Wilmington, DE- The rosters for the 2014 California League/Carolina League All-Star Game, presented by Bank of America, were announced on Wednesday by the respective leagues. The game, which will be held at Frawley Stadium on Tuesday, June 17, will feature four players from the host Blue Rocks, as well as five of the top 100 prospects in baseball according to MLB.com.
Wilmington pitchers Christian Binford, Jonathan Dziedzic and Mark Peterson, as well as catcher Cam Gallagher will represent the Blue Crew on the Carolina League squad, the second-most All-Stars from one team in the Carolina League. Binford and Dziedzic have anchored the Blue Rocks starting rotation, with each ranking in the top-10 in the Carolina League in ERA and strikeouts-per-nine-innings-pitched. Binford leads the league in total punchouts and also sits top-five in the eight-team loop in batting average against and WHIP. Dziedzic leads the Rocks in wins with five. Peterson has been the top closer in the Carolina League with a league-high 11 saves in as many tries. He has also posted a scant 0.73 ERA and has worked 23 consecutive scoreless frames. Gallagher has been one of the most consistent defensive backstops all season. On offense, he bettered his batting average by 50 points during the month of May.
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans, who have the best record in the Carolina League by a wide margin, have the most representatives on the Carolina League team. The Pelicans will send three pitchers, a catcher, two infielders and two outfielders to Wilmington. Starting hurlers Alex Gonzalez and Andrew Faulkner will be joined by their battery mate, Jorge Alfaro. Gonzalez and Faulkner each rank in the top-five in the league in earned run average. Gonzalez is 5-2 with a 2.49 ERA, while Faulkner has posted a perfect 4-0 mark and a 2.28 ERA. The Texas Rangers selected Gonzalez No. 23 overall in the first round of the 2013 Draft. Alfaro is batting .272 with five homers, 30 RBIs and 18 extra-base hits. Southpaw Alex Claudio will come to Wilmington out of the Pelicans bullpen. Claudio is 3-0 with a 1.19 ERA in 13 relief appearances totaling 37.2 innings pitched. In the outfield, Nick Williams and Royce Bolinger will represent the Pelicans. Williams, who was drafted in the second round of the 2012 Draft by the Rangers, ranks sixth in the Carolina League with a .305 batting average. He also places top-five in the loop in RBIs, hits and doubles. Bolinger ranks fifth in the Carolina League in hitting with a .308 average. The Pelicans will also supply both corner infielders, with Preston Beck at first base and Joey Gallo at third. Beck has 33 RBIs to go along with a .359 OBP, while Gallo has been the best power hitter in all of Minor League Baseball. He leads the Carolina League with 21 home runs, more than two different teams and 11 more than any other player. He also leads the loop in on-base percentage, total bases, slugging percentage, extra-base hits and RBIs. Gallo is a former first-round pick; the Rangers took him No. 39 overall in the 2012 Draft.
The Carolina Mudcats have the third-most players with three. Starting pitcher Ryan Merritt, infielder Erik Gonzalez and outfielder Anthony Gallas are all headed to Wilmington. Merritt leads Carolina League starters with his 1.71 ERA. The southpaw is also 6-2 on the year. Gonzalez has the longest hitting streak of anyone in the loop this season with a 16-gamer in April, while Gallas leads the league in doubles and is second in extra-base hits and slugging percentage. Gonzalez also has the distinction of being on the Cleveland Indians' 40-man roster.
Three Salem Red Sox have been named to the Carolina League All-Star Team, but only two will be active. The batting leader, Reed Gragnani, and one of only two men in the Carolina League to pitch a complete-game shutout this season, Justin Haley, are the two Red Sox who will appear in the game. Outfielder Jonathan Roof was also named to the team, but will not play due to promotion.
