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mbgrayson
08-12-2006, 09:51 AM
Reds 3rd round draft pick, 84th overall in 2006 draft
Signed for $437,500
Assigned to Billings Mustangs

http://www.graysonlawfirm.com/Chris%20Valaika.JPG
Baseball America May 2006:
"Chris Valaika, ss/2b (National rank: 121)
School: UC Santa Barbara. Class: Jr.
Hometown: Valencia, Calif.
B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 195. Birthdate: 8/14/85.
Scouting Report: Scouts have had a long time to evaluate Valaika against quality competition. He was on three USA Baseball teams, winning a gold medal in 2001 with the youth national team and a silver medal in 2003 with the Pan American Games junior national team. He earned a gold medal at the World University Games with the college national team in 2004 as an infield reserve behind future first-round picks Jed Lowrie, Troy Tulowitzki and Ryan Zimmerman. However, Valaika hit a speed bump last year when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He has worked hard to come back and doesn't wear a brace on his knee. He's a hard worker with solid-average tools. Most of his success owes to his good hands. He shows quick hands at the plate that generate average power, particularly inviting for a player who should stay in the infield defensively. Valaika's hands work well in the infield, though his range at shortstop is below-average and he's a fringe-average runner. With better patience at the plate, Valaika's power should increase. His makeup is a significant plus. He can play second base and has enough arm for third, making him an ideal utility infielder."

From USCB Web Site:
"2006
Will be back in the lineup as the Gauchos' starting shortstop...Named to the 2006 Wallace Watch List by the College Baseball Foundation.

2005
After his Freshman All-American and Big West Freshman of the Year performance in 2004, Valaika missed the majority of his sophomore campaign due to injury...Played in 18 games before the setback...In only 72 at-bats, he managed to rack up five doubles and twelve runs scored...Went 3-for-6 with two runs scored, a double, one RBI and a walk at Pepperdine on February 5...Batted 3-for-4 with two doubles, three runs scored and a walk in a 6-1 victory over San Jose State on February 13.

2004
Valaika was named Big West Freshman of the Year and Freshman All-American after starting all 54 games in 2004...Hit .347, blasting seven homeruns and driving in 38...Was the team leader in total bases (119), doubles (15) and extra-base hits (25)...Hit .311 (23-for-74) with runners in scoring position...Had a team-high 24 multi-hit games...Also recorded eight multi-RBI games...He went 70-for-183, .383, over the final 44 games, collecting at least one hit in 38 of those...Was a perfect five-for-five with five runs scored, three RBI, two doubles, a homer and a walk February 28 against Fresno State...Also posted four hits and three RBI in an April 3 game against Sacramento State...Went 3-for-5 driving in four and scoring one against Cal State Fullerton on April 13...On April 30 he was 3-for-4 in a win over Long Beach State...Valaika hit in eight of nine games against Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State and UC Irvine, all Big West opponents that advanced to the NCAA Tournament...Against those three opponents he was 14-for-37 (.378) with eight RBI, nine runs scored, four doubles, two triples and two homeruns...Finished the season with two or more hits in four straight games and six of the last eight...Not only did Valaika have 24 multi-hit games, he had eight games with three or more hits...In addition to his stellar play offensively, he had just 12 errors in 287 chances in the field.

Team USA
Won a Gold medal while playing with Team USA Under-16 squad in the World Games in Veracruz, Mexico...Won a Silver medal with the U-18 team in the 2003 Pan-America Games in Curacao after hitting .385 with two homers and two doubles...Won a Gold medal with the USA National team in the Pan Am Games in Santo Domingo where he had eleven hits, two triples and a homerun.

High School
Played at Hart High School under coach Jim Ozella...Hit .411 as a sophomore and junior and .426 as a senior...Recorded 42 doubles in those three years and compiled 107 hits...Received All-Foothill League honors his sophomore, junior and senior seasons...Also received First Team All-State and First Team All-CIF honors as a junior and senior...Holds the school record for most career home runs with 18.

Personal
Born August 14, 1985 in Santa Monica, California...Aspires to play professional baseball...Roots for the Los Angeles Dodgers...Majoring in Anthropology at UCSB...Favorite athlete is former Gaucho shortstop, Michael Young...Favorite movies are Bull Durham and Cocktail...Most memorable sports moment was winning a gold medal in Taiwan...Favorite aspects of Santa Barbara are the beach and the weather...Best quote received about baseball and/or life is from James Dean who stated, "Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die today"...Enjoys watching Family Guy, Nip Tuck and CSI...Three words that describe him are outgoing, loyal and dedicated...Son of Jeff and Ilona Valaika."

