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09/03/2009 4:09 PM ET
Rockies Minor League Affiliates, Players Experiencing Success
Modesto, Tri-City clinch playoff berths; Young, Deduno, Pacheco, Dust Devils Manager Ocasio receive league awards
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The Colorado Rockies are experiencing success at the Player Development level as the club's Minor League affiliates prepare to conclude their 2009 season schedules next week. As of today, five of the Rockies' six affiliated teams in Minor League Baseball are in position to compete for a League Championship. Two teams, the Modesto Nuts (A) of the California League and Tri-City Dust Devils (Short Season A) of the Northwest League, have already clinched playoff berths, while Colorado Springs (AAA), Tulsa (AA) and Asheville (A) all began the day in first or second place in their leagues. Additionally, three Rockies Minor League players earned league awards for the 2009 season: Infielder Eric Young Jr. (Pacific Coast League Rookie of the Year), right-handed pitcher Samuel Deduno (Texas League Pitcher of the Year) and catcher Jordan Pacheco (South Atlantic League Player of the Year). Tri-City Dust Devils Manager Fred Ocasio was named Manager of the Year in the Northwest League.

Team Standing Games Back/Ahead Games Remaining
Colorado Springs 1st +2.0 5
Tulsa 2nd -1.0 5
Modesto 2nd Clinched Wild Card N/A
Asheville 1st +2.5 5
Tri-City 1st Clinched Division Title N/A

The success of the club's Player Development and Minor League system stems from an organizational commitment to scouting and player development that was initiated in 2003. The benefits of that model have been apparent in recent years. Last April, for the first time in franchise history, the Rockies started an Opening Day lineup of all home-grown players. Additionally, the Rockies own an organizational winning pct. of .520 (389-359) at the Minor League level this season - the 6th-highest mark among all 30 Major League franchises and 2nd-highest among National League teams. In 2007, the Rockies were named "Organization of the Year" by Baseball America, an award that recognizes a franchise's performance during the season with the team, coaches, general manager and organizational package taken as a whole. On an individual level, several players and managers have garnered awards throughout the Minor Leagues in recent years, including this year's winners: Young, Deduno, Pacheco, and manager Fred Ocasio.

Young, 24, was recently named the 2009 Pacific Coast League Rookie of the Year, an honor annually chosen by the league's managers and media representatives in recognition of a player's outstanding achievements in his first year at the Triple-A level. Currently on the Colorado Rockies active roster with the Major League club, Young hit .299 with 7 home runs and 43 RBI in 119 games for the Sky Sox this season prior to making his big league debut on August 25. At the time of his promotion, Young led the PCL and all Triple-A clubs with 58 stolen bases. His 118 runs also led the PCL and all of Minor League Baseball. The second baseman was voted a mid-season and post-season PCL All-Star by the League's managers and media representatives this season.

Young had 303 stolen bases in his first six Minor League seasons (2004-09). He was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 30th round of the 2003 MLB draft and attended Chandler Gilbert (AZ) Community College before signing with the Rockies. He is the son of former Rockies player Eric Young Sr., who played for the club for five seasons from 1993-97.

Deduno, 26, was originally signed by the Rockies as a non-drafted free agent on March 5, 2003. He has gone 12-4 with a 2.57 ERA for the Drillers thus far in 2009. He leads the Texas League in all three pitching Triple Crown categories with 12 wins, a 2.57 ERA and 123 strikeouts. He has allowed just 94 hits in his 133.0 innings pitched this season. Deduno has surrendered just 3 home runs in 24 starts, the fewest for a full time starter in the Texas League. Should he finish as the Texas League's leader in strikeouts this season, it would mark the 3rd time in his career that he has led a league in strikeouts for a single season. He led the Texas League in strikeouts in his last full season of 2007, and also the Pioneer League 2004. As a member of the Rockies 40-man roster, Deduno made his first appearance in Major League Spring Training in 2009. Deduno missed the entire 2008 season due to injury.

Pacheco, 23, was selected by Colorado in the 9th round of the 2007 June draft. This marks the second consecutive year that a Tourists player has been named the South Atlantic League Most Valuable Player, following Darin Holcomb's selection as the league MVP in 2008. Pacheco has hit .323 with 29 doubles, 4 triples, 13 home runs and 79 RBI as the club's everyday catcher. He has also posted a .380 on-base percentage and a .498 slugging percentage. Pacheco has almost as many walks (36) as strikeouts (42) this season. He currently ranks 2nd in the South Atlantic League with a .323 batting average, trailing only teammate Kiel Roling. His 141 hits are also 2nd to another teammate, Scott Robinson. Pacheco ranks among the league's top 10 leaders in doubles, RBI, total bases (217), on-base pct. and slugging pct. Pacheco also has 12 stolen bases this season, while being caught just twice.

Ocasio, in his fourth season as manager of the Dust Devils, has been with the Rockies organization for 14 seasons. His club, which has already clinched a playoff berth by winning the Northwest League East Division, currently holds a 10-game lead over second-place Spokane. With a record of 45-27, the 2009 Dust Devils have already set the record for single-season victories by a Colorado Short Season-A team. The previous record was set in 1997, as the Portland Rockies finished 44-32 in the regular season before capturing the Northwest League Championship that season. This year's Tri-City pitching staff leads the league with a 3.34 ERA, while several players rank among the league leaders in individual categories. Ocasio will be leading his club into the playoffs for the second consecutive season, as the 2008 Dust Devils won the East Division but lost in the NWL Championship Series.

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