For the upcoming Triple-A All-Star Game, to be held on July 16 in Durham, North Carolina (home of the famous Durham Bulls), the International League will be sending a team of stars to take on their Pacific Coast League counterparts.
Leading the way with three starters voted in are the Syracuse Chiefs (WAS) and the Buffalo Bisons (TOR). If you’re looking at total representatives, the Chiefs and the Indanapolis Indians (PIT) are expected to have four each.
C Jhonatan Solano – Syracuse Chiefs – WAS
1B Dan Johnson – Buffalo Bisons – TOR
2B Jose Pirela – Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders – NYY
SS Tyler Saladino – Charlotte Knights – CWS
3B Mike Hessman – Toledo Mud Hens – DET
OF Ezequiel Carrera – Toledo Mud Hens – DET
OF Steven Souza – Syracuse Chiefs – WAS
OF Mikie Mahtook – Durham Bulls – TB
DH Wilson Betemit – Durham Bulls – TB
SP Liam Hendriks – Buffalo Bisons – TOR
SP Taylor Hill – Syracuse Chiefs – WAS
RP A.J. Achter – Rochester Red Wings – MIN
RP Bobby Korecky – Buffalo Bisons – TOR
As for the players voted in, there are definitely some big named prospects here. Unfortunately, most of the biggest names in the league have already made their way to the major leagues, guys like Gregory Polanco and Mookie Betts.
Obviously the biggest star up and comer here is Souza who leads the IL in just about every non-counting offensive statistical category. Souza’s hitting .358/.443/.595 with 13 home runs and 15 stolen bases and might even be leading Polanco in some of those categories if he was still in Triple-A.
Souza’s teammate Hill has also been terrific in the minor leagues and Solano, a 28 year old veteran has a solid slash line of .268/.311/.430. 29-year-old lefty Aaron Laffey was selected after a dominant first half of the year with a 2.93 ERA in 92 innings for Syracuse.
The Bisons’ contingent is no less impressive. Dan Johnson, a 34-year-old big league veteran has been an iron man for the Bisons, playing in all 83 games and hitting .253/.401/.491 with a league-leading 16 home runs. Liam Hendriks has been dominating IL hitters (despite a lack of success with the big league Blue Jays) to the tune of a 2.13 ERA and has walked just 5 batters in 80 1/3 innings. Korecky has been an unsung hero in the Buffalo bullpen, posting a 0.60 ERA in 44 2/3 innings and had the honor of earning two saves in one day.
Mike Hessman will start at third, voted in after achieving two major milestones this season: hitting his 400th minor league home run and becoming the all-time leader in International League home runs.
The home team, Durham Bulls, will get one starter in Mikie Mahtook who is impressing with a .288/.382/.510 slash line thanks to 25 doubles so far this season.
C Roberto Perez – Columbus Clippers – CLE
C Christian Vazquez – Pawtucket Red Sox – BOS
IF Jesus Aguilar – Columbus Clippers – CLE
IF Ivan De Jesus – Norfolk Tides – BAL
IF Phil Gosselin – Gwinnett Braves – ATL
IF Ruben Gotay – Louisville Bats – CIN
IF Matt Hague – Indianapolis Indians – PIT
OF Chris Dickerson – Indianapolis Indians – PIT
OF Felix Perez – Louisville Bats – CIN
RHP Luis Garcia – Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs – PHI
RHP Juan Jaime – Gwinnett Braves – ATL
RHP Merrill Kelly – Durham Bulls – TB
LHP Aaron Laffey – Syracuse Chiefs – WAS
LHP Mike Montgomery – Durham Bulls – TB
LHP Andy Oliver – Indianapolis Indians – PIT
RHP Anthony Ranaudo – Pawtucket Red Sox – BOS
RHP Casey Sadler – Indianapolis Indians – PIT
The additional players selected help prevent overlooking some deserving players. Gosselin is fourth in the league in batting average (.320) while Chris Dickerson is sixth (.315) and ranks sixth in OPS. Gotay is fourth in the league with 14 home runs while Aguilar is in the top 10 in home runs and OPS. Vazquez, known mostly for his defense, is having a solid season with the bat, hitting .275/.331/.384.
For the pitchers, Garcia’s miniscule 0.35 ERA will represent the Philadelphia Phillies organization while Merrill Kelly (Durham) is in the top 15 in both strikeouts and ERA. Anthony Ranaudo gives Pawtucket another representative, thanks to his exceptional 2.35 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 81 strikeouts in 95 2/3 innings. Mike Montgomery is another solid choice.
Surprising omissions include Rochester Red Wings starting pitchers Alex Meyer (second in the league in strikeouts) and Trevor May. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre third baseman Deibinson Romero has produced a solid season and Pawtucket starter Allen Webster‘s 2.92 ERA and 81 strikeouts should also put him in the conversation.
What do you think of the International League All-Star team? Who was snubbed? Who doesn’t deserve to be there?