Last Friday during the closing series to the season against the Cleveland Indians, the Kansas Royals presented their players and pitchers of the year for their minor league affiliates. Two of the Blue Rocks best were honored at Kauffman stadium and they were 1st baseman Samir Duenez and pitcher Zach Lovvorn.
Duenez was one of the Rocks consistent hitters and run scorers for a offense that struggled mightily this season to put up runs. The first basemen joined the Rocks after the all star break and hit six home runs in first 24 games as a Blue Rock. Duenez season with the Rocks he seen him play in 56 games, bat .300, had seven home runs,22 extra-base hits and 42 RBI,walked 19 times, slugged .479 and posted an .842 OPS. The Venezuela native was signed by the Royals as non-drafted free agent July 7, 2012 and was named surprise player of the year in 2013.
Rocks manager Jamie Quirk had this to say about Duenez:
Duenez doesn’t over think it at the plate,” said Blue Rocks manager Jamie Quirk during the season. “A lot of guys over think their at bats and guess. He just reacts to what he sees. It’s a good thing to have. He was great for us from the moment he arrived here. He is also sneaky athletic, which I don’t think a lot of people give him credit for.”
Pitcher Zach Lovvorn might look like a weird choice for Pitcher of the year but do not let the 2-15 record fool you. Lovvorn actually posted some of the best stats in the Carolina league this season even with the bad win-loss record. The Rocks opening day starter posted 3.95 ERA ( sixth best in the Carolina League), 1.39 WHIP ( Top ten in Carolina League), 107 strike outs ( Top ten in Carolina League) and pitched 127 innings ( Top ten in Carolina League).Lovvorn was a sixth round pick out of a high school by the Royals in the 2012 draft.
Rocks manager Jamie Quirk had this to say about Lovvorn:
“I’m proud of Zach,” Quirk said during the season. “Every season it seems like each team has one guy you just can’t manage to score for. (Zach Lovvorn) was that guy for us this year and he didn’t let it bother him or impact his attitude or how he pitched. That’s not an easy thing for a young guy to do, but it’s a testament to the kind of competitor he is.”