RHP Taylor Whitenton (3-1, 3.74) has been selected as the Southern Division's starting pitcher. LHP Chase Huchingson, RHP Greg Peavey and closer LHP Josh Edgin were also selected from the Gnats' staff that leads the SAL in ERA (3.33). SS/2B Robbie Shields and RF Cory Vaughn were selected as the team's Utility Infielder and Outfielder respectively. This is the second straight season in which the Gnats have placed six players on the SAL All-Star team, in both cases, leading the League.
"Our pitching has carried the team to first place in 2011, so it seems fitting that there will be four Gnats' pitchers representing Savannah," said Gnats team President John Katz. "Personally, with six players and two coaches, this is the largest contingent I've ever taken to an All-Star game that I didn't host, and I'm looking forward to watching the Gnats swarm Maryland's Eastern Shore."
The All-Stars on the Savannah pitching staff boast a series of impressive accomplishments. Taylor Whitenton's opponents' batting average of .215 is fourth in the SAL, his 60 strikeouts are seventh, and he has struck out 11.8 batter per nine innings (60 K/45.2 IP). Chase Huchingson is currently leading the SAL in ERA (2.14) and is fifth in opponents' batting average (.218) and seventh in WHIP (1.12). Greg Peavey boasts the third-lowest walk rate (1.50 BB-IBB/9 IP) among SAL starting pitchers and his 66 innings pitched are tied for fifth in the League while his 58 strikeouts are ninth. Closer Josh Edgin, who is tied for second in the SAL with 11 saves, has been a force at the end of games for the Gnats. He is third among SAL relievers in both strikeout rate (12.62 SO/9 IP) and opponents' batting average (.146) and fourth in fewest baserunners/9 IP (8.06).
Cory Vaughn and Robbie Shields have led the Gnats' offense in 2011. Vaughn, who entering Tuesday is the only player in the League to have played in all of his team's games, is 10th in the SAL in batting average (.317), third in on base percentage (.438), number one in hit-by pitch (13), tied for fourth in walks (32), and 15th in OPS (.892). Shields is tied for fifth in the SAL in doubles (17) and third in triples (4).
Ellis, in his fifth full-season with the Mets, is in his first season as the Gnats' manager after serving as the team's hitting coach in 2009 and 2010. Carreno, who became an American citizen in May, is in his fourth season with the Mets and his third with Savannah.
ABOUT THE SAVANNAH SAND GNATS
The Savannah Sand Gnats, the Class-A affiliate of the New York Mets, is a professional minor league baseball team and a member of the South Atlantic League. Savannah plays its home games at Historic Grayson Stadium in Savannah, Georgia, just minutes from downtown Savannah. Historic Grayson Stadium is situated within Savannah's Daffin Park, creating a unique atmosphere and a "Park within a Park" setting. Follow the Savannah Sand Gnats at www.sandgnats.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sandgnats and on twitter at @gnatsbaseball.