Posted on 27 August 2010.
Eastern League sets All-Star squad
Coaching staffs, media members vote on postseason team
The Eastern League announced its 2010 postseason All-Star Team on Thursday, a postseason squad voted on by team managers and coaching staffs, sportswriters, radio and television broadcast personnel and other members of the media.
Catcher: Hector Gimenez, Altoona Curve (.301, 16 HR, 66 RBIs, 45 runs)
First Base: Matt Rizzotti, Reading Phillies (.361, 16 HR, 62 RBIs, 48 runs)
Matt Rizzotti began the ’10 season as a member of the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers of the Florida State League, but quickly showed he was ready for a new challenge, which he received when he was promoted to Reading on May 13 after hitting .358 with eight doubles and 18 runs scored in 31 games. Rizzotti’s hot start continued with the R-Phils, as he batted .361 with 25 doubles, 16 homers, 62 RBIs and 48 runs in 77 games before earning his second promotion of the season to Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Aug. 5. At the time of his promotion, the 24-year old was leading the league in batting average (.361), slugging percentage (.638), on-base percentage (.451) and OPS (1.087). Rizzotti, of Floral Park, N.Y., won the Eastern League Player of the Week Award for the week ending June 27 and was also the Player of the Month for the month of June after hitting .369 with seven homers and 24 RBIs. Rizzotti started at first base for the Eastern Division at the 2010 All-Star Game and went 1-for-1 with a walk and one run scored.
After combing to hit .276 with eight homers and 38 RBIs in 89 games between Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis in 2009, Gimenez returned to the Curve for the 2010 season and has been one of the top players in the league. The 27-year old is batting .301 with 26 doubles, 16 home runs, 66 RBIs and 45 runs scored in 86 games this season while helping lead the team to the top spot in the Western Division standings. Gimenez, a native of San Felipe, Venezuela, is currently ranked second in the circuit in slugging percentage (.540) and OPS (.925) and ranks fifth in batting average (.301). He also leads all Eastern League catchers in home runs (16) and stolen bases (6) and has thrown out 34 percent of all would be base-stealers this season, which is the fourth-best percentage in the league. The 5-foot-10, 225 lb. slugger was also the starting catcher for the Western Division squad at the 2010 Eastern League All-Star Game in Harrisburg, Pa.
Second Base: Ryan Adams, Bowie Baysox (.302, 13 HR, 62 RBIS, 72 runs)
Adams kicked off his season by going 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI in his Double-A debut on April 8 — and he hasn’t stopped hitting since. The 23-year old is batting .302 with 41 doubles, 13 homers, 72 runs scored and 62 RBIs in 122 games. Adams, a second-round pick in the 2006 Draft, has already broken the Baysox single-season record for doubles while also setting career highs in hits, homers, RBIs, runs, doubles and total bases this season. He is on pace to set new highs in slugging percentage and OPS. Adams leads the league in doubles (41), is tied for first in hits (145) and is ranked among the league in extra-base hits (54-2nd), total bases (225-3rd) and batting average (.302-4th). The New Orleans, La., native has been especially impressive during the second half of the season, hitting .344 with 15 doubles, six homers, 28 runs and 21 RBIs in 39 games since the All-Star break.
Third Base: Brandon Laird, Trenton Thunder (.291, 23 HR, 90 RBIs, 73 runs)
Laird was an FSL All-Star in ’09 after hitting .266 with 13 homers and 75 RBIs in 124 games with Tampa. The 22-year old made it two consecutive All-Star appearances after batting .291 with 22 doubles, 23 home runs, 90 RBIs and 73 runs scored in 107 games with the Thunder this season before receiving a promotion to Triple-A on Aug. 2. At the time of his promotion, the 6-foot-1, 215 lb. slugger was leading the league in RBIs (90) and total bases (214) and was also among the leaders in homers (23-2nd), hits (119-2nd), extra-base hits (47-tied 2nd), runs scored (73-4th) and slugging percentage (.523-5th). Brandon twice drove in seven runs in a game for the Thunder and also become just the second player in franchise history to hit for the cycle when he hit a two-run walk-off homer of a 7-6 win over Erie on May 26. Laird was named the Eastern League Player of the Week for the week ending May 30, won the Eastern League Player of the Month Award for the month of May and was selected as a member of the Eastern Division roster for the All-Star Game.
Shortstop: Danny Espinosa, Harrisburg Senators (.262, 18 HR, 54 RBIs, 66 runs)
Espinosa entered the season rated by Baseball America as the fifth-best prospect in the Washington organization, and with his performance this season he has certainly lived up to that billing. In 99 games with the Senators, the 23-year old batted .262 with 16 doubles, 18 home runs, 66 runs scored and 54 RBIs. Espinosa was rewarded on Aug. 6 with a promotion to Triple-A Syracuse, where he has continued to flash his power, hitting .273 with four home runs and 13 RBIs in 17 games. The Santa Ana, Calif., native was Player of the Week on June 20 and was also the starting shortstop for the Western Division at the All-Star Game. The 6-foot, 190 lb. slugger was also a member of the US Team for the 2010 Futures Game in Anaheim.
