O's Meisinger soaks in NYPL All-Star Game

Drafted by hometown team, righty hurls for midsummer classic host

Ryan Meisinger and other New York-Penn All-Stars were introduced at Camden Yards on Monday. (Gordon Donovan/MiLB.com)

By David Driver / Special to MiLB.com | August 18, 2015 8:23 PM

ABERDEEN, Md. -- Having the Class A Short-Season New York-Penn League All-Star game in Aberdeen makes Ryan Meisinger the hometown favorite twice over.

The right-handed reliever joined infielder Ricardo Andujar as the only IronBirds on the South roster. And while Andujar is from the Dominican Republic, Meisinger grew up less than two hours away from Ripken Stadium in Dunkirk, Maryland.

"I thought it was really cool that I got selected," the 21-year-old standing outside of the South clubhouse (his normal Aberdeen digs) on Tuesday. "There are a lot of good pitchers in this league."

Meisinger and his All-Star teammates attended the Orioles game at Camden Yards on Monday and were introduced on the field before Baltimore completed a four-game sweep of Oakland.

While many of his fellow All-Stars had never been to the legendary ballpark, Meisinger grew up as an Orioles fan and saw his first game there when he was 4 or 5. He played at Camden Yards in a high school all-star game.

"I come from a really big sports family. My aunt is a huge Orioles fan. We would go to Bowie games (in the Eastern League) and go to Orioles games," said Meisinger, whose parents, grandparents and uncles were slated to attend Tuesday's midsummer classic.

Meisinger was a closer in college at Division I Radford in Virginia of the Big South Conference and was taken in the 11th round by the Orioles in June.

"It was my dream to get drafted and by the Orioles means a lot to me," he said.

Meisinger, who sports a fastball, a slider and a changeup, is 0-0 with a 2.81 ERA with a team-high seven saves in 12 outings for the IronBirds. He has a pair of two-inning saves this month, most recently notching one on Aug. 13 at West Virginia.

"He is the kind of guy you like your closer to be," said Aberdeen pitching coach Justin Lord, serving as the South pitching coach. "He attacks the strike zone. He goes right after guys. He is a big-time competitor."

The 6-foot-4, 240-pound hurler, is one of three former Radford players in the Orioles system. The others are Aberdeen infielder Alexander Lee and Frederick infielder Jeff Kemp, who also grew up in Maryland.

The only Radford product who has played in the Majors this year is pitcher Eddie Butler, who made his last appearance for the Colorado Rockies on Aug. 13 before returning to Triple-A the next day. Meisinger and Butler were not college teammates, but have run into each other during the offseason at Radford.

Meisinger said there is not a lot of difference between closing in college and the Minors.

"Obviously, you want to come in and fill the strike zone and go after hitters right away," he said.

In brief

Old Dominion ties: Meisinger was not the only product of a Virginia college named to the All-Star squad. The North team outfielder was a member of the Virginia Cavaliers team that won the College World Series in June.

McCarthy was drafted in the fifth round by Tampa Bay and is hitting .233 without a homer and 11 RBIs in 133 at-bats for Hudson Valley. He missed 35 games at Virginia with a back injury this season, and the long year may be catching up with McCarthy -- he has five hits in his last 38 at bats (.132) for the Renegades.

"I really haven't had a chance to think about what has gone on the last four months, from the crazy World Series run to getting drafted. It has been exciting," he said.

Age is no barrier: One of the youngest players in the game was Batavia pitcher Jordan Holloway, who turned 19 on June 13. The only player on the North roster born after that was Lowell outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe, who turns 19 on Aug. 26.

Holloway was drafted out of a Colorado high school in the 20th round by the Marlins in 2014. This year, he is 3-5 in 10 starts with Batavia after starting the year in extended spring training and making two starts for Class A Greensboro.

"It feels amazing, especially to be so young," Holloway said of his selection, whose Batavia catcher, Brad Haynal, was also on the North squad.

He's No. 1: The highest pick named to the All-Star squad was Williamsport pitcher Mitch Gueller, 21, taken in the first round in 2012 by the Phillies out of a Washington high school. He is 7-1 with a 1.84 ERA and one complete-game shutout.

David Driver is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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