Winner to be announced on Fan Appreciation Day September 9th
(Central Islip, N.Y., Aug. 28, 2018) – The Long Island Ducks and Delmonte-Smelson Jewelers have teamed up once again to present the 2018 Long Island Ducks MVP Award. Fans can vote once per day from now through Saturday, September 8th for the Duck they believe should be this year’s Most Valuable Player.
Fans wishing to cast their ballot may do so by CLICKING HERE and selecting who they think the winner should be. The player with the most fan votes will receive a commemorative gift from Delmonte-Smelson Jewelers and be presented with an award prior to the Ducks game against the Road Warriors on Sunday, September 9th, which is Fan Appreciation Day, presented by Pepsi.
The following are this year’s nominees, listed alphabetically by last name (stats through August 27th):
Infielder Taylor Ard
Ard has been an outstanding addition to the Ducks roster since joining the team on May 29th. In 79 games played, he has totaled a .294 batting average, 14 home runs, 55 RBIs, 39 runs and 88 hits. The 28-year-old’s .498 slugging percentage is tops among Ducks players and ranks fourth in the Atlantic League. Ard was especially strong in the month of July, when he compiled a .362 batting average with five homers, 24 RBIs, a .390 on-base percentage and a .617 slugging percentage. The Washington resident reached base safely in his first 13 games with the Flock and later posted a 21-game hitting streak from June 30th to July 27th, good for the second-longest hitting streak in the Atlantic League this season.
Outfielder Lew Ford
Despite turning 42 years old this year, Ford has shown no signs of slowing down. He is the Atlantic League’s leader in doubles this season with 27. Additionally, he ranks second in games played (105) and extra-base hits (38), third in hits (118), fourth in at bats (396) and fifth in both RBIs (68) and total bases (177). The ninth-year Duck has accrued a .298 batting average along with 10 home runs, 62 runs, a .357 on-base percentage and a .447 slugging percentage. Ford also earned Atlantic League Player of the Month honors for July after hitting an impressive .380 in 24 games while leading Long Island with six homers, 28 RBIs, 20 runs, a .663 slugging percentage and a 1.083 OPS. His year was also highlighted by receiving his third Atlantic League All-Star Game selection.
Pitcher Francisco Rodriguez
K-Rod has been one of the best relief pitchers in the Atlantic League during the 2018 season. His 25 saves and 77 relief pitcher points currently rank second in the league, trailing only Sugar Land’s Felipe Paulino in both categories (28 and 86, respectively). The 16-year MLB veteran’s 2.29 ERA is tops among Ducks pitchers (minimum 15 appearances). He has 2-1 record in 36 appearances and has struck out 34 batters while walking 16 over 35.1 innings of work. Additionally, opponents are batting just .190 against the six-time MLB All-Star this season. Rodriguez allowed just one earned run over his first 11 appearances with the Ducks and has now conceded just one earned run in his past 14 outings (13.1 innings).
Infielder Jordany Valdespin
Valdespin’s first season in the Atlantic League has seen him be one of the league’s top position players all year long. The four-year MLB veteran is the league’s active leader in batting with a .336 average. He is also tops in the circuit in hits (140), runs scored (85), total bases (201), triples (6) and at bats (417). The Dominican Republic native is tied for third in the league with a .392 on-base percentage and ranks fifth with a .482 slugging percentage. In 102 games, Valdespin has also totaled 11 home runs, 49 RBIs, 16 doubles and a team-leading .874 OPS. Valdespin was named the Atlantic League’s Co-Player of the Month for April/May after leading the circuit in hits (45), runs (29), total bases (73), extra-base hits (17) and at bats (131). He was also chosen to play in the Atlantic League All-Star Game, which was held at Bethpage Ballpark on July 11th. His 32-game on-base streak from June 4th to July 14th is the longest in the league this year.
The Long Island Ducks are members of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball and play their home games at Bethpage Ballpark. For further information, call (631) 940-DUCK or visit www.liducks.com.
About the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)
The Atlantic League has been a leader in professional baseball and a gateway to Major League Baseball since 1998. Over 38 million fans have attended Atlantic League games and more than 900 players and 50 managers and coaches have joined MLB organizations directly from the ALPB. The Atlantic League emphasizes winning baseball games, showcasing the talent of top-caliber players and offering affordable family entertainment.
For more information, please visit www.atlanticleague.com.