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Southern League reveals 2010 All-Stars06/30/2010 2:05 PM ET
By Griffin Zucosky / Special to MLB.com
Huntsville's Joe Davis Stadium better get ready for some fireworks, because the Southern League All-Star Game is comin' to town.
The July 12 event at the home of the Milwaukee Brewers' Double-A affiliate, the Huntsville Stars, will feature some of the heaviest hitting prospects around, including Jacksonville's Brandon Tripp and hometown favorite Lorenzo Cain of the Stars. This will be Tripp's third All-Star Game in his short career, and he has risen quickly through the ranks since getting traded to the Marlins organization. He is second in the league in both batting average (.322) and slugging percentage (.517) and has seen his production soar when batting with runners in scoring position. Cain has dazzled the Huntsville crowd all season with his speed and ability to get on base. Cain is in the top five in the league in stolen bases (19), average (.319) and on-base percentage (.404).
Both squads feature a slew of sluggers who will provide some major firepower for their respective sides. The North Division will rely on West Tenn first baseman Johan Limonta (10 HR, .511 SLG, 52 RBIs) -- whose 25 doubles lead the league -- as well as the league's RBI leader, Chattanooga third basemen Corey Smith (8 HR, 58 RBI, .482 SLG).
Although the South Division has seen many of its best hitters promoted in recent weeks -- notably Mike Stanton -- many fresh faces will try to make an impact. A plethora of Mobile players pepper the Southern roster and have been responsible for the team's streaking second-half start. Konrad Schmidt has been spectacular as the Mobile backstop this season and finds himself tied for fifth in the league with a .319 average. Evan Frey, Schmidt's teammate, should anchor the Southern squad's outfield as he does Mobile's. Frey is in the top 10 league-wide in average (.310), on-base percentage (.386) and stolen bases (20).
On the mound, the North squad will turn to the right arm of Matt Klinker to set the pace. The Carolina Mudcat leads the league in ERA (1.75), is second in WHIP (.097) and has fanned 71 batters. Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Ryan Buchter, David Cales and Hung-Wen Chen -- Tennessee Smokies all -- make up a large portion of the pitching staff that has issued the fewest walks in the Southern League this year, and they will be heavily relied upon for the North.
The South division squad will need Jacksonville's Elih Villanueva's iron arm to produce several innings of proficient pitching to keep the North squad's hitters at bay. Villanueva leads the Southern League in innings pitched with 101 1/3 and led his Suns to the first-half division championship. Pairing the stamina of Villanueva with the heat of the Biscuits Alexander Torres, who leads the league in strikeouts with 86, will prove tough for North hitters.
* Will play in the All-Star Game as well as the Futures Game if travel allows.