Another MVP Award For Santana

Carlos Santana during spring-training workouts.

Akron Aeros catcher Carlos Santana has been named Most Valuable Player in the Class AA Eastern League. It is Santana's second consecutive league MVP award, as he was the 2008 award winner in the Class A California League -- even though he played only a half season there before being traded. He is the third Aeros player to win the award, joining Jordan Brown in 2007 and Victor Martinez in 2002.

Earlier this week, the Aeros' Mike Sarbaugh was named EL Manager of the Year and right-hander Jeanmar Gomez the EL Pitcher of the Year.

"Carlos has had an extremely consistent and productive year, and has not taken for granted that he's exceptionally talented as a baseball player," Indians Director of Player Development Ross Atkins said. "He has worked to improve upon what is already good enough to afford him Major League opportunity, and he clearly has the opportunity to be one of the best at what he does."

Santana has been an offensive force all season, batting .287 with 21 home runs and 94 RBI in 127 games. He leads the league with a .515 slugging percentage and 90 walks. He ranks second in the league in homers, RBI, and on-base percentage (.413), is third in runs (89), and fourth in both extra-base hits (52) and total bases (217). The 23-year-old has also been excellent defensively, throwing out 30 percent of would-be base stealers to rank fifth in the league in that category.

Santana was the starting catcher for the Southern Division in this year's Eastern League All-Star game at Trenton, appeared in the prestigious Futures Game as part of Major League All-Star Weekend, and was selected as the catcher for the EL's season ending All-Star team last week.

He has already set a franchise record for walks in a season (breaking Ken Ramos' mark of 82 set in 1992), ranks fourth on Akron's single-season list in on-base percentage, and is three RBI away from tying Wes Hodges' single-season record of 97 set last year.

Signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Los Angeles Dodgers, Santana joined the Cleveland organization last summer in the trade for veteran Casey Blake. In 130 games for the Dodgers' Class A team at Inland Empire, then the Indians' Class A Kinston club and Akron, he hit .326 with 21 homers, 39 doubles, 117 RBI and 125 runs in 2008.

Reading outfielder Michael Taylor finished second in the voting for this year's MVP award, and Connecticut first baseman Brett Pill was third. The award was voted on by Eastern League team managers and coaching staffs, sportswriters, radio and television broadcast personnel and other members of the media.

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