PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies honored their top Minor Leaguers of the year on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park. Neither had to walk more than a few steps out of the dugout to receive their award.
Following breakout seasons, recent Phillies callups Tyler Cloyd and Darin Ruf were presented with the 2012 Paul Owens Award for the best pitcher and player, respectively, in Philadelphia's farm system. The award, named for the late Phillies general manager, was presented by Owens' grandchildren, Geoff and Kevin, and current assistant general managers Benny Looper and Marti Wolever.
"To obviously have the season I did and get that award, it's definitely an accomplishment," Cloyd said.
Cloyd, the International League's Most Valuable Pitcher, parlayed a 15-1 record between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley into a late August promotion. The 25-year-old right-hander from Bellevue, Neb., is 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA in five starts with the Phillies, including an eight-inning, one-run performance in Thursday night's 16-1 win over the Mets.
"I just came into the year just trying to go out and have a good year, go out and be strong every outing. It happened, and everything just kind of fell the way it did," he said.
Ruf, a first baseman/outfielder from Omaha, Neb., earned a September callup after mashing 38 regular-season home runs, which broke Ryan Howard's single-season record at Reading and led all Minor Leaguers. His 104 RBIs led the Eastern League, and he finished second in the third leg of the Triple Crown with a .317 average.
Cloyd and Ruf are two of just eight Nebraskans to have played in the Major Leagues this season. Ironically, they competed against each other throughout high school.
"[The award] means a lot," said Ruf, who is ranked by MLB.com as the Phillies' No. 20 prospect. "Especially to receive it alongside Tyler, being from the same city, it's special."
Ruf credited both his family and Reading teammates as having a part in his success. On Friday night, his parents attended their first Phillies game since their son's promotion to the Phillies. Ruf said his father, Bill, did as much research on Owens as possible.
"I think he knows Paul better than Paul probably knew himself by now," Ruf joked.
"It will be nice to get [the award] in front of them, because without them I wouldn't be in this position at all," he said. "Everything they've given up for me to be here, it's nice to be able to receive it in front of them."