Viloria Wins Ralph Nelles Award

Meibrys Viloria's left-handed swing has caused damage to opposing teams this season. (Steve Thayer)

By Andrew Haynes | September 6, 2016 8:17 PM

Idaho Falls Chukars catcher Meibrys Viloria has been named the 2016 Ralph Nelles Award winner as the Pioneer League's Most Valuable Player.

Viloria, also named to the league's End-of-Season All-Star Team, leads the circuit in batting average (.381), doubles (28) and RBI (54). He is second in extra-base hits (37) and runs (53) as well as third in on-base percentage (.442) and slugging percentage (.619). Viloria has been atop the league leaderboard in hitting since taking over the top spot on July 10.

The Chukars' catcher also holds the longest hitting streak in the Pioneer League in 2016, with a 20-game stretch of hitting safely from July 7 to August 7. He was the league's Player of the Month for July.

"It's a great credit to him and the year he's had," Idaho Falls manager Justin Gemoll said. "He does a lot of good things - blocking balls, controlling the running game and leading the pitching staff, and offensively he's had a great approach and been consistent all year long.

"He's one of those kids who comes ready to play and wants to play every day. His energy is infectious for our team and he got after it all season long."

Viloria, signed by the Royals out of Colombia in 2013, is the third Idaho Falls player to win the award since I.F. joined the Kansas City Royals' farm system in 2004. He follows Clint Robinson in 2007 and Ryan O'Hearn in 2014.

Great Falls pitcher Aron McRee was named the Logan Hurlburt Pitcher of the Year Award winner.

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