CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (June 6, 2018) - The Southern League announced the South Division roster for the 2018 Southern League All-Star Game on Wednesday. Right-handed pitcher Griffin Canning , third baseman Taylor Ward , outfielder Zach Gibbons , and catcher Michael Barash from the Mobile BayBears, the Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels, have been named Mid-Season All-Stars.
Canning, 22, joined the BayBears on April 17 after making just two professional starts with Class A Advanced Inland Empire to begin the season. He has only given up seven runs, six earned, on 16 hits in 36 innings pitched with Mobile over eight starts. Canning was the starting pitcher in a pair of combined no-hitters on April 28 at Montgomery and May 14 against Birmingham. Although his hitless streak was snapped at 12 2/3 innings Saturday at Tennessee, he has not allowed a run since May 9 at Mississippi, spanning 12 2/3 innings. The Mission Viejo, Calif., native was selected by the Angels in the second round of the 2017 MLB Draft out of UCLA. Canning is currently the No. 3 pitching prospect and No. 7 overall prospect in the Angels organization, according to MLB Pipeline.
Ward, 24, transitioned from catcher to third base this offseason and started off 2018 by slashing .345/.453/.520 with six home runs, 25 RBIs, and a team-high 29 walks over 42 games. He was third in the Southern League in batting average and second in the circuit in on-base percentage at the time of his promotion to Triple-A Salt Lake. Ward was selected by the Angels in the first round (No. 26 overall) of the 2015 MLB Draft out of Fresno State, and he is currently the No. 13 prospect in the farm system.
Gibbons, 24, returned to Mobile after playing 79 games with the BayBears in 2017. In 43 games this year, Gibbons is batting .285 with eight extra-base hits, 21 RBIs, and 25 runs scored. He hit his first home run of the season Wednesday at Chattanooga. Gibbons has the lowest total plate appearance to strikeout ration in the league (9.88). The Scottsdale, Ariz., native was selected by the Angels in the 17th round of the 2016 MLB Draft out of the University of Arizona.
Barash, 23, finished strong in May after a slow start to the season. Sparked by a ninth-inning home run on May 17 at Jacksonville, Barash went 13-for-31 (.419) at the plate to finish the month with eight RBIs. He is third on the BayBears with 27 walks this season and has a .208 batting average in 39 games. Barash has a .994 fielding percentage, with just two errors in 329 innings behind the plate. The Boca Raton, Fla., native was selected by the Angels in the ninth round of the 2016 MLB Draft out of Texas A&M University.
The 2018 All-Star Game at Regions Field in Birmingham, Ala., will take place on Tuesday, June 19 at 7:05 p.m. CDT. The Pensacola Blue Wahoos coaching staff will coach the South Division All-Stars, while the host Barons will employ their staff to coach the North Division squad. Starting lineups for the North and South Division squads will be announced Thursday and Friday, respectively.
The BayBears wrap up a five-game road series against the Chattanooga Lookouts Thursday at 6:15 p.m. CDT. Live coverage can be heard on the BayBears Broadcast Network, the TuneIn Radio App, and the MiLB First Pitch App, with the Countdown to First Pitch starting at 6:00 p.m. CDT.
The BayBears return home Friday and host a total of 70 home dates through Labor Day, September 3. Single-game tickets and ticket packages are currently on sale. Group and hospitality offerings for the 2018 season can be reserved by calling (251) 479-BEAR (2327).
About the Mobile BayBears
The Mobile BayBears are the Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels and play their games at Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile, Ala. The BayBears were founded in 1997 and have won four Southern League titles in 1998, 2004, 2011, and 2012. Additionally, the 1998 and 2011 championship squads were named Minor League Team of the Year by Baseball America. More than 160 former BayBears have reached the Major League level, including All-Stars Max Scherzer, Paul Goldschmidt, Jake Peavy, Carlos Gonzalez, and Justin Upton. For more information on the Mobile BayBears and Hank Aaron Stadium, please visit MobileBayBears.com, call (251) 479-BEAR (2327), or contact Steve Goldberg via email at Steve@MobileBayBears.com.