Former Gaucho Chris Valaika Listed in Pioneer League Top 20 Prospects

Sept. 26, 2006

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - After an outstanding season with the Billings Mustangs of the Cincinnati Reds organization in which he was named Pioneer League MVP and set a new league record with a 32-game hitting streak, former Gaucho Chris Valaika was awarded a spot as one of the Top 20 prospects (No. 13) in the Pioneer League according to Baseball America.

The Pioneer League's youngest team, the Orem Owlz, led the league with six players in the Top 20, five of which came from the 2005 draft. Valaika was also joined by Reds first-round pick and Billings teammate Drew Stubbs, who was selected the No. 7 prospect in the Pioneer League.

In his first full professional season, Valaika batted .324 with 22 doubles, four triples, eight home runs, 58 runs scored and 60 RBI. With the strong first-year campaign, the Valencia, Calif. native cemented his spot in the top-ten of almost every batting category in the Pioneer League. In addition, Valaika finished tops in hits (89) and total bases (143), second in runs and RBI and third in doubles.

Following the outstanding showing, the standout shortstop was rewarded with one of forty spots in the Reds organization's instructional league.