Fuld Wins AFL MVP

Phoenix, Arizona — Mesa Solar Sox outfielder and Chicago Cubs prospect Sam Fuld has been named the 2007 Arizona Fall League Joe Black Most Valuable Player Award recipient after recording one of the most memorable seasons in the 16-year history of the AFL.

The 5–10, 180-pound Stanford product, drafted by the Cubs in the 10th round (306th overall) in 2005, was the Fall League's most consistent offensive performer.

The left-handed hitter led the league in hits (43), doubles (11), total bases (67), on-base percentage (.492), slugging percentage (.626), and OPS (1.118). He tied teammate Matt LaPorta for the extra-base hits (16) lead. Fuld also tied for third in runs (20), and walks (17). One of only six players to steal 10 or more bases, he tied for fourth in steals (10). He also tied for fourth in games (29).

Fuld was one of two .400 hitters. His .402 batting average finished second to Peoria Javelina Cory Wimberly's .407. Fuld reached base in 27 of 29 games, including every Solar Sox home game, and finished the season with an 11-game hitting streak and 16-game on-base skein.

During the final week of the 16th Arizona Fall League season, Fuld also was named the fourth winner of the Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award. Instituted in 2004, the award is presented annually to the Fall League player who best exemplifies unselfishness, hard work, and leadership.

The 26-year-old Fuld becomes the first Arizona Fall League player to be named the league's most valuable player and Stenson Sportsmanship Award winner.

"Sam Fuld epitomizes the way we should live our lives and approach our jobs," offers Arizona Fall League Executive Director Steve Cobb. "He's a born leader and a standout ball player. He is one of the most exemplary young men to grace the Arizona Fall League in its 16-year history."

Fuld divided his 2007 season between Double-A Tennessee (88 games), Triple-A Iowa (14 games), and the parent Cubs (8 games). Fuld is a career .296 hitter in 318 minor-league games over three seasons.

Others receiving MVP votes were OF Brett Gardner (NYY), LHP Matt Harrison (TEX), OF LaPorta (MIL), OF Andrew McCutchen (PIT), OF Jordan Schafer (ATL), OF/DH Travis Snider (TOR), and IF Eugenio Velez (SF).

Fuld is the second Chicago Cubs prospect to win the Joe Black MVP Award. Mesa Solar Sox outfielder Jason Dubois also won the honor in 2003.

The Arizona Fall League did not select an MVP during its first 10 seasons. That changed in 2002 when the league created the Joe Black Most Valuable Player Award, named after former big league pitcher Joe Black, the 1952 National League rookie-of-the-year.

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