Third baseman Patrick Leonard, designated hitter Mark Threlkeld and utility outfielder Bubba Starling, the fifth-overall pick in the 2011 Draft, have helped the Royals to a four-game lead in the Appy League East Division under first-year manager Shields, who guided Delmarva to the South Atlantic League crown in 1997. Burlington is gunning for its first Appalachian League title -- and only second playoff appearance -- since 1993.
West Division champion Elizabethton contributed a pair of outfielders, Max Kepler and Candido Pimentel, with the latter earning Player of the Year honors. Pimentel leads the league in hits, ranks third in batting, fourth in on-base percentage and runs scored, and is tied for fourth in stolen bases. The E-Twins are headed to the postseason for the eighth consecutive year.
Princeton's lone representative, Blake Snell, was named both left-handed starter and overall Pitcher of the Year. A first-round pick by the Rays in 2011, Snell is 5-1 with a 2.09 ERA in 11 starts for the P-Rays.
Jeremy Gabryszwski of Bluefield was named the top right-handed starter and Johnson City's Ronald Shaban was tabbed as the league's best reliever.
Shaban was joined by teammate Jeremy Schaffer at first base, while a pair of Greeneville infielders, shortstop Jean Batista and utility man Brian Blasik, represented the Astros. Second baseman Eric Grabe of Bristol and Pulaski catcher Tyler Marlette and outfielder Dario Pizzano rounded out the roster.
Elizabethton's Ryan Hedwell was honored by the Professional Baseball Trainers Society as the league's Trainer of the Year.
Complete list of honorees:
Player of the Year: Candido Pimentel, Elizabethton (MIN)
Pitcher of the Year: Blake Snell, Princeton (TB)
Manager of the Year: Tommy Shields, Burlington (KC)
Trainer of the Year: Ryan Hedwell, Elizabethton (MIN)
Appalachian League All-Stars
|Jeremy Schaffer||1B||Johnson City||STL|
|Brian Blasik||UT INF||Greeneville||HOU|
|Bubba Starling||UT OF||Burlington||KC|
|Ronald Shaban||RP||Johnson City||STL|