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The Arizona League, which shouldn't be confused with the Arizona Fall League, is a rookie-level league with teams located in -- you guessed it -- Arizona.

The Chicago Cubs, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers are all represented in the league.

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The nine teams play at the spring training complexes in the state. The Orioles don't have a team in the league because they don't train in Arizona.

The Angels went 21-7 and won the first-half title by three games over the Cubs. The Giants were 21-7 in the second half and clinched a spot in the championship.

Championship

The Angels and Giants met on Aug. 31 to decide the overall champion of the Arizona League. The Giants won, 4-2, to capture their second league championship in the past four years. They won the title in 2005 by finishing with the best record in both halves of the regular season.

Giants starting pitcher Javier Hernandez allowed one run and five hits in eight innings to earn the victory. The 20-year-old right-hander had five strikeouts and walked two in the game. Reliever Chris Wilson gave up an unearned run in the ninth inning before picking up the save.

First baseman C.J. Ziegler was 2-for-4 with a solo home run to lead the Giants and designated hitter Brooks Lindsley was 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored. Giants left fielder Jose Medina was 2-for-4 with an RBI triple.

Buster Posey, the Giants' first-round selection in this year's draft, was 0-for-3 with a strikeout. The 21-year-old catcher was 10-for-26 with one home run, four RBIs and eight runs scored in seven games during the regular season.

Following the championship game, Posey was promoted to the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes of the Northwest League. He went 3-for-11 with two doubles and two RBIs in three games. Posey will play in the Hawaii Winter League for the Waikiki BeachBoys.

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Top players

Nelson Perez, AZL Cubs -- Perez finished tied for the league lead in home runs (nine) and triples (10). The 20-year-old right fielder was second in the league in total bases (101), but he only appeared in 39 games. He also had seven doubles and 37 RBIs. Perez would have had better statistics, but he only batted .207 in nine games in August.

Alexia Amarista, AZL Angels -- Amarista batted .332 with two home runs, six doubles, four triples and 21 RBIs in 51 games for the Angels. The 19-year-old outfielder finished second in the league in runs scored (46) and tied for first in stolen bases (22). It should be noted that he was caught stealing 14 times, which was also the most in the league.

C.J. Ziegler, AZL Giants -- It wasn't a fluke that the 22-year-old first baseman hit a home run to lead the Giants in the championship game. Ziegler led the league in RBIs (43) and finished tied for the league lead with 17 doubles. He batted .262 with seven home runs and 26 runs scored in 53 games. The Giants selected Ziegler in the 16th round of this year's draft.

Kyle Nicholson, AZL Giants -- Nicholson dominated the Arizona League for the Giants in 2008. The 23-year-old starting pitcher was 6-1 with a 1.15 ERA in 11 starts. He had 54 strikeouts and only walked three hitters in 62 2/3 innings. Nicholson, who was the Giants' seventh-round draft pick in 2007, only allowed eight earned runs and 34 hits this season.

Manuarys Correa, AZL Angels -- Correa was 5-1 with a 2.65 ERA in 10 games (eight starts) for the Angels before being promoted to the Orem Owlz in August. Despite only pitching in 57 2/3 innings, the 19-year-old right-hander finished with the most strikeouts in the Arizona League (67). Following his move to the Owlz, Correa was 2-0 with a 6.20 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 20 1/3 innings.

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