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Chris Valaika

Chris Valaika

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Christopher Andrew Valaika (born August 14, 1985 in Santa Monica, California
Santa Monica, California
Santa Monica is a beachfront city in western Los Angeles County, California, US. Situated on Santa Monica Bay, it is surrounded on three sides by the city of Los Angeles — Pacific Palisades on the northwest, Brentwood on the north, West Los Angeles on the northeast, Mar Vista on the east, and...

) is a major league baseball
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball is the highest level of professional baseball in the United States and Canada, consisting of teams that play in the National League and the American League...

 infielder
Infielder
An infielder is a baseball player stationed at one of four defensive "infield" positions on the baseball field.-Standard arrangement of positions:In a game of baseball, two teams of nine players take turns playing offensive and defensive roles...

 for the Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati Reds
The Cincinnati Reds are a Major League Baseball team based in Cincinnati, Ohio. They are members of the National League Central Division. The club was established in 1882 as a charter member of the American Association and joined the National League in 1890....

.

Before professional baseball


Valaika attended college at the University of California-Santa Barbara. He was a member of the U.S. National Team
United States national baseball team
The United States National Baseball team represents the United States in international baseball competition. The United States has won the previous two Baseball World Cups, having lost this title to the Netherlands in 2011, and is currently second in the IBAF World Rankings, behind Cuba.The team...

, and won the silver medal at the U-18 Pan Am Cup in Curacao
Curaçao
Curaçao is an island in the southern Caribbean Sea, off the Venezuelan coast. The Country of Curaçao , which includes the main island plus the small, uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao , is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands...

-Antilles
Antilles
The Antilles islands form the greater part of the West Indies in the Caribbean Sea. The Antilles are divided into two major groups: the "Greater Antilles" to the north and west, including the larger islands of Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola , and Puerto Rico; and the smaller "Lesser Antilles" on the...

 and the gold medal at the 2004 World University Baseball Championship
World University Baseball Championship
The World University Baseball Championship is an under-23 international college baseball competition sponsored by the International University Sports Federation and sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation , which was first held in 2002 in Italy...

 in Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

.

Professional baseball


The Cincinnati Reds drafted Valaika in the third round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft
2006 Major League Baseball Draft
The 2006 First-Year Player Draft, Major League Baseball's annual amateur draft, was held on June 6 and 7. It was conducted via conference call with representatives from each of the league's 30 teams.-First Round Selections:...

, and he started his pro career with the rookie class Billings Mustangs
Billings Mustangs
The Billings Mustangs are a minor league baseball team based in Billings, Montana. The Mustangs are the Pioneer League Rookie affiliate of the Major League Cincinnati Reds. The team has been a part of the Pioneer League since 1948 with a five-year gap between 1964 and 1968, and has been affiliated...

. Chris hit .324 with 22 doubles and eight home runs with the Mustangs, and led the Pioneer League in total bases (143)and hits (89); was second in runs scored (58), RBI (60), and games played (70); and third in extra-base hits (34) and at-bats (275). He compiled a Pioneer League record 32-game hit streak, longest in the Minor Leagues in 2006.

Valaika started 2007 with the low A Dayton Dragons
Dayton Dragons
The Dayton Dragons are a Class A minor league baseball team from Dayton, Ohio affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds. They play in the Midwest League at Fifth Third Field.The Dragons came to Dayton in 2000...

, where he had two 11-game hit streaks. He was Reds' Minor League player of the month for April. His play earned him the starting shortstop for the East Division in the Midwest League
Midwest League
The Midwest League is a Class-A minor league baseball league which operates in the Midwestern United States.-History:Six teams – the Belleville Stags, the Centralia Cubs, the Marion Indians, the Mattoon Indians or East Frankfort White Sox, the Mount Vernon Braves, and the West Frankfort...

 All-Star game, as well as a spot on the ML's postseason All-Star team. He was promoted to high-A Sarasota on July 4, where he batted .253 with two home runs and 23 RBI in 57 games.

Valaika spent 2008 with Sarasota and the Class AA Chattanooga Lookouts
Chattanooga Lookouts
The Chattanooga Lookouts are a minor league baseball team based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA. They are named for nearby Lookout Mountain. The team, which plays in the Southern League, has been a Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers major-league club since the 2009 season. The Lookouts...

. In a combined 129 games, he batted .317 with 18 HR, 82 RBI, and nine stolen bases. He led all Reds minor leaguers in average and was second in RBI. His performance once again earned him Reds' Minor League player of the month for April. He played for the U.S. in the 2008 All-Star Futures Game
All-Star Futures Game
The All-Star Futures Game is an annual baseball exhibition game between a team of top minor league prospects from the United States and a team of prospects from other parts of the World...

, and was a mid-season Florida State League
Florida State League
The Florida State League is a Class A-Advanced minor league baseball league operating in the state of Florida. They are one of three leagues currently operating in Class A-Advanced, the third highest of six classifications of minor leagues...

 All-Star. He had an 18-game hit streak, which was second longest in the Southern League
Southern League (baseball)
The Southern League is a minor league baseball league which operates in the Southern United States. It is classified a Double-A league. The original league was formed in , and shut down in . A new league, the Southern Association, was formed in , consisting of twelve teams...

. Valaika received the Chief Bender Award for Reds' Minor League Player of the Year in 2008.

He played for Peoria
Peoria Javelinas
The Peoria Javelinas, established in 1992, are a baseball team that plays in the West Division of the Arizona Fall League. The Javelinas play their home games in the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona, which is a spring training site for both the San Diego Padres and the Seattle Mariners.For...

 in the Arizona Fall League
Arizona Fall League
The Arizona Fall League is an off-season league owned and operated by Major League Baseball which operates during the fall in Arizona, United States at five spring training complexes...

, where he batted .311 with two doubles, a triple, seven home runs, and 16 RBI in 32 games.

On November 20, 2009 the Reds added Valaika to their 40-man roster to avoid the Rule 5 Draft
Rule 5 draft
The Rule 5 draft is a Major League Baseball player draft that occurs each year in December, at the annual Winter Meeting of general managers. The Rule 5 draft aims to prevent teams from stockpiling too many young players on their minor league affiliate teams when other teams would be willing to...

.

Valaika made his major league debut on August 24, 2010. In his first career at-bat, Valaika got his first Major League hit - a single off of Santiago Casilla
Santiago Casilla
Santiago Casilla is a right-handed Major League Baseball relief pitcher for the San Francisco Giants.-Baseball career:...

 - on the first pitch he saw.

Chris has been called up to the Major League club in the 2011 season as well for a brief stint with the Reds to fill in for the injured Rolen.

Minor League Accolades


2006 PIO Post-season All-Star and MVP, 2006 Baseball America
Baseball America
Baseball America is a magazine which covers baseball at every level, with a particular focus on up-and-coming players in high school, college, Japan, and the minor leagues. It is currently published in the form of a bi-weekly newspaper, five annual reference book titles, a weekly podcast, and a...

 Rookie All-Star, 2006 [MLB.com] Short-Season Offensive Player of the Year, 2007 MID Player of the Week, Mid-season All-Star, and Post-season All-Star, 2008 FSL Player of the Week, and 2008 All-Star Futures Game selection.

External links