Odorizzi, Komatsu win prospect honors

Odorizzi, Komatsu win prospect honors

MILWAUKEE -- Less than 24 hours after the Brewers showcased four pitchers, who began the season in the Minor Leagues, in a win over the Marlins, another promising young arm took the field at Miller Park. Too bad right-hander Jake Odorizzi was wearing a pinstriped suit and not a baseball uniform.

Odorizzi, the 20-year-old right-hander who pitched the first eight innings of a no-hitter for Class A Wisconsin last month, was honored Saturday as the Brewers' Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

He was joined by Minor League Player of the Year Erik Komatsu, 22, an outfielder who had a fine season at Class A Advanced Brevard County, but sits a bit lower on most prospect lists than Odorizzi.

"It was pretty cool to see the guys who pitched [on Friday], all Minor Leaguers," Odorizzi said. "I was thinking, 'That could be me here. Hopefully, soon.'"

Brewers area scouts Harvey Kuenn Jr. (Odorizzi) and Josh Belovsky (Komatsu) were also part of Saturday's celebration. It didn't last long; Odorizzi and Komatsu were scheduled for a 7 a.m. flight back to Phoenix on Sunday to continue their instructional league work.

The Brewers honor their top farmhands annually with the "Robin Yount Performance Award," somewhat ironic considering Yount played only 64 Minor League games at the low-A level before debuting as an 18-year-old Brewers shortstop.

"Both of them had great years, and character came into play, too," amateur scouting director Bruce Seid said. "The managers and the coaches raved about them.

"Jake continues to progress as one of the top pitching prospects in the organization. You look at his 'stuff,' his ease of operation, and you can tell his maturity is beyond years. ... Erik was Mr. Consistency this year. He hit between .310 and .320 all year, and he wound up at .323."

Komatsu also hit five home runs with 63 RBIs and 28 stolen bases in 130 games at Brevard County in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League with more walks (68) than strikeouts (61). Komatsu led the league in runs scored (90), on-base percentage (.413) and walks, and ranked second in the league with that .323 average. He also manned all three outfield positions.

The Brewers drafted Komatsu in the eighth round of the 2008 Draft out of Cal State-Fullerton. His 2009 season was ruined by injuries, a concussion followed by wrist and hamstring issues.

"It just goes to show you that if you put numbers up, it doesn't matter if you're a 50th rounder, or you didn't get drafted, or a first-rounder," Komatsu said. "If you do things right, you'll be rewarded."

Said Belovsky, the scout who signed Komatsu: "I'm proud of him, because he had a tough year last year. It just goes to show you that in this game, you have to be healthy."

The Brewers drafted Odorizzi in the supplemental first round (32nd overall) of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of Highland (Ill.) High School. He spent the entire season at Wisconsin, going 7-3 with a 3.43 ERA (120 2/3 IP, 46 ER) in 20 starts and three relief stints. As a starter, Odorizzi went 7-2 with a 3.20 ERA, and on Aug. 24 he combined with reliever Adrian Rosario on a no-hitter of Cedar Rapids.

Odorizzi was named the Midwest League Pitcher of the Week after that game, and the Brewers brought him down to Miller Park to recognize him on the field.

A month later, he was back for an even bigger honor.

"I take it as, I have to fulfill this now," Odorizzi said. "They handed me this award and I have to go live up to it, but I'm not going to let the pressure of it affect me or anything that I do. I'm still going to do my same thing, work hard and do everything I did to get this. I'm not going to be overwhelmed by the title of it."