The Lynchburg Hillcats and Potomac Nationals each have two All-Stars on the Carolina League roster. Lynchburg's Greg Ross, who has the second-lowest baserunners-per-nine-innings-pitched ratio in the league, and infielder Jose Peraza, who shares the Carolina League lead with 27 stolen bases and is third in the loop with a .319 average, will represent Lynchburg. Infielders Stephen Perez and Shawn Pleffner are the P-Nats who were named All-Stars
The Frederick Keys will also have two All-Stars, but one is unavailable for the game due to injury. Pitcher Matt Taylor, who ranks second in the Carolina League in ERA at 1.94, was named to the squad but is currently on the Disabled List. Frederick's one active All-Star is outfielder Glynn Davis, whose .313 batting average places him fourth in the league.
Second-year Carolina Leaguer Courtney Hawkins is the only member of the Dash to make the squad. Hawkins has enjoyed an impressive sophomore season in Winston-Salem. He is second in the league in homers and also ranks top-five in the loop in RBIs, extra-base hits and slugging percentage. Hawkins was taken No. 13 overall in the first round of the 2012 Draft by the Chicago White Sox.
The Carolina League team will be skippered by Wilmington manager Darryl Kennedy. He is in his second season with the Blue Rocks and has the Blue Crew just one game out of first place in the Carolina League North. Wilmington pitching coach Steve Luebber, the longest-tenured coach in Blue Rocks history, will also be on the staff, along with trainer James Stone, who is in this third season with Wilmington and clubhouse manager Josh DiBiase, in his second year with the Rocks.
On the other side, the California League pitching staff features nine talented hurlers representing seven different clubs. Right-handers Austin Adams and Kurt Spomer hail from the Inland Empire 66ers. Both pitchers have dominated in relief this season. Adams is 0-1 with a 2.39 ERA and has struck out 34 in 26.1 innings pitched across 19 outings. Spomer has been every bit as difficult on opposing hitters. He is 2-1 with a 0.34 ERA and 18 punchouts in 26.2 frames through 19 appearances. Righty Enrique Burgos comes from the Visalia Rawhide, where he has gone 0-2 with a 3.22 ERA and 11 saves in 22 appearances out of the bullpen. He has whiffed 30 and worked a total of 22.1 innings pitched. Right-handers Trevor Gott and Joe Ross join the squad from the Lake Elsinore Storm. Gott is second in the California League with 15 saves and has amassed a 2-3 record to go along with his sterling 2.70 ERA. He has struck out 27 and walked just nine in 26.2 innings across 25 appearances. Ross has been outstanding as a starting pitcher and is tied for fifth in the California League with a 3.07 ERA across his 12 starts. He has a record of 5-3 and has punched out 62 batters in his 67.1 innings of work, good for fifth in the league.
Lancaster's Josh Hader has split time between the starting rotation and the bullpen. Eight of the southpaw's 12 appearances have been starts. Hader is 5-0 with a 2.44 ERA and has struck out 69 in 55.1 innings pitched. He is second in the California League in punchouts and in ERA. The California League's best starting pitcher, right-hander Ben Lively, hails from the Bakersfield Blaze. Lively sits atop the leaderboard in wins, ERA and strikeouts. The righty is 9-1 with a 1.95 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 74 innings pitched across 12 starts. He has issued only 13 walks on the campaign. Left-handed reliever Steven Okert has terrorized opposing hitters to the tune of a 1.17 ERA in 28 outings for the San Jose Giants. Okert leads the California League with 17 saves in 17 tries and has struck out 49 in 30.2 innings pitched. Rounding out the California League staff is righty Seth Streich of the Stockton Ports. Streich has made 12 starts this season and is 6-4 with a 3.41 ERA. He has struck out 67, good for third in the California League and walked 15 in 63.1 innings pitched. Andrew Barbosa of the Visalia Rawhide and Nate Smith of the Inland Empire 66ers were also named to the California League team, but both will be inactive.
