And The Winner Is: A Brief Overview Of The Baseball America Minor League Player Of The Year

Baseball America did not invent the Minor League Player of the Year concept, but with 41 years of tradition, we believe our track record speaks loudly. 

In every season since its inception in 1981—save for the lost 2020—BA has named a Minor League Player of the Year. Our criteria has remained the same over the years: 

We reward the best season by a prospect in the minor leagues, factoring age, level and projected future MLB value. 

The Dodgers’ Mike Marshall was our inaugural POY in 1981. That season he hit .373 with 34 home runs and 137 RBIs as a 21-year-old first baseman for Triple-A Albuquerque. Coming off the first Pacific Coast League triple crown since 1956, Marshall appeared to be the successor to Steve Garvey in Los Angeles.

Marshall went on to author an 11-year MLB career. He popped 148 home runs, made an all-star team and played for Dodgers championship teams in 1981 and ’88. 

Still, Marshall ranks near the bottom of the list of BA Minor League POY winners in terms of career MLB value, as measured by wins above replacement.    

At the very top of the WAR pile for Minor League POY winners is future Hall of Famer Mike Trout (2011). 

Right behind him are current Hall of Famers Derek Jeter (1994) and Frank Thomas (1990), followed by potential future Hall of Famers Andruw Jones (1995-96), Manny Ramirez (1993) and Joe Mauer (2003). 

At the next tier down are players who were very good—occasionally elite—for a very long time: Dwight Gooden (1983), Jose Canseco (1985), Josh Beckett (2001), Eric Chavez (1998) and Tim Salmon (1992).

Others like Kris Bryant (2014), Ronald Acuña Jr. (2017), Byron Buxton (2013) and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (2018) are still in their primes and building their credentials.

Baseball America is proud of its Minor League Player of the Year track record and expect big things from Gunnar Henderson, this year’s winner.

Every Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year winner listed along with FanGraphs wins above replacement totals compiled in MLB through Sept. 27, 2022.

Year Player Pos Team (Org) WAR
1981 Mike Marshall 1B Albuquerque (Dodgers) 11.1
1982 Ron Kittle OF Edmonton (White Sox) 5.2
1983 Dwight Gooden RHP Lynchburg (Mets) 50.3
1984 Mike Bielecki RHP Hawaii (Pirates) 9.0
1985 Jose Canseco OF Huntsville/Tacoma (Athletics) 42.1
1986 Gregg Jefferies SS Columbia/Lynchburg/Jackson (Mets) 20.2
1987 Gregg Jefferies SS Jackson/Tidewater (Mets) 20.2
1988 Tom Gordon RHP Appleton/Memphis/Omaha (Royals) 32.8
1989 Sandy Alomar Jr. C Las Vegas (Padres) 13.2
1990 Frank Thomas 1B Birmingham (White Sox) 72.1
1991 Derek Bell OF Syracuse (Blue Jays) 13.0
1992 Tim Salmon OF Edmonton (Angels) 35.4
1993 Manny Ramirez OF Canton/Charlotte (Indians) 66.4
1994 Derek Jeter SS Tampa/Albany/Columbus (Yankees) 73.1
1995 Andruw Jones OF Macon (Braves) 67.0
1996 Andruw Jones OF Durham/Greenville/Richmond (Braves) 67.0
1997 Paul Konerko 1B Albuquerque (Dodgers) 24.0
1998 Eric Chavez 3B Huntsville/Edmonton (Athletics) 35.7
1999 Rick Ankiel LHP Arkansas/Memphis (Cardinals) 8.8
2000 Jon Rauch RHP Winston-Salem/Birmingham (White Sox) 5.0
2001 Josh Beckett RHP Brevard County/Portland (Marlins) 37.2
2002 Rocco Baldelli OF Bakersfield/Orlando/Durham (Devil Rays) 8.0
2003 Joe Mauer C Fort Myers/New Britain (Twins) 53.0
2004 Jeff Francis LHP Tulsa/Colorado Springs (Rockies) 11.9
2005 Delmon Young OF Montgomery/Durham (Devil Rays) -1.3
2006 Alex Gordon 3B Wichita (Royals) 31.9
2007 Jay Bruce OF Sarasota/Chattanooga/Louisville (Reds) 20.4
2008 Matt Wieters C Frederick/Bowie (Orioles) 17.4
2009 Jason Heyward OF Myrtle Beach/Mississippi/Gwinnett (Braves) 33.6
2010 Jeremy Hellickson RHP Durham/Charlotte (Rays) 15.4
2011 Mike Trout OF Arkansas (Angels) 81.4
2012 Wil Myers OF Northwest Arkansas/Omaha (Royals) 14.7
2013 Byron Buxton OF Cedar Rapids/Fort Myers (Twins) 18.0
2014 Kris Bryant 3B Iowa (Cubs) 32.1
2015 Blake Snell LHP Charlotte/Montgomery/Durham (Rays) 17.9
2016 Yoan Moncada 2B Salem/Portland (Red Sox) 13.6
2017 Ronald Acuna Jr. OF Florida/Mississippi/Gwinnett (Braves) 18.5
2018 Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 3B New Hampshire/Buffalo (Blue Jays) 9.2
2019 Gavin Lux SS Tulsa/Oklahoma City (Dodgers) 4.4
2020 No minor league season
2021 Bobby Witt Jr. SS NW Arkansas/Omaha (Royals) 2.3
2022 Gunnar Henderson SS Bowie/Norfolk (Orioles) 0.8

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