VIERA, Fla. - The rosters are pretty much set for the 47th annual Florida State League All-Star game, which will be played Saturday at Space Coast Stadium, home of the Brevard County Manatees.
But for those who are anxiously awaiting the announcement of the starting pitchers for the East and West Division squads, you're just going to have to wait a little longer.
"We should know by the Home Run Derby," joked Clearwater manager Razor Shines, who will be at the helm for the West, thanks to the Threshers' position as reigning FSL champions.
The starters are not expected to be named until Saturday afternoon, though it should be a little earlier than the 6 p.m. ET Home Run Derby.
Truth is, picking a starter for this kind of game is not as easy as handing the honor to whoever is the "top" pitcher in the league. For one thing, the rosters are as shifting as the sands of the Florida beaches, thanks -- or no thanks -- to injuries and promotions. So once the field staffs (in this case Clearwater in West and Brevard in the East) sit down with their (hopefully) final pitching staffs in front of them, their job is just starting.
At that point, they have to talk to each pitcher and find out the last time they pitched. In some cases, the All-Star Game falls on a day when they would be starting, or at least throwing on the side, making them candidates for the slot. In others, they may be limited to a few pitches later in the game.
That said, here are a few candidates:
In the East, the obvious choice would be Vero Beach Devil Rays ace Jeremy Hellickson. At 6-1 with a 2.26 ERA, he has the best ERA of any starting pitcher in Saturday's game, and his five walks against 76 strikeouts in 67 2/3 innings isn't too shabby, either. He last pitched on June 5, so his arm is ready to go. But is his finger?
In his last start, Hellickson tossed five hitless innings but left after aggravating a chronic blister. That will likely be the determining factor if and when he pitches Saturday.
Other East candidates include his teammate, Ryan Morse, who has a 2.90 ERA and pitched five innings of three-hit shutout ball on Wednesday and Jupiter Hammerheads right-hander Kyle Winters, who pitched on Tuesday and has a 3.00 ERA. Jupiter southpaw Graham Taylor, with a 3.38 ERA and 68 strikeouts and only 14 walks in 85 1/3 innings, is another possibility.
For the West, if Shines wants to go with his marquee name, he'd turn to Lakeland Flying Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello. The former first-round pick boasts a 2.94 ERA and has walked 19 while striking out 41 over 67 1/3 innings in his pro debut since signing out of high school in New Jersey. Porcello is ready to roll, having made his last start on June 7.
The other likely candidate is Fort Myers Miracle ace Jeff Manship, who is 7-3 with a 2.86 ERA and last started on June 8.
No matter who gets the honor of starting, both pitching coaches will try to get every eligible hurler into Saturday's game.
Home Run Derby participants: The FSL may be known as a pitchers' league, but eight hitters will try to disprove that theory in the traditional pregame exhibition.
Each division will send four sluggers into battle. Trying to go deep for the East will be Brevard County's Taylor Green, Jupiter's Logan Morrison, Palm Beach's Tony Cruz and Vero Beach's J.T. Hall. The West will be repped by Dunedin teammates J.P. Arencibia and Brian Dopirak, Sarasota's Juan Francisco and Lakeland's Cale Iorg.
If crowd support make a difference, look for Green to take the title. The hometown favorite is the starting third baseman for the Manatees and comes into the game with a .316 average, six homers and 42 RBIs. The Canadian-born prospect is also the Brewers' reigning Minor League Player of the Year.
Morrison, a 2005 22nd-round pick who signed with the Marlins as a draft-and-follow, brings in the most homers among East representatives with seven to go with a .318 average and 40 RBIs.
Cruz, a catcher/third baseman, is hitting .259 with five homers and 37 RBIs. Hall is batting .298 with five homers and 27 RBIs.
Arencibia is the leading home run hitter among the West contingent. The former first-rounder out of Tennessee has been enjoying a monster first full season, hitting .315 with 13 homers and a league-leading 62 RBIs. Dopirak is batting .278 with eight homers and 25 RBIs.
Francisco, the lone switch-hitter in the field, is batting .286 with nine homers and 41 RBIs after leading the Midwest League with 25 roundtrippers in 2007.
Iorg, the son of former Toronto Blue Jay Garth Iorg, rounds out the octet with a .264 average, eight homers and 33 RBIs.
Lisa Winston 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.