Arkansas Travelers first baseman Joey Curletta and relief pitcher Matt Festa were named to the Texas League Postseason All-Star team in a vote of the league's managers, coaches and media members as announced on Thursday by the Texas League office. Curletta, who was voted the league's player of the year, has been the team's top hitter throughout the season ranking among the league leaders in nearly every offensive category. Festa has been the Travelers top reliever, converting a Texas League best 19 saves. Last season, outfielder Ian Miller was Arkansas' only TL postseason All-Star selection.
Curletta, a 24-year old native of Phoenix, Arizona, adds to his 2018 award stash with the postseason All-Star selection. At the time of the announcement, he had played in 124 games as a Trav posting a .287/.386/.493 slash line with 23 doubles, 23 home runs, 90 runs batted in and 77 walks. His RBI and walk totals lead the league while he ranks tied for second in homers, second in on-base percentage and fourth in slugging percentage. Additionally, his home run, RBI and walk totals all represent career highs. He is attempting to become the first Arkansas player to lead the league in runs batted in since Mike Napoli in 2005. Curletta was acquired by the Seattle Mariners from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for SHP Pat Venditte in March of 2017. He was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the sixth round of the 2012 draft out of Mountain Pointe High School.
Festa, a 25-year old native of Staten Island, New York, paces the circuit in saves with 19 in 20 opportunities including converting his first 18 of the season. As the awards were announced, he has made a team leading 42 appearances garnering a 5-2 record and a 2.68 ERA. Over 47 innings pitched, Festa has struck out 63 while walking just 12 and allowing a .264 opponent batting average. He is vying to become the first Traveler to saves 20 games in a season since Joel Peralta in 2003 and the first to lead the league in saves since Steve Montgomery (36) in 1995. Twice this season, he has been called up to the Major Leagues making a pair of appearances for Seattle. Festa was drafted by the Mariners in the seventh round of the 2016 draft out of East Stroudsburg University.
The Travelers are currently on a road trip ending Monday to close out the regular season schedule. They return home next week to begin the Texas League Playoffs. Games one and two of the division series are set for Wednesday September 5 and Thursday September 6 at Dickey-Stephens Park and will start at 6:10 pm. For all the latest information or to purchase tickets for Travs games, log on to travs.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.