Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
Triple-A East
Milb Logo

Souza, Hessman highlight IL All-Star squad

Nationals prospect, Tigers veteran lead group headed to Durham
July 2, 2014

Triple-A All-Star lineups are often littered with talent, both young and old, and that's certainly the case with this year's International League iteration.

Nationals' No. 14 prospect Steven Souza and veteran infielder Mike Hessman were just two of the headliners of the IL All-Star squad, announced Wednesday, that will take on the best from the Pacific Coast League on July 16 in Durham.

Hessman famously became the IL's all-time leader in home runs earlier this week when he clubbed his 259th (404th in the Minors) long ball Monday. Even though that was his first homer in a month, the 36-year-old third baseman still ranks second in IL with 15 on the season, trailing only Buffalo's Dan Johnson (16) who was selected as the circuit's starter at first base.

This will be Hessman's fourth trip to the Triple-A All-Star Game, tying him with Lee Stevens, Joe Thurston and Todd Williams for most selections in the game's 27-year history.

Souza, meanwhile, has been statistically the most dominant hitter in the IL during his first season in the circuit. In 63 games with Syracuse, the 25-year-old outfielder owns a .358/.444/.595 slash line, leading the league in each of those three categories, and has also contributed 13 homers, 49 RBIs and 15 steals for the North Division leaders.

The Nats farmhand is not alone in terms of prospects on this year's IL All-Star roster.

Pawtucket will have a battery of them as No. 8 Red Sox prospect and right-handed starter Anthony Ranaudo, who at No. 91 is the only top-100 prospect on the team, will be joined by No. 10 prospect and catcher Christian Vazquez. Ranaudo is 9-4 with a 2.35 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 81 strikeouts in 17 starts (95 2/3 innings) for the PawSox. Vazquez, known more for his defensive acumen than his offensive production, has been solid both at the plate and behind it with a .275/.331/.384 slash line and a 39.1 percent caught-stealing rate, good enough for third in the league.

The host Bulls will also have a pair of top-20 prospects from the Rays system in No. 14 Mikie Mahtook (.316/.382/.510, seven homers, 12 steals) and No. 18 Mike Montgomery (8-1, 3.28 ERA, 1.08 WHIP) representing the hometown team at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in two weeks. Columbus' Jesus Aguilar (Indians No. 16) was the final top-20 prospect honored, thanks to his .278/.376/.491 line with 12 homers for the Clippers.

Thirteen players were elected to the squad by a three-way split vote between field managers and general managers (1/3), media members (1/3) and online fan voting (1/3) while the other 17 players were selected by IL office. Among the selected players are WHIP leader Liam Hendriks (0.90) and steals leader Ezequiel Carrera (33).

Durham, Syracuse and Indianapolis -- the league's three division leaders -- will send four representatives to the Triple-A midsummer classic, each tied for the most in the circuit.

Here is the complete 2014 IL All-Star roster, as announced Wednesday:

Jhonatan Solano C Syracuse WAS
Jose Pirela 2B Scranton/WB NYY
Tyler Saladino SS Charlotte CWS
Mike Hessman 3B Toledo DET
Ezequiel Carrera OF Toledo DET
Mikie Mahtook OF Durham TB
Steven Souza OF Syracuse WAS
Wilson Betemit DH Durham TB
Liam Hendriks SP Buffalo TOR
A.J. Achter RP Rochester MIN
Bobby Korecky RP Buffalo TOR
Josh Phegley C Charlotte CWS
Jesus Aguilar INF Columbus CLE
Ivan De Jesus INF Norfolk BAL
Phil Gosselin INF Gwinnett ATL
Ruben Gotay INF Louisville CIN
Matt Hague INF Indianapolis PIT
Felix Perez OF Louisville CIN
Luis Garcia RHP Lehigh Valley PHI
Juan Jaime RHP Gwinnett ATL
Merrill Kelly RHP Durham TB
Aaron Laffey LHP Syracuse WAS
Mike Montgomery LHP Durham TB
Andy Oliver LHP Indianapolis PIT
Anthony Ranaudo RHP Pawtucket BOS
Casey Sadler RHP Indianapolis PIT
Charlie Montoyo Manager Durham TB
Chris Tremie Coach Columbus CLE
Tony Arnold Coach Columbus CLE
Mike Sandoval Trainer Durham TB

Sam Dykstra is a contributor to