We know who will represent the International League at the 2014 Triple-A All-Star Game in Durham on July 16. Now we know who their opposition will be.
Joc Pederson, Arismendy Alcantara and Jimmy Nelson, each of whom are among the top-100 prospects in baseball according to MLB.com, highlight the 2014 Pacific Coast League All-Star roster, the league announced Thursday.
Pederson, who was one of 13 players elected to the team by fans, media and field/general managers, is probably the biggest name of the bunch. Ranked No. 29 overall by MLB.com, the 22-year-old outfielder has been one of the league's outstanding players in the first half in his first go-round with the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate in Albuquerque. Pederson has shown off a whole toolshed of skills with the Isotopes, leading the league in OBP (.437), OPS (1.005) and ranking among the top five in home runs (17, fourth), stolen bases (20, third) and slugging (.568, third).
He hasn't played since June 24, however, when he suffered a separated shoulder diving for a ball in center field and landing on his right arm. The Los Angeles Times reported that the injury was likely to keep the prized Dodgers prospect out for "at least 10 games," which would pin his return at a little less than two weeks before the All-Star Game.
Also elected to start for the PCL was Cubs No. 6 and MLB.com's No. 71 overall prospect Arismendy Alcantara. The 22-year-old second baseman has taken well to the hitter-friendly climates of the western Triple-A circuit and, like Pederson, has shown an impressive combination of power and speed with Iowa. His 11 triples lead the PCL, rank second among all Minor Leaguers and are a big reason why he's been able to put up a .546 slugging percentage, good enough for fifth in the league despite his power getting a 45 grade on last offseason.
Alcantara's 10 home runs mark only the second time in four tries that he's hit double-digits in the category while playing in a full-season league. His 20 steals stand as the third straight season he's been able to hit that mark. His .310 average would be a career high and has been fueled by a recent scorching run. Alcantara is on a 22-game on-base streak and is batting .415 with a .462 OBP in that time.
Filling out the PCL starting lineup will be stolen-base leader and Omaha outfielder Paulo Orlando (24 steals), Tacoma third baseman Gabriel Noriega (.328 average, third in league) and Las Vegas DH Allan Dykstra (.427 OBP, second behind Pederson).
It won't be only hitters showing off their stuff for the PCL, however. Nelson has been arguably the best pitcher in Triple-A ball this season. The Nashville right-hander leads the circuit in ERA (1.56), strikeouts (110), average-against (.176) and ranks second in K/9 (9.5), FIP (2.86) and WHIP (0.92). It's a marked improvement for the Brewers' top prospect, who put up a 3.67 ERA with a 9.8 K/9 in 2013 for the Sounds but struggled with command (5.4 BB/9). That rate is down to 2.6 through 104 innings this season.
New Orleans right-hander Elih Villanueva (8-5, 3.13 ERA) was the other starting pitcher elected to the squad while Iowa right-hander Blake Parker (18 saves, 1.44 ERA) and Omaha right-hander Spencer Patton (14 saves, 4.54 ERA) were voted in as relievers.
Here is the complete 2014 PCL All-Star roster:
2014 PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE ALL-STAR TEAM
|Allan Dykstra||DH||Las Vegas||NYM|
|Elih Villanueva||SP||New Orleans||MIA|
|Max Stassi||C||Oklahoma City||HOU|
|Jonathan Galvez||INF||El Paso||SD|
|Shawn O'Malley||INF||Salt Lake||ANA|
|Ben Paulsen||INF||Colorado Springs||COL|
|Gregorio Petit||INF||Oklahoma City||HOU|
|Jared Hoying||OF||Round Rock||TEX|
|Jason Roberts||Trainer||Round Rock||TEX|