Ezequiel Carrera has shown a pretty good ability to steal. After all, he does lead all Triple-A players with 25 stolen bases so far this season for Toledo. So it seems rather fitting that he might next swipe a spot on the International League All-Star team.
The Mud Hens speedster jumped into second place among IL outfielders in the latest Triple-A All-Star game ballot update Wednesday, leapfrogging Durham's Mike Mahtook and Indianapolis' Chris Dickerson in the process ahead of the game on July 16 at Durham's Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Beyond just the ability to take the extra base, Carrera has proven plenty capable with the bat this season. He ranks seventh in the IL with a .320 average through 51 games while his .404 on-base percentage places him fifth in the category. That's a significant bump from the .248 average and .312 OBP he put up -- to go with 43 steals -- for Columbus last season after being designated for assignment by the Phillies in May 2013. The 27-year-old outfielder, who signed a Minor League deal with the Tigers last offseason, was last a Minor League All-Star in 2009 when he put up a .337/.441/.416 slash line with 27 steals for the Mariners' Double-A West Tennessee affiliate of the Southern League.
Despite being overtaken by Carrera, Mahtook remains in the third and final IL outfield spot. The Rays' No. 14 prospect owns a .321/.381/.505 slash line with three homers, five triples and a league-best 21 doubles for Durham. Dickerson dropped off in the race for a starting spot, despite ranking in the league's top five for average (.321, fifth), OBP (.415, second) and OPS (.918, fifth).
Pirates top prospect Gregory Polanco (.347/.405/.540, seven homers, 49 RBIs, 15 steals) remains at the top spot for both IL outfielders and overall IL vote-getters but was called up to Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Barring any unforseen struggles, it's unlikely he'll move back to Triple-A before the All-Star Game, thus potentially opening up a starting spot for his teammate Dickerson.
Over in the Pacific Coast League, El Paso's Jeff Francoeur continues to cling to the third and final spot in that starting outfield in the most hotly contested race, according to the latest numbers. The veteran outfielder owns a .276/.305/.473 line with 12 homers and 36 RBIs for the Chihuahuas in their inaugural season and has made headlines by appearing seven times out of the El Paso bullpen and posting a 4.26 ERA.
He leads Cardinals No. 11 prospect Randal Grichuk by only 75 votes, however. The Memphis outfielder had a .315/.364/.589 line with 10 homers and 32 RBIs before being called up to the Majors in the end of May. He is batting .150 with a homer and three RBIs in 18 games for the big league club.
Nick Evans is at the top of the PCL's designated hitter position and also leads the entire ballot in total votes. The 28-year-old Reno slugger had a .335/.393/.641 line with 11 homers and 44 RBIs but, like Polanco and Grichuk, is currently in the Majors with the D-backs. His 1.034 OPS ranks second behind only Dodgers No. 2 prospect Joc Pederson (1.045), who sits comfortably in second among PCL outfielders.
Here are the rest of the IL and PCL ballot leaders:
IL All-Star voting as of June 11
|C||Jhonatan Solano||Syracuse Chiefs||WAS|
|1B||Dan Johnson||Buffalo Bisons||TOR|
|2B||Ruben Gotay||Louisville Bats||CIN|
|3B||Mike Hessman||Toledo Mud Hens||DET|
|SS||Tyler Saladino||Charlotte Knights||CWS|
|OF||Gregory Polanco||Indianapolis Indians||PIT|
|OF||Ezequiel Carrera||Toleod Mud Hens||DET|
|OF||Mikie Mahtook||Durham Bulls||TB|
|DH||Wilson Betemit||Durham Bulls||TB|
|SP||Taylor Hill||Syracuse Chiefs||WAS|
|SP||Brandon Cumpton||Indianapolis Indians||PIT|
|RP||Kirby Yates||Durham Bulls||TB|
|RP||Jeff Beliveau||Durham Bulls||TB|
PCL All-Star voting as of June 11
|C||Adam Moore||El Paso Chihuahuas||SD|
|1B||Mike Jacobs||Reno Aces||ARI|
|2B||Alex Guerrero||Albuquerque Isotopes||LAD|
|3B||Adam Duvall||Fresno Grizzlies||SF|
|SS||Nick Franklin||Tacoma Rainiers||SEA|
|OF||Andrew Brown||Las Vegas 51s||NYM|
|OF||Joc Pederson||Albuquerque Isotopes||LAD|
|OF||Jeff Francoeur||El Paso Chihuahuas||SD|
|DH||Nick Evans||Reno Aces||ARI|
|SP||Jimmy Nelson||Nashville Sounds||MIL|
|SP||Mike Fiers||Nashville Sounds||MIL|
|RP||David Aardsma||Memphis Redbirds||STL|
|RP||Spencer Patton||Omaha Storm Chasers||KC|
Voting for the Triple-A All-Star game will conclude on June 27. The fan's vote will count for one third of the total vote, which will be added to votes from the media and the Triple-A field/general managers vote to decide who heads to Durham on July 16. Fans can vote up to 25 times and will receive a discount on MiLB.TV or a 15 percent discount to the MLB.com Shop, if they already have the service.