Individual Batting Stats at Billings thru 8/11/06:
Pos AVG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB GIDP HBP
2B .317 48 186 44 59 15 1 8 48 18 36 2 1 .390 .538 .928 2 6 0 7 8

From the 8/12/06 Billings Gazette:
Valaika, Mustangs roll past Great Falls
Shortstop extends hitting streak to 19 games in 7-1 win
By BILL BIGHAUS
Of The Gazette Staff

The hits keep coming for Chris Valaika - and so do the wins for the Billings Mustangs. Valaika extended his hitting streak to 19 games Friday night, and the Mustangs prevailed in their third-straight game - downing the Great Falls White Sox 7-1 in front of 2,207 at Cobb Field.

Valaika, a 20-year-old shortstop, didn't waste much time in adding to what is the longest hitting streak in the Pioneer League this season.

He singled sharply to left field on the first pitch he received from Tyson Corley in the bottom of the first inning and also laced a run-scoring double down the left-field line on the first pitch he received from Corley in the bottom of the third.

"I'm trying not to really think about it," he said of his sizzling success at the plate. "I'm just trying to do what I can to help the team. When you put the ball in play, good things will happen." Valaika, who will turn 21 on Monday, is batting .313 for Billings this season. He also drove in his league-leading 49th run with his third-inning double.

"I'm seeing the ball real well," he said. "Not just me, but the whole team in general has been hitting the ball well. We pitched great and played good defense again tonight, so we're going to win a lot of games."

Right fielder Mike McKennon belted his first home run since opening night in mid-June - a 3-run shot to right in the Mustangs' seven-run third inning. His powerful shot even knocked a branch off a tree just beyond the fence and the limb fell back on to the ballpark's warning track.

"Mike's been struggling with the bat a little bit and it's great to see him turn it around," said Valaika.

While the Mustangs' bats were lively, right-handed pitcher Jordan Smith also threw a mean slider and ran his season record to 4-1 by throwing five innings of one-hit ball. He walked four batters and struck out three.

"I was just locating my fastball down low where they can't get good wood on it," said Smith. "I was just getting a lot of ground balls today."

The only hit Smith allowed came in the second inning when Tyler Reves singled under the glove of Billings third baseman Angel Colon.

Billings, now 8-5 in second-half play and 31-20 overall, left the bases loaded in the first inning.

The Mustangs, however, put the game away in the third, sending 13 batters to the plate and scoring seven runs on six hits.

After Billy Rojo walked with one out and Danny Dorn singled, Valaika, who is from Valencia, Calif., and bats clean-up in the Billings lineup, lit the scoreboard with his RBI-double.

Another walk loaded the bases, and Chris Heisey responded with a two-run double down the third-base line to make it 3-0.

The next batter, Angel Colon, struck out, but McKennon, who entered the game with a .192 batting average, ripped a Corley fastball over the fence in right to plate three more runs.

"It's been about 100 at-bats," McKennon said of his home-run drought. "It felt good to finally get another one."

"After that one game when they stuck it to us a little bit, we had a meeting in here with (manager Rick Burleson) and he kind of lit a fire under us," Valaika said. "Ever since then we've been playing real well and I think it's going to continue."

Great Falls scored its lone run in the sixth on a double by Christian Marrero and a single by Chris Carter.

"It was a great game," said Valaika. "We were lucky enough to put that seven spot up and played hard the rest of the game. Smitty kept us in the game the whole time. Then (Misael) DeJesus and (Adam) Pointer finished it. It was a great game."


Published on Saturday, August 12, 2006.

Superdude
08-12-2006, 10:59 PM
He can play second base and has enough arm for third, making him an ideal utility infielder."

I've been hearing that a little too muc for comfort.

CTA513
08-12-2006, 11:09 PM
Valaika is hitting pretty good for someone who is supposed to be a utility player.

