Santana leads Cal League All-Stars

Former Inland Empire catcher named circuit's Player of the Year

(Shawn E. Davis/

By John Torenli / Special to | August 25, 2008 5:36 PM

NEW YORK -- It's hard to imagine the numbers Carlos Santana would have put up if he spent the entire season in the California League.

The former Inland Empire catcher was named the circuit's Player of the Year on Monday as the league released its 14-man Postseason All-Star Team.

Santana, who was traded to the Cleveland Indians organization in late July, hit .323 with 34 doubles, 14 homers, 96 RBIs and 98 runs scored in only 99 games for the 66ers. He hasn't slowed down much at Class A Advanced Kinston of the Carolina League, batting .333 with four homers and 14 RBIs in 24 contests.

Kevin Pucetas (10-2, 3.07 ERA), one of three San Jose Giants selected to the squad, was tabbed the circuit's Pitcher of the Year. The 23-year-old right-hander was unbeaten before dropping his last two decisions, but still boasts an impressive 3.07 ERA to go with 99 strikeouts and 23 walks in 120 1/3 innings spanning 23 starts.

The Lake Elsinore Storm also had three players selected to the team. Second baseman Eric Sogard and outfielders Cedric Hunter and Kellen Kulbacki represent Lake Elsinore, with utility man Matt Downs and starter Tim Alderson joining Pucetas from San Jose.

Sogard is batting .312 with 10 homers, 81 RBIs and shares the league lead with 40 doubles in 126 games for the Storm. Hunter is hitting .324 -- second only to Lancaster's Daniel Nava -- with 11 homers, 80 RBIs and a league-best 96 runs scored in 128 contests. Kulbacki has ripped up the circuit with a .344 average, 20 homers and 62 RBIs in only 78 games.

Downs, who has played second base, third base, shortstop and right field during his 104 games with the Giants, earned his spot by hitting .304 with 30 doubles, 16 homers, 73 RBIs and 73 runs scored. Alderson leads the league in ERA (2.91) to go with a 12-4 record and 117 strikeouts in 139 1/3 innings.

Lancaster and Rancho Cucamonga each have two All-Stars on the squad.

Third baseman Jorge Jimenez hit .352 with four homers and 42 RBIs in 70 games for the JetHawks before being promoted to Double-A Portland. Lancaster's Josh Reddick rounds out the Cal League outfield after amassing 17 homers, 57 RBIs and a .343 average in 76 games before joining Jimenez with the Sea Dogs.

Sean O'Sullivan (15-7, 4.70 ERA) set the Quakes' single-season wins mark with his 15th victory and first baseman Mark Trumbo ranks second in the league with 26 homers, despite being promoted to Double-A Arkansas on July 28.

Visalia shortstop Pedro Ciriaco grabbed the final infield spot after batting .301 with 25 doubles, five homers, 59 RBIs and 36 stolen bases in 118 contests.

Stockton's Christopher Carter was tabbed the league's Rookie of the Year and top designated hitter as he leads the circuit with 36 homers, 99 RBIs and a .566 slugging average.

Modesto's Andrew Johnston (3-1, 2.03 ERA in 38 games) was named the top reliever with a league-high 24 saves.

Lancaster's Chad Epperson was tabbed Manager of the Year for the second straight season.

John Torenli is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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