Wong and Taveras lead Texas League All-Stars

The Springfield Cardinals have six Double-A All-Stars including two starters, two reserves and two pitchers.

With 24 players on the North Division squad of the Texas League All-Star Game, the Springfield Cardinals' representation of six players is exactly their "fair share."

Second baseman Kolten Wong and outfielder Oscar Taveras, both top 10 prospects in the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system, will be starting in the June 28 game. Springfield's four other representatives are pitchers Trevor Rosenthal and Keith Butler along with infielder Jermaine Curtis and catcher Audry Perez.

In a hitter's league, Taveras is one of the best in 2012. The 19-year-old leads the league with a .325 batting average and is second to Frisco's Mike Alt in both slugging (.588) and OPS (.965). Taveras is just one off the TL lead in doubles with 19, is third in RBI with 43 and fifth in home runs in 12. He was voted the league's Player of the Week award for the period of June 4-10.

Wong, the Cardinals' first-round draft pick last June, is ninth in the league with a .298 average. In May, he had a team-best 15-game hitting streak. The left-handed hitter's on-base mark of .371 is 13th. Wong is tied with Taveras among others with four triples, fifth-most in the circuit. The 21-year-old is tied for eighth in the league with 11 stolen bases (in 14 attempts). He was named the league's Player of the Week from May 14-20.

Like Taveras, Rosenthal jumped over A-Advanced this season, but didn't miss a beat. The 22-year-old right-hander's ERA of 3.01 is fifth in the league and his 63 strikeouts is tied for eighth.

Butler's 13 saves leads the league. The closer also has two wins without a loss, three holds and a 1.59 ERA in his first season at Double-A. The 23-year-old right-hander has allowed just one of eight inherited runners across the plate in 2012.

Any anger Curtis has for being sent down from Triple-A Memphis is being taken out on Texas League pitchers. The infielder has spent just 31 games with Springfield, not enough to qualify among league leaders, but his .347 average would ace out Taveras as number one. Curtis has a .455 on-base mark and a .926 OPS.

Perez, a dependable backstop, has a .279 batting average and working on a nine-game hitting streak. He has made just three errors in the first half and has caught 13 of 33 potential basestealers (39.4 percent). Perez continued his even year all-star pattern, having been named in the Dominican Summer League in 2008 and the New York-Penn League in 2010.

Springfield's division rival Tulsa, host of the annual classic in 2012, leads the way with eight players selected this year. Rosters were selected by divisional managers and broadcasters.

In 2011, the Cardinals had five mid-season all-stars with Sam Freeman becoming the sixth when Maikel Cleto was promoted to Memphis, making hum unavailable to participate. The others were Michael Blazek, Matt Adams, Alex Castellanos and Ryan Jackson. Adams and Jackson repeated as post-season all-stars, joined by Shelby Miller. (The latter team is cross-league, so roughly half the size of the mid-season rosters.)

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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