COMSTOCK PARK, MI - West Michigan Whitecaps' pitcher Jonathon Crawford has been named the starting pitcher for the Eastern Division team at the 2014 Midwest League All-Star Classic, manager Andrew Graham announced on Saturday.
Crawford is one of seven Whitecaps that will represent the host city at the 50th annual Midwest League All-Star Classic, presented by Amway, on Tuesday at Fifth Third Ballpark. Gates will open at 4:00 p.m. prior to the 7:00 p.m. ballgame with pre-game promotions including batting practice, an autograph session with both teams and the Pepsi "Lost Art of Bunting" Contest.
As the host team, the West Michigan field staff has the privilege of running the Eastern Division team, giving Graham the opportunity to pick his starting pitcher. The selection of Crawford came as no surprise given the stellar season being put forth by the Detroit Tigers' first-round pick in the 2013 draft.
The 22-year-old right-hander from Florida is 3-2 with a 2.58 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 59.1 innings. He has limited opposing hitters to a measly .217 batting average and ranks fifth in the league in ERA. Since a rocky Midwest League debut on April 4, Crawford has allowed two runs or less in nine of his last 10 outings and posted a 1.58 ERA over that time.
The Whitecaps' seven All-Stars are the most of any team in the Midwest League. Crawford will be joined by fellow starting pitchers Austin Kubitza, Buck Farmer, and Chad Green, reliever Joe Mantiply, second baseman Javier Betancourt and outfielder Wynton Bernard.
Kyle Finnegan of the Beloit Snappers has been named the starting pitcher for the Western Division squad by their manager, Omar Lopez of the Quad Cities River Bandits. Finnegan is 5-4 with a 2.85 ERA in 13 starts and ranks among the league leaders with 75.2 innings pitched (2nd) and a 2.85 ERA (9th).
With just two games remaining in the first half of the season, the playoff-bound Whitecaps are one win away from clinching first place as their series against the South Bend Silver Hawks continues on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. at Four Winds Field. RHP Jon Maciel (3-2, 3.36) is scheduled to pitch for West Michigan against LHP Hector Hernandez (3-2, 3.94) of South Bend. Following the road trip, the Whitecaps will host the 2014 Midwest League All-Star Classic at Fifth Third Ballpark on Tuesday, June 17. Gates open at 4:00 p.m. with pre-game festivities before the 7:00 p.m. game. Season, group and individual tickets can be reserved by calling the Whitecaps' front office at 616-784-4131 or visiting www.whitecapsbaseball.com.