D-backs Award Top Minor League Players

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks announced Friday that first baseman Josh Whitesell and right-handed pitcher Cesar Valdez were selected as the organization's Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year.

Josh Whitesell
Joshua Whitesell, 26, hit .328 (156-for-475) with 86 runs scored, 36 doubles, 26 home runs and 110 RBIs in 127 games for Tucson (Triple-A; Pacific Coast League) before being called up for his first taste of the big leagues on September 2. Acquired off waivers from Washington on March 14, Whitesell ranked in the top 5 in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization in OPS (.993; third), batting average (.328; third), on-base percentage (.425; second), slugging percentage (.568; third), home runs (26; first), RBI (110; first), runs scored (86; third), hits (156; third) and doubles (36; third). After the All-Star break, he batted .399 with a .497 on-base percentage and .696 slugging percentage. He finished the PCL season ranked seventh in batting average, second in RBI, and tied for fourth in hits.

Whitesell hit safely in 19 straight games from June 27-July 18, batting .384 (28-for-73), the longest streak by a Sidewinder for the season and tied for fourth in the PCL. He also had a 16-game hitting streak from July 23-August 9, batting .525 (31-for-59) with 10 multi-hit games and 24 RBI. Whitesell had a season-high seven RBI on May 23 vs. Sacramento, going 3-for-5 with two runs scored, a double and twp home runs. In his first major league action, Whitesell went 2-for-7 and hit his first career home run on September 21 at Colorado.

Cesar Valdez
Cesar Valdez, 23, went 13-8 with a 3.14 ERA (56 ER in 160.1 IP) with 39 walks and 140 strikeouts in 27 starts between Class Hi-A Visalia (California League) and Double-A Mobile (Southern League). A California League All-Star, Valdez ranked in the Top 5 in the D-backs organization in wins (13; first), shutouts (1; first), games started (27; third), complete-games (1; third), innings pitched (160.1; third) and strikeouts (140; third). He had a season-high 10 strikeouts on two occasions -- April 16 for Visalia at Inland Empire and July 25 for Mobile at Jacksonville.

Originally signed as a non-drafted free agent on May 2, 2005, Valdez won three straight starts on two occasions for Visalia (April 6-16 and May 8-18) and won a season-high four straight starts from May 20-June 14 for the Oaks, owning an 0.31 ERA (1 ER in 29.0 IP) with four walks and 20 strikeouts. That streak included his complete-game shutout on June 4 vs. San Jose, when he allowed five hits with no walks and four strikeouts.

FutureBacks.com will select its overall minor league Player and Pitcher of the Year next week after completeing award presentations for each individual affiliate.

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