, hitting .329/.365/.593 with 32 doubles, five triples, 32 homers and 95 RBIs between High-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie.

Hays’ season also earned him national recognition as one of five finalists for Baseball America’s minor league player of the year award.

He was promoted to the majors Sept. 5 and has started each of the past six games for the Orioles in right field. He is 7-for-27 with two doubles, one homer and five RBIs.

As part of the Orioles’ other minor league organizational awards announced Thursday, Bowie catcher Austin Wynns is the recipient of the Elrod Hendricks Community Service Award.

According to the Orioles, Wynns participated as an instructor for multiple youth baseball camps throughout the season and served as one of the main speakers for a Baysox community event that gave fans the opportunity to interact with players.

Bowie hitting coach Butch Davis received the Cal Ripken Sr. Player Development Award and East Coast Scouting Supervisor Kirk Fredriksson won the Jim Russo Scout of the Year award.

The Orioles will recognize the minor league winners — as well as Eastern League Most Valuable Player and batting champion Garabez Rosa, Carolina League MVP Ademar Rifaela and Carolina League batting champion Ryan Mount castle — in an on-field ceremony before Saturday’s game against Tampa Bay.

Delmarva left-hander Alex Wells was previously named the Jim Palmer minor league pitcher of the year and was recognized before a recent home game before returning home to Australia.

eencina@baltsun.com

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