The Southern League of Professional Baseball Clubs has announced that four Birmingham Barons players have been elected to the 2014 Southern League All-Star Team. Representing the North Division All-Star squad will be catcher Kevan Smith, outfielder Josh Richmond, outfielder Trayce Thompson and relief pitcher Cody Winiarski.
The All-Star selection is Smith's second in four professional seasons, having previously been elected to the 2011 South Atlantic League All-Star Team as a member of the Class A Kannapolis Intimidators. In his first season at the Double-A level, Smith is hitting .321 (50-for-156) with four home runs, 11 doubles, 32 runs scored and 22 RBI in 41 games. Smith, 25, hit .358 (29-for-81) with three home runs, 16 runs scored and 14 RBI in 22 games during the month of May. Behind the plate, Smith has thrown out 34% of attempted base stealers so far in 2014. He was drafted by the White Sox in the seventh round of the June 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Pittsburgh where he played football and baseball for the Panthers.
Richmond, 24, will be making his first All-Star game appearance in his fifth professional season. On the year, Richmond is hitting .271 (42-for-155) with four home runs, 11 doubles, 26 runs scored and a team-best 27 RBI in 44 games. He attended the University of Louisville where he was named to the All-NCAA Regional team as a sophomore. The Texas Rangers drafted Richmond in the 12th round of the June 2010 First-Year Player Draft. After three seasons in the Rangers organization and five games in the Independent Frontier League with the Florence Freedom, the White Sox signed him as a free agent on May 24th, 2013.
Thompson, rated as the No. 8 Prospect, Best Athlete and Best Defensive Outfielder in the White Sox organization by Baseball America, will be making his fourth-career All-Star Game appearance and second-straight for the Barons after being elected as a reserve in 2013. Thompson previously was named to the 2012 Carolina League postseason All-Star Team as a member of the Class A Winston-Salem Dash and the 2011 South Atlantic League midseason All-Star Team as a member of the Kannapolis Intimidators. On the season, Thompson is hitting .217 (45-for-212) with a team-leading six home runs, 32 runs scored and 25 RBI in 56 games.
The All-Star selection is the first for Winiarski, 24, who was instrumental in helping the Barons capture the 2013 Southern League Championship, recording three postseason saves including the clinching Finals game against Mobile. On the season, Winiarski is 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA (11 ER/26.2 IP) with a team-leading five saves in six opportunities and 30 strikeouts in 19 games. He's registered scoreless appearances in 15-of-19 games this season.
The players were selected by a vote of Southern League field managers, radio broadcasters, general managers and print media. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played on June 17th at AT&T Field, home of the Chattanooga Lookouts.