Walker Named Indianapolis MVP

INDIANAPOLIS -- Infielder Neil Walker has been named the 2008 Indianapolis Indians Most Valuable Player after hitting .245 with a team-high 16 homers, seven triples and 79 RBI through 130 games this season.

Andrew McCutchen (Rookie of the Year), Steve Pearce (Slugger of the Year), Brian Bixler (Defensive Player of the Year), Jesse Chavez (Henry Smock Relief Pitcher of the Year) and Luis Cruz (August Player of the Month) will also be honored prior to the season finale.

Walker, rated by Baseball America as the Pirates number two prospect entering 2008, owns a .946 fielding percentage in 130 games as well as a highlight reel full of spectacular plays in just his first full season at the third base position. The converted catcher also ranks among the International League leaders in games played (5th, 130), triples (T-9th, 7) and RBI (T-9th, 79).

Walker has collected 30 multi-hit performances and 20 multi-RBI efforts during the 2008 campaign. The 22-year-old has notched three hitting streaks of six or more games (June 13-June 21, July 23-July 28, August 17-August 25), and committed just 19 errors in 351 total chances at third base.

McCutchen, rated by Baseball America as the Pirates number one prospect entering 2008, owns a .280 batting average, with nine homers, 48 RBI and a current team-best .370 on-base percentage, 75 runs, 67 walks, 33 stolen bases and 132 games played. The 21-year-old continues to rank among International League leaders in walks, games played, stolen bases and on-base percentage.

McCutchen was named the team's May Player of the Month after batting .304 with two dingers, 10 RBI and eight multi-hit performances. He also ranked second in all of Triple-A Baseball with 12 stolen bases in May.

Pearce, rated by Baseball America as the Pirates number three prospect entering 2008, owns a .257 batting average, with 12 homers, 60 RBI and a current team-best 26 doubles in 100 games played. The 25-year-old continues to rank among team leaders in home runs, RBI and doubles throughout most of the season even with two separate Major League call-ups to Pittsburgh.

Bixler, rated by Baseball America as the Pirates number eight prospect entering 2008, has recorded a .980 fielding percentage with just seven errors in 345 total chances between second base and shortstop. The 25-year-old has been involved in 40 of the team's 100 double plays even after spending over a month in Pittsburgh (April 6-May 27).

Bixler also leads the Tribe with a .280 BA and has recorded three separate six-game hitting streaks (June 8-14, June 16-22, August 2-7).

Chavez, who received the first Major League call-up of his career on August 27, went 2-6 with a 3.80 ERA and team-best 14 saves, 70 strikeouts and 51 appearances for the Indians. He also collected eight saves and posted a 2.65 ERA over his last 16 relief outings of the season (5 ER in 17.0 IP).

Chavez shut down right-handed batters throughout the season allowing just a .177 batting average, while striking out 42 and walking only nine. He also posted a 0.98 ERA (2 ER in 18.1 IP) over 10 outings from April 7 to May 3.

Infielder Luis Cruz has also been named Indianapolis Indians Player of the Month for August.

Cruz has turned in a .333 batting average with three home runs, 14 RBI and 17 runs during the season's final month. The 24-year-old has also recorded 11 multi-hit performances and three multi-run efforts during the month, and has batted .412 with nine runs and nine RBI over his last eight contests (Aug. 21-29).

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