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Jones, Viloria highlight Pioneer All-Stars

Angels outfielder, Royals catcher among those scheduled to start
July 27, 2016

Their season started just over a month ago, but a special group of Pioneer League players can already call themselves All-Stars. 

Orem outfielder Jahmai Jones and Idaho Falls catcher Meibrys Viloria highlight the Pioneer League All-Star roster, announced by the Rookie-level circuit on Wednesday. The Pioneer League All-Stars will play their Northwest League counterparts in the second annual meeting on Aug. 2 in Ogden. 

Billings, Missoula, Great Falls, Grand Junction, Idaho Falls and Ogden each had four representatives named to the initial roster. Helena had three, and Orem saw two of its players honored.

The Owlz might be sending the All-Star team's most prominent prospect to Ogden in Jones, who was named a starting outfielder. Taken in the second round of the 2015 Draft out of a Georgia high school, the Angels' No. 2 prospect has thrived in his first trip above the complex-level Arizona League with a .317/.383/.462 line, two homers, two triples, 11 doubles, 10 steals and a league-best 35 runs in 34 games with Orem. The center fielder is considered a plus runner, making him a good choice for the leadoff spot in the showcase, which takes place two days before his 19th birthday.

But if Jones is the most prominent prospect, Viloria is the most prominent performer through the first 28 games of his season with the Chukars. The Royals backstop leads the Pioneer League in all three-slash line categories (.455/.504/.804) as well as doubles (15), RBIs (36) and total bases (90). In fact, since his season debut June 17, the Colombia native's 1.308 OPS is tops among all Minor Leaguers, making him the easy choice to start behind the plate next week. 

Slated to throw the ball to Viloria first is Helena right-hander Jordan Desguin, a 35th-round pick by the Brewers last year. The 22-year-old hurler is 2-0 with a 2.75 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 37 strikeouts in seven appearances (36 innings) for Milwaukee's Rookie-level affiliate. Reds No. 17 prospect Antonio Santillan, whose 10.6 K/9 is tops in the circuit for Billings, was also officially named to the pitching staff but won't participate as he's been promoted to Class A Dayton. 

As skipper of the host club, Ogden manager Shaun Larkin will helm the Pioneer League All-Stars along with his staff at Lindquist Field. 

The full roster can be found here. Rosters will be updated as additions and subtractions are made.

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Sam Dykstra is a reporter for Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB.