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Three Catfish Named South Atlantic League All-Stars06/02/2008 9:38 PM ET
By Tim Kay / Columbus Catfish
Columbus, GA - The South Atlantic League announced the 2008 All-Stars today and three Catfish were elected to the team. OF Emeel Salem, OF Maiko Loyola and SP Alex Cobb were elected to the All-Star team, which was voted on by team's managers and coaching staffs, local media and front office executives.
Outfielder Maiko Loyola is in his first full season with Columbus after playing 67 games for Columbus and 44 for Hudson Valley last season. The speedy outfielder is hitting .271 with 2 home runs and 18 runs batted in and has primarily hit 3rd in the batting order. Loyola has stolen 22 bases and only been caught 3 times. Loyola leads the Catfish in walks (28), on-base percentage (.368) and runs scored (31). Loyola has also demonstrated a strong arm this season, recording 4 outfield assists.
Outfielder Emeel Salem was getting his first experience in a full-season league after being named the Renegades Player of the Year last year for Hudson Valley. Salem continued to hit while with Columbus, as he is hitting .301 with 24 runs scored. Salem, who was Columbus lead-off hitter this season, made a big name for himself by his ability to steal bases, as he was leading professional baseball throughout the season before succumbing to a broken left elbow, which occurred when he had successfully stolen his 25th base in 30 tries. Salem's value to the Catfish was learned shortly after he went down, as the team has struggled to a 3-15 record when Salem does not play. Salem was also recognized as Tampa Bay's Minor League Player of the Month for April after hitting .288 with 21 stolen bases.
Pitcher Alex Cobb came in billed as one of Tampa Bay's top prospects and he has not disappointed, posting a 6-3 record with a 2.13 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 63 innings. The 6 wins is a career-high for Cobb and he has held opposing hitters to a .211 batting average and sports a superb 1.03 WHIP. Cobb features a low 90's fastball and a splitter, but it is his innate feel for his curveball that sets him apart from other pitchers. Cobb's curveball is an 11-5 breaker that he can throw for a strike when behind in the count or bury in the dirt when ahead in the count to get strikeouts and weak groundballs. Cobb came to Columbus from Hudson Valley, where he was named the Hudson Valley Pitcher of the Year after leading the Renegades in innings pitched, starts and strikeouts.
The Catfish are the Class-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.