The Birmingham Barons are proud to announce that outfielder Eloy Jimenez, shortstop Danny Mendick, starter Dane Dunning, relief pitcher Ian Hamilton, and catchers Zack Collins and Seby Zavala will represent the Barons in the 2018 Southern League All-Star Game.
"It's an honor to host the 2018 Southern All-Star Game on June 19 and we look forward to providing Birmingham a fun and memorable event. Each year the Southern League All-Star Game includes the biggest Major League Prospects and 2018 will continue that tradition," Barons General Manager Jonathan Nelson said. "Our Barons All-Stars are certainly well-deserved and we look forward to seeing them perform on this stage at Regions Field."
The six players will play for the North Division on their home field for the All-Star game on Tuesday, June 19 at Regions Field at 7:05 p.m. Players were picked from a vote of Southern League general managers, field managers, broadcasters, and media.
Jimenez, the top prospect in the Chicago White Sox organization, has crushed Southern League pitching in his first full season at the Double-A level. After spending the first two weeks of the season on the disabled list, Jimenez has been a force upon his return. Currently leading the league with a .600 slugging percentage, Jimenez is also the club leader in hits (55), doubles (13), RBI (39), and batting average (.324). The 21-year-old from the Dominican Republic was recently named Southern League Minor League Player of the Month for May. This is the third straight mid-season All-Star selection for the 21-year-old after being named to the mid-summer classic in the last two seasons while in the Chicago Cubs organization.
This is Mendick's third straight All-Star selection as well. The 24-year-old shortstop has been a steady influence in the Birmingham lineup all season, playing in 53 of the club's first 56 games. Mendick has had a knack for hitting in the clutch this season, as he is hitting .324 with runners in scoring position so far. With seven home runs and 24 RBIs this season, he is on pace to top his career-highs of 10 home runs and 51 RBIs, both set last season.
Hamilton, 22, has been one of the Southern League's most efficient relievers over the season's first half. Currently boasting a strong 1.77 ERA over 20.1 innings, Hamilton has yet to blow a save, going a perfect 9-for-9 to rank second in the Southern League in that category. While holding hitters to a .208 average, the White Sox No. 19 prospect according to MLB.com has struck out 29 batters, most among Birmingham relievers. This is the first career All-Star selection for the native of Vancouver, Wash.
After starting the year in a 2-for-37 (.054) slump, Collins has rebounded to be one of the most patient on-base machines in Minor League Baseball. The White Sox No. 9 prospect currently leads all minor leaguers with 52 walks while his .455 on-base percentage sits eighth in the minors while leading the Southern League. Named Southern League Player of the Week for April 23-29, Collins is now hitting at a career-high pace with a .282 average, eight home runs, 30 RBIs, and 33 runs scored. It is the second straight All-Star selection for the 23-year-old after accomplishing the feat for Winston-Salem last season.
The White Sox No. 21 prospect, Zavala, has also gotten off to a hot start to the season as his 11 home runs currently lead the circuit. The Birmingham backstop has been especially strong at home, posting a .310 average over 24 home games. One of the league's top defensive catchers, Zavala has committed just one error over 24 games continuing his strong work at the plate. Zavala earns his third straight All-Star selection after accomplishing the feat for Kannapolis each of the past two seasons.
Dunning, 23, was added to the North Division roster on June 11. Since joining the Barons on April 26, the right-hander has been one of the club's best hitters, posting a 4-2 record with a 3.22 ERA (18 ER in 50.1 IP) with a team-high 55 strikeouts over nine starts. The Barons have done well to back their starter, as they are 7-2 when Dunning toes the rubber this season. This represents the first career All-Star selection for the White Sox No. 6 prospect and the No. 66 prospect in all of baseball according to MLB.com.
The players will be surrounded by familiar faces on June 19, as Barons manager Ryan Newman and his coaching staff will lead the North Division in the annual mid-season showcase against the South Division.
Tickets are still available for the Southern League All-Star game and can be purchased online at barons.com or by visiting the ticket office at Regions Field. Gates will open at 4:30 p.m. and the Home Run Derby begins at 5:15 p.m. The ticket office at Regions Field is open Monday - Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.