Shortstop Carlos Correa, whom the Houston Astros selected No. 1 overall in the 2012 Draft, headlines a group of seven skilled infielders on the California League roster. Correa is sixth in the California League with a .328 batting average. He has homered five times and driven in 49 while getting on base at a .399 clip for the Lancaster JetHawks. Those 49 RBIs rank second in the league. Correa's double-play partner with the JetHawks, Anthony Kemp, joins him in the California League infield. Kemp has done nothing but hit this season, compiling a .339 batting average, three homers and 28 RBIs to go along with a sky-high .430 on-base percentage, which is tops the California League. The speedy left-handed hitter leads the loop with 80 hits and has swiped 21 bags in 27 tries, good for second in the league. Corey Seager and Chris Jacobs both join the team from the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. Seager was selected No. 18 overall by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2012 Draft and is living up to his billing as a top prospect this season. For the Quakes, he is batting .335 with eight homers and 37 RBIs in 50 games while getting on base at a .388 clip. Seager is tied for third in the California League in batting average and first in doubles with 21. Jacobs owns a .281 batting average for the Quakes and has gone deep 10 times while driving in 40.
Trevor Story of the Modesto Nuts has a .323 average, which leaves him seventh in the California League, to go along with three homers and 22 driven in. Story is also getting on base at a torrid pace. His .410 on-base percentage is tied for fourth in the league. Rounding out the California League infielders are Diego Goris of the Lake Elsinore Storm and Brandon Drury of the Visalia Rawhide. Goris is the league's leading hitter, with a .341 average this season. He has also slugged 10 homers and knocked in 35. Goris' 74 hits are tied for third in the league. Drury owns a .278 batting average and has homered 13 times while driving home 46. He is third in the league in homers and second in the league in doubles with 20.
Bruce Maxwell of the Stockton Ports and Roberto Pena of the Lancaster JetHawks will handle the catching duties for the California League. Maxwell is hitting .282 with four homers and 19 RBIs. Behind the dish, he has a .986 fielding percentage in 48 games. Maxwell has caught 423.2 frames for Stockton, a majority of the team's total innings. He has also gunned down nearly 43 percent of would-be base stealers. Opponents are just 36-for-63 when attempting to steal on him. Pena has also been a workhorse behind the plate. In 42 games, he has caught 374.2 innings while throwing out 27 of 47 attempted base stealers, an astounding 57 percent. He owns a nearly-perfect .997 fielding percentage. Pena is batting .242 with four homers and 23 RBIs for the JetHawks.
The California League All-Star Team's five-man outfield is headlined by Hunter Renfroe of the Lake Elsinore Storm. The right-handed hitter was selected No. 13 overall in the 2013 Draft by the San Diego Padres. Renfroe slugged his way onto the team by belting a league-leading 15 home runs. His 48 RBIs are third in the league and he is tops in the circuit with 133 total bases. Renfroe is hitting .286 and getting on base at a .358 clip. The Lancaster JetHawks' Teoscar Hernandez joins Renfroe in the outfield and is hitting .291 with 10 homers and 46 RBIs so far. His 46 RBIs and 16 thefts are both tied for fourth in the league. Hernandez is also tied for fifth with 30 extra-base hits.
The California League's third outfielder is Gabriel Guerrero of the High Desert Mavericks. Guerrero, the nephew of former American League All-Star and MVP Vladimir Guerrero, is hitting .322 this year. That's good for eighth in the league. Guerrero has hit seven long balls and driven in 41 for the Mavericks. Rounding out the California League's outfielders are Kyle Waldrop and Jesse Winker of the Bakersfield Blaze. Waldrop is batting .335 with four homers and 26 RBIs and Winker is hitting .318 with nine homers and 39 driven in. Waldrop's .335 average is third in the California League while his 73 hits are also tied for sixth. Winker is third in on-base percentage at .414.
Former big-leaguer Denny Hocking will manage the California League. Hocking, who currently skippers the Inland Empire 66ers, had a 13-year big league career and hit .251 with 25 homers and 226 RBIs in 954 career games with the Minnesota Twins, Colorado Rockies and Kansas City Royals. He is in his first season at the helm of the 66ers. Inland Empire pitching coach Matt Wise, hitting coach Brent Del Chiaro and trainer Omar Uribe will round out the California League staff. Wise is in his first season with the 66ers while Del Chiaro and Uribe are in their second.
For tickets to the 2014 California League/Carolina League All-Star Game, presented by Bank of America, or for the Hitting Challenge on June 16, fans should call 302-888-BLUE or visit BlueRocks.com/AllStar.
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