Right-handed pitcher Billy Buckner has been named Arizona Diamondbacks Minor League Pitcher of the Year, the Reno Aces’ parent club announced today.
Buckner, 26, was dominant in two stints at Triple-A Reno in 2009, making 18 appearances (16 starts). The Decatur, Georgia native finished 9-3 for the Aces, boasting a 3.32 ERA. He had a better than 2-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and earned the victory in eight of his final nine decisions.
On July 31, Buckner dealt arguably Reno’s finest pitching performance, holding Tacoma to just four hits and no runs in a complete game shutout effort at Aces Ballpark. Two starts later, Buckner went on the road and limited Omaha to four hits and no runs over seven innings of work in a 5-0 Aces victory.
With Arizona, Buckner was 4-6 with a 6.40 ERA in 13 starts and three relief appearances. After being recalled to the Diamondbacks from Reno for the final time, Buckner went on to collect the victory in each of his final two starts.
Also Monday, the Diamondbacks announced first baseman Ryan Wheeler as the organization’s Minor League Player of the Year. Wheeler split the 2009 season with Yakima and South Bend. The 2009 fifth-round draft pick batted .363 in Yakima before earning a promotion to South Bend, where he hit .345 in eight games with the Silver Hawks.