December 7, 2009 - Midwest League (MWL) - Dayton Dragons
DAYTON, OH -Former Dayton Dragons outfielder Chris Heisey has been named winner of the Sheldon "Chief" Bender Award as the Cincinnati Reds' Minor League Player of the Year for 2009.
Heisey, who spent the 2007 season with the Dragons, was also recently added to the Reds' 40-man roster. He split the 2009 season between the Double-A Carolina Mudcats and the Triple-A Louisville Bats. He led the entire Reds organization in batting at.314 to go along with 22 home runs and 77 runs batted in. Heisey played in the Southern League All-Star Game as representative of the Mudcats and represented the Reds in the XM All-Star Futures Game as part of the Major League All-Star Game event in St. Louis.
Heisey was the left fielder on the '07 Dragons team that went 24-5 over its first 29 games and reached the playoffs. He played in 104 games with the Dragons and finished ninth in the Midwest League in batting at.289 to go along with nine home runs and 46 runs batted in. He also stole 19 bases. He was a 17th round draft pick in 2006 by the Reds out of Messiah College, a Division III school in Grantham, Pennsylvania. Heisey was signed by Reds scout Jeff Brookens.
Heisey becomes the fifth consecutive Reds Minor League Player of the Year to have played with the Dragons.
2009 OF Chris Heisey (2007 Dragons)
2008 SS Chris Valaika (2007 Dragons)
2007 OF Jay Bruce (2006 Dragons)
2006 RHP Homer Bailey (2005 Dragons)
2005 OF Chris Denorfia (2002 Dragons)
Two other former Dragons were also named to organizational honors by the Reds. Travis Wood (2006 Dragons) was named Reds 2009 Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Third baseman Juan Francisco (2007 Dragons) was named Reds 2009 Minor League Hitter of the Year.
Wood, who went 10-5 in 27 starts with Dayton in 2006, won the earned run average title in the Double-A Southern League with Carolina in 2009, going 9-3 with a 1.21 ERA in 19 starts. He made eight more starts with Louisville and finished the year with a combined record of 13-5. His overall ERA of 1.77 ranked second among starting pitchers in all of Minor League Baseball.
Francisco, also the Reds Minor League Hitter of the Year in 2008, batted.295 with 27 home runs and 93 RBI at Carolina and Louisville this season. He made his Major League debut with the Reds in September. Francisco led the Midwest League in home runs with the Dragons in 2007 with 25.
The Reds' Minor League Player of the Year award is named after Sheldon "Chief" Bender, who worked in professional baseball for 64 years including 39 years in the Reds scouting and player development departments.
The Dragons open their 11th season in the Midwest League on April 8th at Fifth Third Field against the Lansing Lugnuts.