This post is part of our broader end-of-season content/awards lineup that’s being published on the site this week; click here for more information on that list, and to see the other awards and posts within.
We’re happy and honored to announce that Seattle Mariners outfield prospect Braden Bishop has been chosen as our Minor League Baseball Player of the Year for 2017.
Bishop, 24, slashed .306/.393/.413/.806 over 119 games across two levels in 2017, first with High-A Modesto, and then with Double-A Arkansas after his midseason promotion to the Texas League, and added 34 doubles, 60 walks, and 22 stolen bases across 480 at-bats this year. The speedy, exceptional defender did it in part because of a massive change in his offensive approach, opting to hit the ball in the air far more in order to be more projectable to the big league game in this day and age. Compare his numbers in 2017 to what he did one year ago between Low-A Clinton and High-A Bakersfield (just .273/.338/.326/.665 with 23 fewer doubles in nearly the same amount of at-bats), and it’s clear that changes in his offensive approach have firmly put Braden Bishop back on the map.
In addition to his offensive work, Braden Bishop continued to shine on the defensive side of the ball at both levels this year, proving once again that he’s got the speed and athleticism to stick at center field even on into the big leagues. And most importantly, he has an exceptional off-the-field story that we chronicled earlier this year, and that he has put to particularly good use as he makes himself a remarkably high-profile supporter of Alzheimer’s research in honor of his mother, who suffers through early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease.
In every way, then, this was a breakout season for Braden Bishop — and we’re proud to name him our 2017 Minor League Baseball Player of the Year. We can’t imagine a better guy to collect this first award; congratulations to Braden for it, and we’ll see him at the Arizona Fall League in a few weeks for more.