JACKSON, TENN. (JUNE 6, 2012) - Seven players from the first place Jackson Generals will represent the North Division in the 2012 Southern League All-Star Game at Smokies Park. Pitchers Carter Capps, Danny Hultzen, and Taijuan Walker were all named to the North pitching staff after leading Jackson to a league-best 2.96 team ERA this season. Catcher Jesus Sucre, infielder Nick Franklin, and outfielders Denny Almonte and Joe Dunigan were also named to the squad. The 2012 All-Star Game will played on Tuesday, June 16 at Smokies Park in Kodak, TN, with first pitch at 7:15 p.m. EST.
OF Denny Almonte, 23, leads the Generals in RBIs (28) and home runs (9) and hits (61) through 60 games this season. Almonte has had 17 multi-hit games and had the second longest hitting streak for the team from April 19-27 (9 games, 17x32). Denny boasts two 2-HR games this season: April 21 v. Huntsville and April 26 v. Tennessee. Almonte is batting .394 (13x33) with 7 runs scored, 3 doubles, 1 home run and 5 RBI in his last 8 games. Denny was selected by the Mariners in the 2nd round (75 overall) of the 2007 June draft and resides in Miami, FL.
RHP Carter Capps, 21, holds a 2-2 record and leads the Generals with 6 saves through 20 appearances. Capps has the second-highest SO/9 IP ratio (13.5) among relievers in the Southern League. Carter has an ERA of 1.53 and has struck out 44 batters this season. On Tuesday against Chattanooga, Capps struck out 5 in 2.0 innings for the save, including the final batter, Blake Smith with the tying run at second base. Capps was a 3rd round supplemental selection for the Mariners in the June 2011 draft. The right-hander resides in Kinston, NC.
OF Joe Dunigan, 26, has hit 8 home runs in the 2012 season, which is second on the team. Dunigan has served as designated hitter for the Generals 40 times this season and has a batting average of .273. Dunigan had back-to-back games with homers April 16 and 17 against Mississippi. Joe also had a 2-HR game in the Generals' 11-8 win over Huntsville on April 21. Dunigan has 8 stolen bases this season and collected two of them on April 20 v. Huntsville. The Chicago, IL, native was a Mariners 5th round selection in the 2007 June draft.
INF Nick Franklin, 21, has had a breakout season in 2012, leading the Generals in six hitting categories. Franklin boasts the top batting average (.337, 60x178) and slugging percentage (.540) in the league. Nick began the season with a 6-game hitting streak and had another 6-game streak from April 20-25. In his first game back after missing 7 games with a thumb injury, Franklin went 4x4 with 2 triples, a double, 3 runs and 2 RBI (May 18 vs MOB). Nick has hit safely 13 of his last 18 games, batting .358 (24x67) with 9 runs scored, 6 doubles, 4 triples, 2 home runs and 11 RBI. Franklin was named the Southern League Hitter of the Week for May 28 through June 3. Franklin was selected by the Mariners in the first round (27th overall) of the 2009 June draft and resides in Longwood, FL.
LHP Danny Hultzen, 22, has had an incredible first season, leading the Southern League in ERA (1.44), WHIP (0.99) and opponent batting average (.152). He also leads the Generals with 67 strikeouts and 6 wins in 11 starts. Hultzen pitched 16 straight innings (April 19-29) without allowing a single run of any kind. Danny had a career-high 12 strikeouts in Jackson's May 23 loss at Montgomery. Hultzen was named the Southern League Pitcher of the Week for May 28 through June 3. The former Virginia Cavalier was the Mariners' first round pick (2nd overall) in the 2011 MLB Draft.
C Jesus Sucre, 24, boasts a .313 batting average to lead all Southern League catchers. Sucre is batting .414 (12x29) with 4 runs scored, 1 double and 3 RBI in his last 8 games. Jesus has also hit safely in 8 of his last 11 games with 6 multi-hit games. During this stretch, he is batting .415 (17x41) with 4 runs scored, 1 double and 5 RBI. Sucre has caught a league-leading 40 games and has caught 17 of 38 runners stealing (.447). Jesus was signed as a minor league free agent on July 19, 2011, and resides in Cumana, Venezuela.
RHP Taijuan Walker, 19, is 4-1 on the season and has the fifth-best ERA in the league at 2.68. Walker has struck out 53 batters over 50 1/3 innings pitched. Taijuan had a 3-game winning streak from April 9-27; only former-General Andrew Carraway had a winning streak as long this season. Walker was selected by the Mariners in the first round (43rd overall) in 2010 draft and was named the Seattle Mariners Pitcher of the Year in 2011.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.