Southern League award winners announced

PEORIA, AZ - NOVEMBER 11: Surprise Saguaros Pitcher Michael Kopech (50) (BOS) pitches during the Arizona Fall League game between the Surprise Saguaros and the Mesa Solar Sox on Thursday, November 11, 2016 at Sloan Park in Mesa, Arizona (Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire)
Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire

The Southern League, which operates as a collection of Double-A affiliates of MLB franchises, announced its MVP and Pitcher of the Year selections on Wednesday.

Taking home the MVP hardware was Jackson Generals first baseman Kevin Cron, who is a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks farm system. Earning Pitcher of the Year honors was flame-throwing right-hander Michael Kopech of the Birmingham Barons, an extension of the Chicago White Sox.

Cron comes into the day as a .280 hitter with a .354 on-base percentage, slugging his way to the crown. He has clobbered 23 home runs and driven in 87 runs while adding 35 doubles. Just a year ago in his first taste of Double-A, he batted just .222 for the entire year, making significant improvement during his age-24 year in 2017.

The Diamondbacks selected Cron in the 14th round of the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft out of TCU. Before he went off to play collegiately, he was a local product that passed on the Seattle Mariners when they made him a third-round pick out of high school in Phoenix in 2011.

In Kopech’s first taste of Double-A, he made 22 starts this season and posted an 8-7 record with a 2.87 ERA. Known for his sizzling fastball, he has racked up 155 strikeouts in 119.1 innings of work, also making two starts up at Triple-A Charlotte.

Kopech was acquired by Chicago in the deal that sent left-handed ace Chris Sale to Boston during this past offseason. A No. 1 pick in his own right back in 2014, Kopech is just 22 years old and appears on the precipice of joining the White Sox in the not too distant future.

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