.321, 16 Doubles, 1 Triple, 8 Homeruns, 50 RBIs

He is the league leader in RBIs and is near the top of the league for doubles and homeruns.

mbgrayson
08-13-2006, 02:16 AM
I went to the Billings game tonight. Valaika hit very well: 3 singles in 4 ABs with one K. Plays a nice shortstop too....

http://www.graysonlawfirm.com/Valaika.JPG

Benihana
08-13-2006, 08:48 AM
time for a callup to Dayton?? I think so

Let him finish out the year there. BTW what are Stubbs' current stats there?

tbball10
08-13-2006, 11:06 AM
Drew Stubbs: Individual Stats (Batting)
G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG AVG
43 157 32 40 6 3 3 17 61 24 48 16 3 .376 .389 .255

mbgrayson
08-20-2006, 12:49 AM
Tonight Chris Valaika got another hit, running his streak to 26 straight games. This streak is one shy of the Mustangs team record and four short of the Pioneer League record.

As of 8/19, Valaika, the Reds 3rd round pick this year, is hitting .320, with a .390 OBP, a .530 slugging rate, and 8 HRs.

CrackerJack
08-20-2006, 01:20 AM
Yes Valaika's #'s are eye popping, and he's a SS. Move him on up.

RedsIn07
08-21-2006, 06:46 PM
Valaika was part of BA's Hot Sheet this week under "In the Team Photo":

Chris Valaika, ss, Rookie-level Billings (Reds): Consistency has been the story of Valaika's season. A third-rounder out of UC Santa Barbara, he carried a 27-game hitting streak into Monday's game, and he had hit safely in 36 of his last 37 games. He's hit both lefties (.306) and righthanders (.326), and he's shown a steady glove at shortstop, where he leads all Pioneer League shortstops in total chances and double plays.

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/hotsheet/262251.html

mbgrayson
08-22-2006, 12:52 AM
Chris Valaika extended his hitting streak to a Mustang's record 28 games tonight. He was 3 for 5, with two triples.

See this story: http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2006/08/21/sports/local/19-streak.txt

oregonred
08-22-2006, 03:10 AM
Nice. Thanks for the info.

CTA513
08-22-2006, 02:31 PM
Chris Valaika extended his hitting streak to a Mustang's record 28 games tonight. He was 3 for 5, with two triples.

See this story: http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2006/08/21/sports/local/19-streak.txt

Valaika also added 2 RBIs, which gives him a total of 56 RBIs and thats 9 more than the next guy below him. He also has the most hits and is near the top in doubles. Hes doing pretty good for someone thats supposed to have a future as a utility player.

CTA513
08-22-2006, 07:02 PM
Billings played an earlier game today.
Valaika went 2 for 4 extending his hit streak to 29 games.

IslandRed
08-22-2006, 10:21 PM
He's doing pretty good for someone thats supposed to have a future as a utility player.

I guess I read all the reports differently, but I'm not sure he was projected as a utility player so much as it was noted that he had the ability to be one if it came to that. Pretty much anyone that can play multiple infield positions and isn't considered a top-shelf hitter on draft day gets the "potential utility player" tag. If he keeps hitting, people will stop mentioning it soon enough.

RedlegJake
08-23-2006, 06:01 AM
Be wary though. Billings is where Gary Redus hit something like .490 and was then buried under hype and never able to be anything near the player that expectations for him became.

redsmetz
08-23-2006, 07:53 AM
Be wary though. Billings is where Gary Redus hit something like .490 and was then buried under hype and never able to be anything near the player that expectations for him became.

I think sometimes expectations are more than they should be. Ultimately the great number of players at this level never even make the majors. While Redus never became a super-star, he was a reasonably decent player who ended up with a 13 year big league career. His career average was middling, as was his RBI total. He never played more than 130 games in a season and only played 100+ a handful of years.

That said, you are correct that minor league numbers can be deceiving. Redus' .462 average in 1978 was the best ever in the minors of anyone, you can understand the type.

This is an excerpt from an article I found at

http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/app/news/article.jsp?ymd=20060731&content_id=112451&vkey=news_t513&fext=.jsp&sid=t513


The Alabama native hit .462 that summer, making headlines across the Northwest. It's the highest recorded batting average in Minor League history and the best in a United States-based league in the last 50 years.

Redmachine2003
08-24-2006, 08:40 PM
Be wary though. Billings is where Gary Redus hit something like .490 and was then buried under hype and never able to be anything near the player that expectations for him became. Wow that is digging way back. I would take a Gary Redus if he could play short stop.

New Fever
08-24-2006, 09:24 PM
30 game hit streak, he just got a hit in the first inning.

