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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Minor League Baseball’s Big Hitters Battle for Joe Bauman Home Run Award

For Immediate Release                                                                       August 15, 2017 

Minor League Baseball’s Big Hitters Battle for Joe Bauman Home Run Award Pair of Pacific Coast League sluggers leading the pack for annual home run crown 

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — With three weeks of play remaining in the 2017 Minor League Baseball season, two Pacific Coast League sluggers are leading a group battling for the annual Joe Bauman Home Run Award, presented by Musco Sports Lighting. The top regular season home run hitter in the domestic-based leagues wins the Joe Bauman Award, which is presented at the Baseball Winter Meetings, as well as a check representing $200 for each home run he hits. 

The award, first presented in 2002, is named for Joe Bauman, who set a then-professional record with 72 home runs in 1954 while playing for the Roswell Rockets of the Class-C Longhorn League. 

Nashville designated hitter Renato Nunez leads Minor League Baseball with 31 home runs, while Reno Aces first baseman Christian Walker is one behind with 30. Portland Sea Dogs third baseman Michael Chavis and Lehigh Valley first baseman Rhys Hoskins each have 29 home runs. Hoskins, who was promoted to Philadelphia on Aug. 10, was runner-up for the award in 2016. 

Nunez set a career-high with his 30th homer on Aug. 6, and has launched 54 long balls for the Sounds over the last two seasons. He homered in three consecutive games three times (May 1-3, May 18-20 and Aug. 4-6) in 2017 and homered twice on July 6 at Colorado Springs. Nunez, 23, was signed by Oakland as a free agent on Nov. 20, 2010, and is attempting to be the fifth consecutive player under the age of 24 to win the award, following Dylan Cozens (22) in 2016, A.J. Reed (22) in 2015, KrisBryant (22) in 2014, and Joey Gallo (19) in 2013. 

Walker, 26, has also set a career-high with his 30 homers, eclipsing his 26 homers between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk in 2014. Walker has homered in consecutive games three times in 2017, and has three multi-homer games (April 12, May 18 and Aug. 6). Walker, 26, was originally selected by Baltimore in the fourth round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of South Carolina. 

Chavis began the year with Class-A Salem in the Carolina League where he hit 17 homers in 59 games prior to a June 23 promotion to Double-A Portland, where he has gone deep 12 times in 47 games for the Sea Dogs. Chavis, 22, was selected by Boston in the first round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of Sprayberry High School in Marietta, Georgia. 

Classification leaders, provided they are not the overall winner, receive a $500 cash award. Erie SeaWolves (Tigers) outfielder Christin Stewart leads the Double-A level with 25 home runs. Lake County Captains (Indians) first baseman Emmanuel Tapia leads the Class-A level with 25 home runs, while Great Falls Voyagers (White Sox) first baseman Austin Villa leads the Short Season-A and Rookie-level with 13 homers. 

Minor League Baseball will announce the 2017 Joe Bauman Home Run Award winner Sept. 5. The recipient will receive his trophy and monetary award Monday, Dec. 11, at the Baseball Winter Meetings Awards Luncheon in Orlando, Florida. 


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