Former Lee University shortstop Jose Cuevas (2009), who is nearing completion of his first season in professional baseball, recently earned a huge honor from the Arizona League. He was recognized as the circuit’s best talent.
The San Francisco Giants prospect was named the Arizona League Most Valuable Player and Dodgers skipper Jody Reed earned Manager of the Year honors as the league announced its 2011 Postseason All-Star team Tuesday afternoon.
Cuevas, San Francisco’s 29th-round pick last year, hit .337 and led the league with nine homers and 46 RBIs in 46 games for the AZL Giants this summer.
Reed won top skipper honors after leading the Dodgers to a 34-22 mark in the regular season. Reed and the Dodgers are scheduled to take on Cuevas and the Giants this week in the Arizona League Championship Series. However, Cuevas is likely already on his way to Fresno, Calif. He was promoted to Triple A to finish out the season with the Fresno Grizzlies (the Giants’ Triple A Affiliate).
“This is an incredible honor for Jose,” said Lee coach Mark Brew. “To be voted the best out of several elite professional athletes speaks volumes to the type of year Jose had. The confidence he has gained this year will be tremendous for his professional development moving forward. He has great tools and ability and I think he has a great future awaiting him.”
Also in the pro ranks, former Flame Jeff Ibarra (2008) has been invited to the prestigious Arizona Fall League. The left-handed hurler battled early season injuries, but came back to work in 19 games, pitching 34.1 innings for the Lake Elsinore (Calif.) Storm. He fanned 26 and walked seven, while recording a 4.19 ERA.
The Arizona Fall League only takes 240 of the best minor league players, according to coach Brew.