The Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday afternoon named right-handed pitcher Walker Buehler as the Branch Rickey Minor League Pitcher of the Year and catcher Keibert Ruiz as the Branch Rickey Minor League Player of the Year.
In 24 combined appearances this season with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City, Buehler has a 3-3 record with a 3.36 ERA over 83 innings and one save, striking out a combined 117 batters against just 29 walks. Buehler started his season dominating the California League, posting a 1.10 ERA over 16-1/3 innings in five starts, before his promotion to Tulsa on May 10.
Buehler then made 11 starts for the Drillers, going 2-2 with a 3.49 ERA in 49 innings, a 1.12 WHIP and a .225 opponent’s batting average. He was named Texas League Pitcher of the Week after his start on June 30, in which he fired 5-1/3 scoreless innings while allowing just two hits and striking out seven against only one walk. Buehler was promoted to Oklahoma City on July 16 and made three starts — including his first Triple-A victory on July 31 — before being moved to a relief role in August. Since moving to the bullpen, Buehler has struck out 11 batters in 7-2/3 innings. Overall, he has limited the opposition to a .224 average with the OKC Dodgers.
The Dodgers originally selected the Lexington, Kentucky native with the 24th overall in the 2015 MLB Draft.
Ruiz, who turned 19 on July 20, was signed out of Venezuela in July 2014 and after a stellar 2016 campaign for Rookie-level Ogden, combined to hit .329 with 56 runs, 22 doubles, two triples, eight home runs, and 49 RBI in 92 games for Single-A Great Lakes and Single-A Rancho Cucamonga this season.
Ruiz began 2017 by slashing .317/372/.423 in 63 games for Single-A Great Lakes and was promoted to Single-A Rancho Cucamonga on July 9. With the Quakes, Ruiz is batting .353 with six homers, six doubles, 25 RBI and 22 runs scored in 29 games. In 192 career minor-league games, the switch-hitting catcher has slashed .337 /.379/.473 with 11 homers, 52 doubles and 116 RBI.
Buehler and Ruiz will both be presented their respective awards and honored in a pregame ceremony at Dodger Stadium on Sept. 23 vs. San Francisco.
(Lauren Douglas provided the majority of information in this report)
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