Staten Island, NY - The New York Yankees announced the winners of the Kevin Lawn Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year awards, and named former Baby Bomber, Brandon Claussen, the 2001 Pitcher of the Year recipient.
Co-winners were named Player of the Year, with the accolade being shared by Marcus Thames and Juan Rivera. Both competed for a spot on the New York Yankees roster at the close of Spring Training after an injury to Rondell White in the spring.
A 34th-round pick in the 1998 draft, Claussen finished 2001 with a 9-2 record and a 2.13 ERA in 21 starts for Norwich. Prior to the Navigators, Claussen started eight games for Class-A Tampa, posting a 5-2 mark and a 2.73 ERA. He led all minor league pitchers with 151 strikeouts. While in Staten Island in 1999, the southpaw posted a 6-4 record and a 3.38 ERA in 72.0 innings. He fanned 89.
In addition to the Kevin Lawn award, Claussen has received numerous honors after the 2001 season. He was ranked third among all Yankee minor leaguers in BaseballAmerica's Top 10 Prospects in the Yankee organization. He was also placed at number 37 in the BaseballAmerica Top 100 Prospects for 2002. He was the number seven prospect in the Eastern League (AA) after his outstanding season in Norwich in 2001. Claussen was invited to Major League camp this past season.
After three seasons int eh Yankee minor league system, Claussen has posted a 30-20 career record (.600 winning percentage) with a 3.12 ERA. He appeared and started in 70 games, completing five and holding a shutout in two. In 426.1 innings pitched, he has given up 177 runs (148 earned) on 373 hits, striking out 472 and walking 145.