Jackson-which saw six Mid-Season All-Stars honored last season-will be represented at Regions Field in Birmingham, Alabama on June 19 by first baseman Rudy Flores, second baseman Kevin Medrano, third baseman Juniel Querecuto, and left fielder Jamie Westbrook, as well as pitcher Taylor Widener. The Generals' four position-player All-Stars are tied for the largest quantity in the league this year, outpacing last year's delegation of three position players.
Thanks to the contributions of Flores, Medrano, Querecuto, and Westbrook - all of whom ranked in the top 15 in the Southern League in slugging percentage at press time - the Jackson offense led the league this year with 294 runs scored in 58 games, collecting batting a league-high .272 batting average as a unit with a league-best .756 mark in on-base-plus-slugging. Widener was the workhorse of the pitching staff over the season's first two months, helping the Generals rank second in the circuit in strikeouts and third in walks-and-hits-per-inning pitched. Jackson's +58 run differential was the best in The Southern League through June 5, and their 32-26 win-loss record under first-year manager Shelley Duncan positioned them just half a game out of first place in the North Division ahead Wednesday night's contest against Tennessee.
Ticket information and a schedule-of-events for the 2018 Southern League All-Star Game in Birmingham are linked here.
2018 JACKSON GENERALS MID-SEASON ALL-STARS (Statistics through June 5)
FIRST BASEMAN: Rudy Flores - 52 games, 27 runs, 11 doubles, 1 triple;
10 home runs, 35 RBI, 0 stolen bases;
.266 AVG/.358 OBP/.500 SLG; 7.14 range factor in 43 games at first base
Flores, a Southern League Mid-Season All-Star for the second straight year, ranked second in the league with 10 home runs, two more than his 2017 First Half total. Flores ranked fourth in the league in home-runs-to-at-bats ratio (1:18.4) while also hitting .323 with two outs and runners and scoring position. The 27-year-old native of Corpus Christi, Texas was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks out of Florida International University in the 21st round of the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft.
SECOND BASEMAN: Kevin Medrano - 42 games, 25 runs, 16 doubles, 1 triple;
2 home runs, 28 RBI, 3 stolen bases;
.363 AVG/.397 OBP/.506 SLG; 3.39 range factor in 31 games at second base
Medrano's award made him a second-time Southern League All-Star, two years after he earned a spot in the mid-season classic in 2016 as a Mobile BayBear. The 28-year-old's .363 batting average, .506 slugging percentage, 16 doubles, and 61 hits put him in the top 5 in the league in each of those offensive categories, even after missing time on the disabled list in late May and early June. A Lee's Summit, Missouri native, Medrano was a 21st round MLB draft choice by Arizona in 2012 from Missouri State.
THIRD BASEMAN: Juniel Querecuto - 47 games, 24 runs, 15 doubles, 2 triples;
0 home runs, 23 RBI, 10 stolen bases;
.369 AVG/.413 OBP/.482 SLG; 2.57 range factor in 37 games at third base
Querecuto is a first-time All-Star in the Southern League. His .369 batting average led the league, and he ranked fifth in on-base percentage and second in hits (62) even after being placed on the disabled list for a stint in late May and early June. The Barquisimeto, Venezuela native signed with Arizona in March 2018 as a minor league free agent, and the 25-year-old's smooth glovework allowed him to man four different defensive positions, one of four Generals (along with Medrano, Jose Vinicio, and Josh Prince) to do so in 2018.
LEFT FIELDER: Jamie Westbrook - 57 games, 38 runs, 12 doubles, 4 triples;
9 home runs, 30 RBI, 2 stolen bases;
.285 BA/.335 OBP/.498 SLG; 1.62 range factor in 47 games in left field
Westbrook, a first-time Mid-Season All-Star in any professional league, ranked in the top 5 in the Southern League in games played, runs, and extra-base hits (25), and he led the league outright in both hits (63) and total bases (110). Westbrook's consistent presence in left field - a position he has played full-time for the first time in his career - provided stability in the top third of a potent Jackson batting order. A Gilbert, Arizona native, the 22-year-old Westbrook was a 5th round pick by his hometown D-backs out of Basha (Ariz.) High in 2013. He will turn 23 on June 18th, the night before the All-Star Game.
PITCHER: Taylor Widener - 11 games (11 starts), 3-3 W-L;
56.0 innings, 40 hits, 18 runs, 17 walks, 73 strikeouts;
2.89 ERA/1.02 WHIP/.197 BAA; 3 runners caught stealing, 2 stolen bases allowed
Widener became a first-time Midseason All-Star as a minor leaguer after joining the Diamondbacks' organization in a trade from the New York Yankees in February 2018. The right-hander flourished thanks to best-in-the-league marks in strikeouts per nine innings (11.73), fewest baserunners per nine innings (9.64), and walks and hits per inning pitched (1.02), holding opposing hitters to a .197 batting average. MLBPipeline.com lists the 23-year-old South Carolina alum as Arizona's No. 4 prospect.
UPCOMING GENERALS HOMESTANDS
June 3-7 vs. Tennessee Smokies
June 21-26 vs. Pensacola Blue Wahoos
…featuring Sarge's Carnival Weekend (June 22-23)!
Dial 731-988-5299 for tickets to see Jackson Generals Baseball, OR
log on to JacksonGeneralsBaseball.com!
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.