It should come as no surprise that the most successful teams in any given league are full of talented players. It's no different in the Florida State League, where the teams who have found the most success so far in 2009 were rewarded for their efforts when the league announced its All-Star roster on Thursday.
Leading their divisions by respectable margins, both Brevard County (32-14) and Ft. Myers (32-19) received seven player invitations each to the Midsummer Classic.
Behind the league leaders there is less of a correlation to wins, however, as third-place Jupiter (26-24) and last-place Dunedin (20-29) both tallied five All-Star selections apiece. Clearwater (25-23), St. Lucie (24-23) , and Charlotte (26-22) all nabbed four slots each. Bringing up the rear are Daytona, Lakeland (21-23), Sarasota (21-29), Tampa (21-29) and Palm Beach (21-31) who will contribute a total of 10 combined players to the roster.
With an eight-game lead in the North Division, Brevard County's selections illustrate their strength in the league, particularly on the mound. Of their seven invitations, four are pitchers, not surprising considering the Manatees' league-leading 2.57 ERA. Joining the roster from the Manatees' staff are Evan Anundsen and Josh Butler both of whom top all other league pitchers with six wins.
Leading the South Division's pitching staff are three arms from Jupiter including the statistically best pitcher in the league (after the call up of Twins' prospect Carlos Gutierrez), Alejandro Sanabia (5-1, 1.58). Joining Sanabia will be teammate and former first-round pick Jeffrey Allison, who is making his second-consecutive FSL All-Star appearance.
Behind the plate for the North squad, Daytona's hot-hitting Robinson Chirinos (.350, 7, 26) joins Clearwater's Tim Kennelly (.303, 2, 29). Tampa catcher Austin Romine, who took over as a starter once top Yankees prospect Jesus Montero was promoted to Trenton, will also take a turn at backstop for the North. Miracle catcher Danny Lehmann (.243, 0, 3), along with Francisco Pena (.214, 2, 11) will anchor the backstop position for the South. Jupiter catcher Miguel Fermin (.188, 1, 11) who hit .347 last season in the New York Penn League, will also be behind the plate for the South.
Fort Myers' shortstop Steve Singleton (.233, 1, 20) and second-baseman Chris Cates (.265, 0, 15) secured two of the five infield spots on the Southside, while Brevard County matched them on the North squad, contributing second-baseman Eric Farris (.268, 3, 11) and third-baseman Zelous Wheeler (.231, 4, 27).
Second in the league in batting average, fleet-footed Miracle outfielder Ben Revere (.344, 1, 23) will anchor the outfield for the South team. Revere will be joined by league home run leader Mike Stanton (.294, 12, 39) of Jupiter. Dunedin speedster Darin Mastroianni (.306, 0, 20), who leads the league in stolen bases with 28, headlines the outfield for the North.
Several league leaders were elected to the All-Star squad but are unavailable because of a recent callup. Montero, former Clearwater pitcher Kyle Drabek and Sarasota first baseman Yonder Alonso were named to the team but have since moved up to Double-A.
Starting pitchers have not yet been announced but league leaders Sanabia, Anundsen and Butler all figure to be in the mix.
The game will be held at Hammond Stadium, home of the Fort Myers Miracle on June 20. As a reward for their berth in the league final last fall, Fort Myers coaches, including manager Jeff Smith will lead the South Division while reigning league champion Daytona will volunteer coaches led by Jody Davis to direct the Northerners.