Nothing in professional baseball has seemed to slow down shortstop Chris Valaika.
In a span of three years in the Reds organization, Valaika has risen from third-round Draft pick to the Double-A level. On Friday, his elite prospect status was re-affirmed when he was named winner of the Sheldon “Chief” Bender Award as the Reds’ 2008 Minor League Player of the Year.
Recent honorees have been Jay Bruce, Homer Bailey, Chris Denorfia, Austin Kearns, and Adam Dunn.
The Reds also named Daryl Thompson Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Juan Francisco was declared the Hitter of the Year among Reds minor league affiliates.