TROY, NY - The Frontier League of Professional Baseball announced their end of season awards on Thursday, with two ‘Cats earning prestigious honors. ValleyCats 2B Brantley Bell, one of three ‘Cats to represent Tri-City in Washington, PA at this year’s Frontier League All-Star Game, has been named the Frontier League’s
TROY, NY - The Frontier League of Professional Baseball announced their end of season awards on Thursday, with two ‘Cats earning prestigious honors. ValleyCats 2B Brantley Bell, one of three ‘Cats to represent Tri-City in Washington, PA at this year’s Frontier League All-Star Game, has been named the Frontier League’s Most Valuable Player in the midst of a record-setting season, his first in independent baseball.
“He is probably the most prepared, talented player I’ve ever had in independent baseball,” said ValleyCats Manager Pete Incaviglia when asked about his second baseman. Bell embarked into the world of independent baseball this season after six seasons and reaching as high as Triple-A Louisville in the Cincinnati Reds organization, who drafted Brantley 325th overall in the 2015 MLB Draft. As of August 31, Brantley has tallied a Frontier League-leading .369 AVG, with 24 HR, 80 RBI, .665 SLG, 31 SB, and a .434 OBP. Bell’s remarkable debut season in independent baseball includes 134 hits (as of August 31), the most by any ValleyCats player in a single-season. The 27-year-old Bell broke the franchise’s hit record, previously held by Juan Silverio, in the midst of a 29-game hitting streak, the longest in franchise history.
Despite his young age, Bell’s experience in the Reds organization, paired with his baseball IQ and overall passion for the game has allowed him to provide a veteran presence in the clubhouse, dugout, and on the field. "Brantley has had an amazing season and we're thrilled to see him recognized with this well-deserved MVP award," said Matt Callahan, ValleyCats Vice President & General Manager, "Not only is he a phenomenal player but he's also a great teammate and person."
Denis Phipps, the ValleyCats single-season home run king, has been named the Frontier League’s DH of the year, earning honors for the second consecutive season. “What can I say about Phippsy that I haven’t said a million times before,” said Pete Incaviglia. “Denis is the billboard for independent baseball. He’s a guy that should’ve been in the big leagues for 8 years, not the minors and independent ball.” The 37-year-old designated hitter has slashed his way to a .300 batting average and his 33 home runs currently lead the league. Phipps is tied for the team lead with Brantley Bell in slugging percentage, firing off a .664 mark. His 88 RBI is the second-best total throughout the league.
As of August 31, Phipps has tallied 99 hits on the season with a third of them being home runs, and 53 of his hits have been for extra bases. As the oldest player in the Frontier League this year, the slugging right-hander has brought a veteran presence both on the field and in the clubhouse. "Denis is an unbelievable hitter, true professional, and outstanding veteran presence for our team," said Matt Callahan. "We're grateful to have him as a member of the ValleyCats organization and excited to see him recognized for such a great season."
The ‘Cats are back in action tonight at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium in the series finale against the Sussex County Miners before a weekend visit from the Empire State Greys to wrap up the regular season. Get your tickets today at the box office, by calling 518-629-CATS, or by logging on to tcvalleycats.com.