Josh Barfield League MVP

Lake Elsinore Storm second baseman Josh Barfield has been named the California League's Most Valuable Player for the 2003 season. The 20-year-old was a near-unanimous selection for MVP, according to league officials, as well as the unanimous selection at second base on the California League's post-season All-Star Team.

Shortstop JJ Furmaniak, who hit .314 with nine homers and 54 RBI in 78 games with the Storm before being promoted to Class-AA Mobile in July, was also named to the league's post-season All-Star Team.

Entering Wednesday's action, Josh Barfield sports a .342 average and 15 home runs in 127 games while leading all of Minor League Baseball with 179 hits, 120 RBI and 280 total bases. Along with owning the California League lead in those three categories, the Spring, TX native also leads the league in extra-base hits (65) and ranks second in average and doubles (44). He also ranks among the top five in the league in runs (93), slugging percentage (.534), and on-base percentage (.389). The second baseman has swiped 15 bases in 19 attempts this season, and headed into this week's action with a .971 fielding percentage - tops among Cal League middle-infielders.

After going 6-13 with a homer and five RBI from August 25-27, Barfield is now hitting .323 with a team-high 32 hits and 24 RBI for the month of August. He has not hit below .325 in any month this season, and has tallied at least 30 hits and has driven in at least 20 runs in every month. He has compiled hitting streaks of at least eight games four times, has two five-hit games, and has not gone more than two consecutive games all season without registering a hit.

The 2003 Most Valauble Player award marks yet another of several accolades Barfield has acquired in his three-year professional career. Along with being named to the Cal League's mid-season All-Star team earlier this season, Barfield also appeared in the Major League Baseball Future's Game played in Chicago during this year's All-Star Weekend. Last season, he was named the San Diego Padres' 2002 Co-Minor League Player of the Year after he hit .306 with 164 hits, 8 homers and 57 RBI for the Ft. Wayne Wizards.

Barfield, the son of former major leaguer Jesse, will turn 21 in December. He joins Xavier Nady ('01) and Todd Greene ('94) to become the third Storm player in team history, and second in the last three seasons, to be named league MVP.

Barfield may even be in the running for the Minor League Player of the Year and he is now considered by many to be the Padres number one prospect.

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