This week the Phillies awarded Maikel Franco as its minor league position player of the year and Severino Gonzalez as its minor league pitcher of the year. Both are deserving. We already awarded Franco that award before the season was even over. The only question is why he did not get a September call-up to the Phillies. But that’s another story.
The pitching award to Gonzalez certainly was merited but to those of us who watched the entire minor league season from opening day on April 4th to the last out on September 1st, you had to give the award to a 22 year old, left-handed starter in his second season in the Phillies system throwing for the Clearwater Threshers, Hoby Milner.
Hoby showed up every for every fifth day all season for an up and down Clearwater team. He was tied with 12 wins for the most in the Florid State League. He was third in strike outs and innings pitched. He was the workhorse of the Threshers starting pitching staff all season. Getting quality starts and pounding the strike zone with low 90’s fastballs game after game in all but four of his appearances was his style. We were baffled by the Phillies Front Office not getting him on the Florida State League All Star game in mid-season or rewarding him with a call up to AA in August.
Milner was simply brilliant except for the first three starts of the season and one other start in late June. In his other 22 appearances he went 12-4, pitching 127.2 innings, giving up 117 hits, six homers, walking 31 and striking out 94 for a 2.83 ERA. One of his more interesting stats was he gave up only one unearned run all season. The guys must have liked playing behind him and he did not let missed plays affect him. He was the leader and ace of the Clearwater staff.
Hoby Milner is my Phillies Minor League pitcher of the Year. Let’s hope he gets off to a strong start at Reading next season and is given a chance to pitch in the majors later on in the season as a starter in the Phillies rotation.