Ravenlord
08-24-2006, 09:33 PM
if he can continue to hit anything close to how he has (or even not close in some regards) he'll be Jeff Kent.

OnBaseMachine
08-24-2006, 09:51 PM
2-for-2 tonight with a double and single.

Doc. Scott
08-25-2006, 09:45 PM
Valaika now holds the PL record- a 31-game hitting streak.

mtscorer
08-26-2006, 02:08 AM
Hey Guys,

I'm the official scorer for the Billings Mustangs. I'm always reading these boards but never signed up. Thought I might as well add my 2 cents, especially with the exciting season we are having in Billings this year.

Valaika is really off the charts. When you see him play you just know he is going to get a hit. And the streak doesn't seem to phase him. He's had 6 records in about 6 games (that includes tying and breaking the team record of 27 and tying and breaking the PL record, as well as tying and breaking the 2006 minors season high), and lately he's been getting hits in the first inning. Another record within his grasp is the SS Double Play record. The PL record is 53, he has 46 with 12 games to go. He is a great fielder too. Not only that, he leads the team in Sac Flys and HBP's, and I believe he's right up there in HR's on the team too. He's really an all-around talent.

Well I wish Chris the best of luck in Utah, 5 more road games until our last regular season homestand. A few more hits and he's got one of the best streaks in the minors in the past 30-40 years and 40 hit streaks haven't happened in about 50.

mbgrayson
08-26-2006, 10:53 PM
Another hit tonight; RBI single in the 6th. The streak is now at 32 games....

Score is 1-1 in the top of the 8th.

mbgrayson
08-27-2006, 10:03 PM
The streak is over. :(

Chris was 0 for 4 today with 2 Ks.

Still, it is a great record to hold: the all-time Pioneer League hitting streak of 32 games.

WebScorpion
08-28-2006, 09:11 AM
The streak is over. :(

Chris was 0 for 4 today with 2 Ks.

Still, it is a great record to hold: the all-time Pioneer League hitting streak of 32 games.

Wonder what the 'on-base' streak record is... He was 0-fer-4 with a Walk, so he did reach base safely. ;)

mbgrayson
08-28-2006, 10:05 AM
HERE is a link to article (http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2006/08/28/sports/local/40-valaika.txt) on streak ending....

mbgrayson
08-28-2006, 02:53 PM
From today's Baseball Prospectus future ten pack:

"Chris Valaika, ss, Short-Season Billings (Reds)
On Sunday, Valaika went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, ending the longest hitting streak in the minor leagues this season at 32 games, a new Pioneer League record. The third-round pick out of UC Santa Barbara hit .374 (49-for-131) during the streak, and is batting .329/.393/.530 overall in 63 games. While people still aren't sold on the stocky Valaika's ability to stick at shortstop, everyone is sold on the bat speed and the gap power as he's far outperformed first-round pick Drew Stubbs, whose inability to make contact remains a big concern in the pros."

RedsIn07
08-31-2006, 05:53 PM
Valaika was named Pioneer League MVP today:
http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/app/news/article.jsp?ymd=20060831&content_id=126422&vkey=news_milb&fext=.jsp

Valaika, Hynick earn top Pioneer honors
MiLB.com Staff

http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/images/2006/08/31/BoIwevhi.jpg
Chris Valaika's 32-game hit streak set an all-time Pioneer League mark. (Billings Mustangs)


The Billings Mustangs placed a league-best three players on the Pioneer League's 2006 postseason All-Star Team, including Most Valuable Player Chris Valaika.

Valaika, a shorstop who is batting .340 with eight homers and 60 RBIs, had a 32-game hit streak stopped last Sunday. It was the longest streak in the history of the Pioneer League.

The Valencia, Calif., native joins his double-play partner, Justin Turner, and Mustangs pitcher Jordan Smith on the All-Star Team.

Casper placed two players on the team, including Pitcher of the Year Brandon Hynick.

Hynick went 4-3 this season in 12 starts with a 2.39 ERA in 64 innings pitched. The 6-foot-2 right-hander from Ohio allowed 55 hits and 17 earned runs with 70 strikeouts and eight walks.

Designated hitter Hector Gomez is also on the squad from Casper. He had a .327 batting average in 50 games with 66 hits and 35 RBIs.

Also nominated for Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year were: Chris Errecart of Helena and Chris Carter of Great Falls, along with Sean O'Sullivan of Orem and Billings' Smith, respectively.

