High-profile players, low-profile players and everyone in between will get the chance to shine later this month at Joker Marchant in Lakeland when the Florida State League hosts its 45th annual Mid-Summer Classic.
The league announced rosters for the East and West Division on Thursday, and a pair of former first-round picks will be on hand for the June 17 event. Ryan Braun, Milwaukee's top pick last season, heads a list of six Brevard County players named to the East squad while right-hander Homer Bailey, Cincinnati's top pick in 2004, will be one of two players representing Sarasota on the Western Division team.
The Manatees, currently in second place in the East, will comprise 25 percent of the 23-player East squad. St. Lucie, which is in first place, had five players named, while host Lakeland, Clearwater and Dunedin also had five players tabbed from its respective squads.
"We have a lot of talented players, and some other guys were also close to making the team," said Braun, the third baseman who starred a few hours down I-95 at the University of Miami. "It speaks volumes about the Milwaukee Brewers organization as a whole. And I look at it as an honor. What we've been able to do for our team over the course of the first half of the season, it's great to be recognized by the league and to be able to participate in the All-Star Game."
Joining Braun will be teammates Brendan Katin (DH), who has a league-leading 20 doubles, Hernan Iribarren (IF), Steve Sollman (IF), Josh Wahpepah (RHP) and Yovani Gallardo (RHP), who has a league-leading 77 strikeouts and is sixth with a 2.18 ERA. Iribarren's election to the team comes despite the fact he was suspended for three games by the league (and another three games by the Brewers) this week after it was discovered last weekend that he has been using a corked bat.
The St. Lucie contingent is highlighted by pair of hitters who are among the top (second in the league with 11 saves) and Mike Devaney (ninth in the league with a 2.29 ERA).
Jupiter checked in with four players, among them was right-hander Jose Garcia, who is tied for the league lead with six victories and is fourth with a 1.93 ERA. Dayton had three players tabbed, including catcher Jake Fox, who is tied for the league lead with 44 RBIs and is second with 11 homers. Matt Craig, meanwhile, leads all first baseman in the league with a .995 fielding percentage and is fifth in the league at hitting at .321.
Palm Beach (three) and Vero Beach (two) rounded out the squad. Palm Beach's Terry Evans, who is tied for the league lead with 12 home runs, is the lowest-drafted player to make the squad, going in the 47th round of the 2001 draft (1,409th overall) to the Cardinals.
West Division manager Mike Rojas will be surrounded by some familiar faces with five of his players earning a berth on the team. Included in that group are pitchers Kevin Whelan (third in the league with 10 saves), Jair Jurrjens, who is 4-0 and fourth in the league with a 1.80 ERA and Jeff Hahn. Catcher Chris Robinson and outfielder Jeff Frazier round out Lakeland's contingent.
"You get to see a lot of the top prospects and good players from the Western Division on one team so that should be fun to watch," Rojas said. "Whelan has struggled a little bit with his fastball, but he has 10 saves. He just has to locate with it. He also has a tremendous splitter and just needs time to pitch.
"Jurrjens has been phenomenal. He has a great mound presence. He's a young prospect with a wonderful arm. And Frazier is doing great. He's a solid third or fourth hitter, an RBI-doubles type of guy. I had the opportunity to manage him in Oneonta, and I'm thrilled to death to have the chance to manage him again in the Florida State League and in the All-Star Game."
Dunedin's fivesome includes a pair of Ryans -- Klosterman and Patterson -- heavy hitters who have contributed mightily to the fact the Blue Jays are leading the league in average (.280), runs (.285), hits (503) and home runs (42). Klosterman, a fifth-round pick in 2004 out of Vanderbilt, is tied with Fox for the league lead in RBIs while Patterson, last season's fourth-rounder from Louisiana State, is tied with Evans for the home run lead and is third in RBIS (41).
Meanwhile, teammate Milton Tavarez has a league-leading 12 saves to help give the Jays a share of the West Division lead with Fort Myers.
The Clearwater five includes Mike Costanzo, a second-rounder who was Philadelphia's first selection last season. Costanzo leads league third basemen with a .955 fielding percentage.
Fort Myers had four players named to the squad though pitcher Matt Garza was promoted to Double-A New Britain after going 5-1 with a 1.42 ERA in eight starts. Right-hander Kevin Slowey, however, has a 1.48 ERA, second only to Garza on the circuit. He is second in the league with 75 strikeouts.
Catcher Kyle Geiger, a former 42nd-round pick (1,262nd overall) joins Evans as one of the more unlikely players to get selected. Sarasota, meanwhile, also saw Brandon Roberts, a 2005 seventh-round pick out of San Luis Obispo tabbed. Roberts is hitting .285 with 21 stolen bases.
The Tampa trio includes right-hander Gerardo Casadiego (third in the league with 10 saves), infielder Cody Ehlers (second in RBIs with 43 and fourth in homers with nine) and outfielder Brett Gardner, who is third in hitting at .333.
Which brings us back to Bailey, whose notable accomplishments this season include being fourth in the league with 64 strikeouts and third with five losses.
Kevin Czerwinski is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.