Infielder becomes first Ducks player to receive honor from Baseball America
(Central Islip, N.Y., Nov. 23, 2018) – Baseball America, known industry-wide as “The Bible of Baseball”, has selected Long Island Ducks infielder Jordany Valdespin as the 2018 “Independent Leagues Player of the Year” in its annual end-of-season awards edition, on newsstands December 7. Valdespin becomes the first Duck and fifth Atlantic League player honored with the award in its 23-year history.
“Jordany’s outstanding season being recognized this way is a fitting tribute to his hard work and dedication,” said Ducks President/GM Michael Pfaff. “To be selected as the top player across multiple leagues featuring hundreds of talented players is a fantastic honor. We look forward to seeing Jordany continue to accomplish great things in the future.”
Valdespin, who was also named the Atlantic League’s Player of the Year, led the league with 154 hits, 94 runs scored and seven doubles during the 2018 season while ranking second in batting average at .3377, just .0007 from the batting title. The four-year MLB veteran was also among the league’s Top 5 in several other categories, finishing second in on-base percentage (.399) and total bases (222), third in stolen base percentage (.857) and fifth in slugging percentage (.487). In 113 regular season games, he totaled 12 home runs, 55 RBIs, 18 doubles and 46 walks.
Additionally, the Dominican Republic native posted the longest on-base streak in the league this past season at 32 consecutive games from June 4th to July 14th. He was selected to play in the Atlantic League All-Star Game, held at Long Island’s Bethpage Ballpark on July 11th, and went 1-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base in the game. The 30-year-old was also named the league’s Co-Player of the Month for April/May after leading the league in hits (45), runs (29), total bases (73), extra-base hits (17), and at bats (131) in that span. He was voted by fans as the Delmonte-Smelson Team MVP in September and was chosen as the Atlantic League’s Post-Season All-Star second baseman in October.
Valdespin became the third player in franchise history to be named the Atlantic League’s Player of the Year. Lew Ford most recently claimed the award in 2014 after breaking the league record for hits in a single season with 189 while becoming the first player in league history to play in all 140 games during the regular season. Ray Navarrete was the first Duck to garner Player of the Year honors after he led the league in RBIs (96), hits (164), runs (106), extra-base hits (66) and doubles (39) during the 2009 season.
The following is a full list of Baseball America Independent League Player of the Year Award winners:
- 2018 – Jordany Valdespin, Long Island Ducks 2B
- 2017 – Alonzo Harris, York Revolution OF/2B
- 2016 - Art Charles, New Jersey Jackals 1B
- 2015 - Joe Maloney, Rockland Boulders IF/C
- 2014 - Balbino Fuenmayor, Les Capitales de Quebec IF
- 2013 - C.J. Ziegler, Wichita Wingnuts, 1B
- 2012 - Blake Gailen, Lancaster Barnstormers OF
- 2011 - Chris Colabello, Worcester Tornadoes 1B
- 2010 - Beau Torbert, Sioux Falls Pheasants OF
- 2009 - Greg Porter, Wichita Wingnuts OF
- 2008 - Patrick Breen, Orange County Flyers OF
- 2007 - Darryl Brinkley, Calgary Vipers OF
- 2006 - Ian Church, Kalamazoo Kings OF
- 2005 - Eddie Lantigua, Les Capitales de Québec 3B
- 2004 - Victor Rodriguez, Somerset Patriots SS
- 2003 - Jason Shelley, Rockford RiverHawks P
- 2002 - Bobby Madritsch, Winnipeg Goldeyes P
- 2001 - Mike Warner, Somerset Patriots OF
- 2000 - Anthony Lewis, Duluth-Superior Dukes 1B
- 1999 - Carmine Cappuccio, New Jersey Jackals OF
- 1998 - Morgan Burkhart, Richmond Roosters 1B
- 1997 - Mike Meggers, Winnipeg Goldeyes/Duluth-Superior Dukes OF
- 1996 - Darryl Motley, Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks OF
The Long Island Ducks are members of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball and play their home games at Bethpage Ballpark. For further information, call (631) 940-DUCK or visit www.liducks.com.
About the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)
The Atlantic League has been a leader in professional baseball and a gateway to Major League Baseball since 1998. Over 40 million fans have attended Atlantic League games and more than 900 players and 70 managers and coaches have joined MLB organizations directly from the ALPB. The Atlantic League emphasizes winning baseball games, showcasing the talent of top-caliber players and offering affordable family entertainment.
For more information, please visit www.atlanticleague.com.