Mariners name minor-league award winners

SEATTLE — The Seattle Mariners announced their 2013 Minor League Awards on Thursday.

Infielder Chris Taylor was named Player of the Year, right-hander Taijuan Walker was named Starting Pitcher of the Year, and right-hander Carson Smith was named Relief Pitcher of the Year.

Also, outfielder Abraham Almonte received the Heart and Soul Award for his “exemplary play and leadership,” the team said in a press release.

Taylor, a 23-year-old who played for the Everett AquaSox in 2012, hit .314 with 108 runs scored, 28 doubles, 11 triples, eight home runs, 60 RBI and 38 stolen bases in 134 games with Class AA Jackson and Class A High Desert. His 108 runs scored led the Mariners’ farmhands and ranked third among all minor-league players. He also led all M’s minor leaguers in hits (165) and ranked second in stolen bases.

Walker, 21, split the season between Jackson and Class AAA Tacoma, going a combined 9-10 with a 2.93 earned-run average. He averaged 10.19 strikeouts per nine innings over his 25 starts.

Smith, 23, went 1-3 with 15 saves and a 1.80 ERA in 44 relief appearances with Jackson. After allowing five runs in his first six appearances of the season, Smith allowed just five earned runs over his last 38 games.

Almonte, 24, combined to bat .300 with 23 doubles, six triples, 15 home runs, 68 RBI and 26 stolen bases in 123 games with Jackson and Tacoma. He was called up to the Mariners on Aug. 30 and made his major-league debut that night against the Houston Astros. He has reached base safely in each of his first 18 big-league games in which he’s had an at-bat. Overall, he’s hitting .279 with 10 runs scored, four doubles, two home runs and nine RBI.

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