Indians honor Lee, Kipnis
Today the Cleveland Indians announced their Minor League Pitcher and Player of the Year Awards naming right-handed pitcher Chen-Chang Lee as the 2011 Bob Feller Award recipient and second baseman Jason Kipnis as the 2011 Lou Boudreau Award recipient.
Lee, 25, had a great year between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus where he went a combined 6-1 with a save and 2.40 ERA in 44 relief appearances (71.1 IP, 53 H, 19 ER, 23 BB, 99 K). He averaged 12.5 strikeouts per 9.0 IP and limited minor league hitters to a .210 (53-252) average against with 3 HR allowed. On the season right-handed batters hit .197 (28-142) off him with just four extra base hits. After beginning the season in Akron (2.50 ERA, 23 G), he was promoted to Columbus on June 22 where he finished the year by going 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA in 21 games (31.2 IP, 26 H, 8 ER, 43 K) and recorded an ERA of 1.29 in four Triple- A playoff appearances (7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R/ER, 4 BB, 7 K).
Lee hails from the island nation of Taiwan and was signed as an amateur by the Indians in September of 2008. He owns a three-year Minor League career record of 15-11 with a 3.01 ERA in 133 relief appearances (227.1 IP, 179 H, 76 ER, 14 HR, 73 BB, 278 K), averaging 11.0 strikeouts per 9.0 IP over the span. He pitched for the Taiwanese National Team in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
Kipnis, who also won the award in 2010, spent the first three and half months of the 2011 season at Triple-A Columbus, hitting .280 (96-343) with 16 doubles, 9 triples, 12 homers, and 55 RBI in 92 games. He also scored 65 runs and stole 12 bases in 13 attempts. At the time of his July 22 promotion to Cleveland he was leading the International League in triples (9), was 2nd in runs (65), tied for 12th in hits (92) and RBI (55) and was 16th in OPS (.846). He homered in the July 10 XM Futures Game, hit lead-off in the Triple-A All-Star Game and was named to the IL Postseason All-Star Team and was a Baseball America Triple-A All-Star selection.
Kipnis went on to hit .272 (37-136) with Cleveland over the final two months of the season with 9 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR and 19 RBI in 36 games (.841 OPS). He and Victor Martinez are the only Indians position players to win the award in consecutive seasons (award began in 1990).
Previous Bob Feller Award Winners
1990 Charles Nagy 1991 Mike Soper
1992 Chad Ogea 1993 John Carter
1994 Steve Kline 1995 Danny Graves
1996 Danny Graves 1997 Marc Deschenes
1998 David Riske 1999 Robert Pugmire
2000 Jason Stanford 2001 Mike Bacsik
2002 Billy Traber 2003 Fausto Carmona
2004 Adam Miller 2005 Jeremy Sowers
2006 Adam Miller 2007 Aaron Laffey
2008 David Huff 2009 Hector Rondon
2010 Alex White 2011 Chen-Chang Lee
Previous Lou Boudreau Award Winners
1990 Jim Thome 1991 Manny Ramirez
1992 Ken Ramos 1993 Jim Thome
1994 David Bell 1995 Richie Sexson
1996 Russ Branyan 1997 Sean Casey
1998 Alex Ramirez 1999 Scott Morgan
2000 Billy Munoz 2001 Victor Martinez
2002 Victor Martinez 2003 Grady Sizemore
2004 Ryan Garko 2005 Ryan Mulhern
2006 Kevin Kouzmanoff 2007 Asdrubal Cabrera
2008 Beau Mills 2009 Carlos Santana
2010 Jason Kipnis 2011 Jason Kipnis
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Follow Tony and the Indians Baseball Insider on Twitter @TonyIBI. Also, his new book the 2014 Cleveland Indians Baseball Insider which profiles the Indians' Top 100 Prospects and more is available for sale.