Other players named to the All-Star Team were catcher Andy Bouchie (Helena); first baseman Chris Carter (Great Falls); third baseman Josh Bell (Ogden); outfielders Gerrardo Parra (Missoula); Chris Pettit (Orem) and Errecart; and pitchers Osbek Castillo (Missoula), Rowdy Hardy (Idaho Falls), Hynick, Smith and O'Sullivan.

Rick Burleson of Billings was chosen as Manager for the All-Star squad. His Mustangs won the first-half North title and are ahead of Missoula and Helena for the second-half title as well.

Orem's Tom Kotchman, whose Owlz also won the first-half South title and are currently tied for first, was also named to the squad.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

traderumor
08-31-2006, 07:31 PM
Hey, we kinda need one of them thar shortstop thingies.

membengal
09-05-2006, 05:15 AM
Hey Guys,

I'm the official scorer for the Billings Mustangs. I'm always reading these boards but never signed up. Thought I might as well add my 2 cents, especially with the exciting season we are having in Billings this year.

Valaika is really off the charts. When you see him play you just know he is going to get a hit. And the streak doesn't seem to phase him. He's had 6 records in about 6 games (that includes tying and breaking the team record of 27 and tying and breaking the PL record, as well as tying and breaking the 2006 minors season high), and lately he's been getting hits in the first inning. Another record within his grasp is the SS Double Play record. The PL record is 53, he has 46 with 12 games to go. He is a great fielder too. Not only that, he leads the team in Sac Flys and HBP's, and I believe he's right up there in HR's on the team too. He's really an all-around talent.

Well I wish Chris the best of luck in Utah, 5 more road games until our last regular season homestand. A few more hits and he's got one of the best streaks in the minors in the past 30-40 years and 40 hit streaks haven't happened in about 50.

Thanks for checking in, just saw this. If you are still lurking, any chance you can dredge up one of the Stubbs threads and let us know what you saw with him?

Orenda
08-24-2010, 06:01 PM
Anybody else disappointed in Valaika's development? Since he arrived in Louisville his slugging has decreased and his patience at the plate has failed to improve. After his 2008 season in AA, it seemed possible that he might have enough bat to be a ML regular. Hopefully he can still become that but IMO his numbers suggest he could be another out machine.

gedred69
08-24-2010, 06:46 PM
Anybody else disappointed in Valaika's development? Since he arrived in Louisville his slugging has decreased and his patience at the plate has failed to improve. After his 2008 season in AA, it seemed possible that he might have enough bat to be a ML regular. Hopefully he can still become that but IMO his numbers suggest he could be another out machine.

Consider last year,---his year to make the big step, he tried to play with a bum hand. Once he DL'ed and returned, he hit much better, and has been no slouch this year. He should be the best MLB ready guy on the 40 man, and maybe we'll know yes or no soon.

GOYA
08-24-2010, 07:18 PM
Consider last year,---his year to make the big step, he tried to play with a bum hand. Once he DL'ed and returned, he hit much better, and has been no slouch this year. He should be the best MLB ready guy on the 40 man, and maybe we'll know yes or no soon.

Tried to play with a bum hand? Not even close.

Valaika had trouble making the adjustment to hitting in AAA and he took his frustration out on a water cooler in the dugout. He broke his hand in the process and immediately went on the DL.

Orenda
08-24-2010, 07:25 PM
Consider last year,---his year to make the big step, he tried to play with a bum hand. Once he DL'ed and returned, he hit much better, and has been no slouch this year. He should be the best MLB ready guy on the 40 man, and maybe we'll know yes or no soon.

Fair enough. I take it you've seen more of him than I have.

Much like Juan Francisco, when looking at Chris's 19 bb's in 459 plate appearances I wonder if he'll be susceptible to chasing pitches he can't drive.

Mario-Rijo
08-24-2010, 08:31 PM
Anybody else disappointed in Valaika's development? Since he arrived in Louisville his slugging has decreased and his patience at the plate has failed to improve. After his 2008 season in AA, it seemed possible that he might have enough bat to be a ML regular. Hopefully he can still become that but IMO his numbers suggest he could be another out machine.

While true and I'd hoped he would eventually take to walking more he's at least decent at making contact and seems to have a knack for hitting for avg at least. I don't think he's completely done getting stronger though, probably a late bloomer. He could be a potential avg starter in 2 years though with more value at the plate than in the field.