Congratulations to Reds minor leaguer Jay Bruce. this is an outstanding honor for a young man who keeps rising up the prospect charts, not to mention rising up the Reds’ organizational ladder:

Reds outfielder Jay Bruce was named the Minor League Player of the Year, Baseball America announced Friday.

The 12th overall selection in the 2005 draft, Bruce hit .319 with 26 home runs and 89 RBI in 133 games for three teams between Class A and AAA.

The 20-year-old native of Texas also had 80 extra-base hits and 306 total bases.

“You just can’t say enough good things about Jay Bruce,” Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky said. “We’re thrilled that Baseball America would honor him with such a prestigious award. It’s an honor, not only for Jay, but for the entire Reds organization as we move forward.” …

Bruce started the season with Class A Sarasota, hitting .325 with 11 home runs and 49 RBI in 67 games. After driving in 15 runs in 16 games with Class AA Chattanooga, he finished the season batting .305 with 11 homers and 25 RBI in 50 games with Class AAA Louisville.

This is the first such honor for a farmhand of the Reds. Bruce joins such past winners as Boston’s Josh Beckett and Manny Ramirez, Atlanta’s Andruw Jones and the New York Yankees’ Derek Jeter.

John Fay has the entire list of previous winners of this award, and there are some big names on there, as noted above.

If you can find nothing else worthy of optimism about this organization’s future, the prospect quartet of Jay Bruce, Homer Bailey, Joey Votto, and Johnny Cueto should bring a smile to your face. By the end of next season, those four could really infuse the major league roster with some serious talent.