Houston's Player Development Department announced their 2011 Minor League Players of the Year on Thursday, naming infielder Jose Altuve the Player of the Year and right-handed pitcher Jake Buchanan the Pitcher of the Year.
In addition to Altuve and Buchanan, the Astros also named Charley Taylor, pitching coach of the Astros Gulf Coast League affiliate, the Player Development Man of the Year; and Luis Martinez, manager and coordinator of the Astros Dominican Summer League, the International Man of the Year.
All four will be recognized at a special pregame ceremony at Minute Maid Park on Saturday, Sept. 24, prior to a game against the Rockies. In addition, Altuve and Buchanan will be made available for a free autograph session from 4:45-5:15 p.m CT on the main concourse at Minute Maid Park.
"Jose has been a real bright spot for us this year. His promotions from High [Class] A to Double-A to the big leagues in one season is a huge accomplishment on his part. Like Jose, Jake has also handled some accelerated challenges extremely well, and we're paying close attention to his progress. Charley Taylor is a hero to all of us. He's endured some tremendous challenges, but never gave up on his enthusiasm and his passion for the game," Astros general manager Ed Wade said in a press release. "As we've continued to emphasize our Latin American presence, Luis and his staff at our academy in the Dominican Republic have done a very solid job in preparing our young Latin players for the challenges that they will face in the United States and on their way to the big leagues."
It's been quite a season for Altuve, 21. He hit a combined .389 with 10 homers and 59 RBIs in 87 games with Class A Lancaster and Double-A Corpus Christi. He was promoted to the big league club July 19 and hit .278 (52-for-187) with nine doubles, two homers and 12 RBIs in his first 48 games. He also led all qualifying Minor Leaguers with his .389 average this season and started at second base for the World Team in the 2011 All-Star Futures Game.
Buchanan, 21, posted a 5-10 record with a 3.80 ERA in 26 starts between the Class A and Double-A levels. He finished his season ranking second in the league in WHIP (1.21), fifth in ERA (3.91) and tossed one of only three shutouts in the California League this season.
Buchanan is also the first Lancaster pitcher to start at least 20 games with the club and end the season with an ERA below 4.00 since Brandon Webb did so in 2001.
Taylor, who is completing his 30th season as a coach in organization's player development system, also oversees the Astros' pitching rehab program at the club's Spring Training site in Kissimmee, Fla.
Martinez served as a key member of the field staff during the club's move from their previous facility in San Pedro de Macoris, to their new Latin American home in Guerra, Santo Domingo, D.R. Instrumental in the day-to-day activities at the complex, Martinez also coordinates workouts, schedules games, and helps evaluate amateur athletes.