Darin Mastroianni, New Hampshire Fisher Cats (.304, 4 HR, 45 RBIs, 95 runs)
After hitting .271 with 38 stolen bases during the final 71 games of the ’09 season with New Hampshire, Mastroianni returned this season and has put up even better numbers. The 5-foot-11 speedster is batting .304 with 24 doubles, five triples, four home runs, 95 runs scored, 45 RBIs and 43 stolen bases over 121 games. Mastroianni, a resident of Huntersville, N.C., is currently leading the league in runs scored (95), stolen bases (43) and walks (75) and is also currently ranked among the league leaders in hits (146-tied 1st), on-base percentage (.398-2nd) and batting average (.304-3rd). He was selected as the Eastern League Player of the Week on May 9 and was also a member of the Eastern Division roster for the All-Star Game.
Ben Revere, New Britain Rock Cats (.297, 1 HR, 22 RBIs, 39 runs)
Revere entered this season having made the season-ending All-Star squad for his league during each of his first three pro seasons. The 22-year old extended the streak to four after hitting .297 with 10 doubles, two triples, 39 runs scored, 22 RBIs and 31 steals in 86 games with the Rock Cats this year. Revere, who has been on the disabled list since Aug, 5 with a fractured orbital bone, is currently ranked fourth in the league in stolen bases (31) and ranked ninth in batting average (.297). The 2007 first round Draft pick won the Eastern League Player of the Week Award on May 23, was a member of the US Team at the 2010 Futures Game and also started in center field for the Eastern Division at the EL All-Star Game.
Eric Thames, New Hampshire Fisher Cats (.293, 25 HR, 97 RBIs, 92 runs)
Thames entered the season rated by Baseball America as the 18th best prospect in the Blue Jays organization, and he will certainly be moving higher up the list following his performance this summer. Thames is hitting .293 with 25 doubles, six triples, 25 homers, 97 RBIs and 92 runs scored in 124 games with the Fisher Cats. The 23-year old, who is in just his second professional season, currently leads the league in RBIs (97), total bases (251) and extra-base hits (56). He is also ranked among the league leaders in home runs (25-2nd), runs scored (92-2nd), slugging percentage (.528-3rd) and hits (139-5th). Thames, who was chosen in the seventh round of the 2008 Draft out of Pepperdine, was selected as a member of the Eastern Division roster for the All-Star Game.
Utility Player: Ray Chang, Portland Sea Dogs (.300, 9 HR, 52 RBIs, 56 runs)
Chang has appeared in games at first, second, third base and shortstop while hitting .300 with 30 doubles, nine homers, 56 runs scored and 52 RBIs in 113 games. The 27-year old has been incredibly consistent for the Sea Dogs, hitting at least .290 in each month of the season. Chang, of Kansas City, Mo., is currently ranked third in the league in on-base percentage (.385) and seventh in batting average (.301). He also showed his versatility during the All-Star Game when he started at shortstop and later moved to third for the Eastern Division, going 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Designated hitter: Joel Guzman, Bowie Baysox (.271, 29 HR, 83 RBIs, 80 runs)
Guzman has been one of the top sluggers in the league, hitting .271 with 18 doubles, 29 home runs, 83 RBIs and 80 runs scored in 119 games. The 25-year-old native of Quisqueya, Dominican Republic, currently leads the circuit in homers, is ranked second in total bases (234) and is tied for fourth in RBIs. He’s hit a longball once every 16.14 at-bats this season, which is the second-best rate in the league this year. He also homered in four straight games from April 21-24. Guzman, who hit .281 with 12 homers and 57 RBIs in 108 games with the Senators last season, was selected as a member of the Western Division roster for the All-Star Game.
Right-handed starter: Kyle Drabek, New Hampshire Fisher Cats (14-9, 2.98 ERA)
Drabek got his first taste of the Eastern League with the Phillies last season and put together a record of 8-2 with a 3.64 ERA over 15 games. The 22-year old returned this season with the Fisher Cats following a trade to the Blue Jays in a package for Roy Halladay and continued his dominance, collecting a league-high 14 wins with 123 strikeouts and a 2.98 ERA. Drabek not only leads the league in wins, but is also ranked among the leaders in innings pitched (154-2nd), batting average against (.216-2nd), shutouts (1-tied 2nd), strikeouts (123-3rd), ERA (2.98-3rd) and WHIP (1.19-4th). Drabek, of Victoria, Texas, has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 14 of his 25 starts this season, including eight games in which he has not allowed an earned run. He won the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week Award on July 4 and was also the starting pitcher for the Eastern Division at the All-Star Game, where he pitched one scoreless inning.
Left-handed starter: Rudy Owens, Altoona Curve (10-6, 2.67 ERA) The Altoona Curve have had one of the top pitching staffs in the league this year, and one of the biggest reasons is the performance of Owens. The 22-year old southpaw, in 24 starts, has posted a record of 10-6 with 118 strikeouts and a 2.67 ERA in 138 innings. Owens, of Mesa, Ariz., currently leads the league in ERA and WHIP (1.01) and is also ranked among the leaders in strikeouts (4th) and batting average against (.232-5th). Owens has allowed more than three earned runs in only two of his 24 outings this season, including 13 appearances in which he has allowed one earned run or fewer. He appeared with the Western Division at the All-Star Game.
Relief Pitcher: Rafael Cova, Richmond Flying Squirrels (0-5, 2.31 ERA, 21 saves)
Cova has been dominant at the back of the Flying Squirrels bullpen, converting 21 saves while posting a 2.31 ERA and 59 strikeouts over 50 2/3 innings. The 27-year old leads the league in saves and is ranked third in games finished (34). Cova, of Cariaco, Venezuela, has not allowed an earned run in 35 of his 43 appearances this season, including a stretch of 12 consecutive innings at the start of the year. He was also selected to the Western Division All-Star team.
*Statistics for games played through Aug. 25
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.