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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.

YearPlayerPosTeam (Org)WAR
1981Mike Marshall1BAlbuquerque (Dodgers)11.1
1982Ron KittleOFEdmonton (White Sox)5.2
1983Dwight GoodenRHPLynchburg (Mets)50.3
1984Mike BieleckiRHPHawaii (Pirates)9.0
1985Jose CansecoOFHuntsville/Tacoma (Athletics)42.1
1986Gregg JefferiesSSColumbia/Lynchburg/Jackson (Mets)20.2
1987Gregg JefferiesSSJackson/Tidewater (Mets)20.2
1988Tom GordonRHPAppleton/Memphis/Omaha (Royals)32.8
1989Sandy Alomar Jr.CLas Vegas (Padres)13.2
1990Frank Thomas1BBirmingham (White Sox)72.1
1991Derek BellOFSyracuse (Blue Jays)13.0
1992Tim SalmonOFEdmonton (Angels)35.4
1993Manny RamirezOFCanton/Charlotte (Indians)66.4
1994Derek JeterSSTampa/Albany/Columbus (Yankees)73.1
1995Andruw JonesOFMacon (Braves)67.0
1996Andruw JonesOFDurham/Greenville/Richmond (Braves)67.0
1997Paul Konerko1BAlbuquerque (Dodgers)24.0
1998Eric Chavez3BHuntsville/Edmonton (Athletics)35.7
1999Rick AnkielLHPArkansas/Memphis (Cardinals)8.8
2000Jon RauchRHPWinston-Salem/Birmingham (White Sox)5.0
2001Josh BeckettRHPBrevard County/Portland (Marlins)37.2
2002Rocco BaldelliOFBakersfield/Orlando/Durham (Devil Rays)8.0
2003Joe MauerCFort Myers/New Britain (Twins)53.0
2004Jeff FrancisLHPTulsa/Colorado Springs (Rockies)11.9
2005Delmon YoungOFMontgomery/Durham (Devil Rays)-1.3
2006Alex Gordon3BWichita (Royals)31.9
2007Jay BruceOFSarasota/Chattanooga/Louisville (Reds)20.4
2008Matt WietersCFrederick/Bowie (Orioles)17.4
2009Jason HeywardOFMyrtle Beach/Mississippi/Gwinnett (Braves)33.6
2010Jeremy HellicksonRHPDurham/Charlotte (Rays)15.4
2011Mike TroutOFArkansas (Angels)81.4
2012Wil MyersOFNorthwest Arkansas/Omaha (Royals)14.7
2013Byron BuxtonOFCedar Rapids/Fort Myers (Twins)18.0
2014Kris Bryant3BIowa (Cubs)32.1
2015Blake SnellLHPCharlotte/Montgomery/Durham (Rays)17.9
2016Yoan Moncada2BSalem/Portland (Red Sox)13.6
2017Ronald Acuna Jr.OFFlorida/Mississippi/Gwinnett (Braves)18.5
2018Vladimir Guerrero Jr.3BNew Hampshire/Buffalo (Blue Jays)9.2
2019Gavin LuxSSTulsa/Oklahoma City (Dodgers)4.4
2020No minor league season
2021Bobby Witt Jr.SSNW Arkansas/Omaha (Royals)2.3
2022Gunnar HendersonSSBowie/Norfolk (Orioles)0.8
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