Outfielder Cedric Hunter, in conjunction with an online fan vote, was named the Physicians Health Plan Player of the Year. Reliever Rolando Valdez was named the Most Valuable Pitcher. Outfielder Mike Epping, promoted to the Portland Beavers, and current Wizard pitcher Drew Miller received the Community Involvement Award and outfielder Sam Carter was awarded the Teammate of the Year trophy.
At the age of 19, and only one year removed from high school athletics, Hunter entered the home finale leading the Wizards with a .285 average, a team-best 54 runs batted in and has appeared in a team-high 122 games. He was second on the team with eight steals and third with 18 doubles. Hunter came into Monday’s game tenth in the Midwest League with his .285 average and was fourth in the league with his 135 hits.
Valdez was called upon many times out of the bullpen for the Wizards. Coming into Monday’s game, the right-hander appeared in a team-high and Midwest League most 53 games and was 2-5 with eight saves and a 3.19 earned run average. In 53.2 innings, Valdez allowed only one home run, which came during Saturday’s doubleheader against South Bend and was fourth on the team with 49 strikeouts.
Both Miller and Epping were involved in many off the field activities, including making appearances at Little League events, assisting with the Wizards annual Little League clinics, and always willing to stop and sign autographs for fans. Miller was also a guest on a local radio station on many Monday mornings.
Carter, signed by the San Diego Padres as a non-drafted free agent, spent the entire season with the Wizards. He was named the Midwest League Offensive Player of the Week from July 9 through July 15. He was second on the team with 11 home runs and was third on the team with 42 RBI. The Teammate of the Year award is given to the player who best displays the sportsmanship and leadership on and off the field.