Swing shortstop Matt Shepherd and catcher Brady Toops were two of the five Swing players selected to participate in the 2005 MWL Summer All-Star Classic, the Midwest League announced on Tuesday. In addition, relief pitchers Kevin Ool, Mike Sillman and Jaymie Torres were selected to the participate in the game, which will take place on Tuesday, June 21, at Peoria's O'Brien Field. In addition, starting pitcher Eric Haberer was selected, but will not participate due to his promotion to Class A-Advanced Palm Beach.
Brady Toops, the Cardinals' 10th round pick in 2004, will start at catcher. The University of Arkansas product has thrown out 37 percent of potential basestealers this season, and when he is behind the plate Swing pitchers have a combined ERA of 3.19. Toops currently sports a batting average of .237 with two home runs through 31 games.
An eighth round pick out of Southern Mississippi in the same draft, Matt Shepherd will be the starting shortstop. Currently hitting .254 through 50 games, he has drawn a team-high 34 walks. The hard-nosed defensive specialist hit .293 during an 11-game hitting streak in May, and can play all three infield positions. He registered a career-high six RBI in a game on April 16 against Clinton, including the game-winning sacrifice fly in the tenth inning.
Kevin Ool highlights the three relievers selected for the game, holding a 9-1 record with two saves and a 1.93 ERA. Acquired in a trade with the Red Sox during spring training, the lefty has allowed an earned run to score in only five of his 26 appearances, and has held opposing batters to a .184 average. With nine wins, Ool is tied with Chicago's Jon Garland, Toronto's Roy Halladay, Florida's Dontrelle Willis, and four other minor league pitchers for Organized Baseball's overall lead.
Closer Mike Sillman, a 21st-round selection out of the University of Nebraska, also made the team after a blazing start. Leading the Western Division with 13 saves, the submariner has a 2-1 record and a 1.84 ERA. He did not allow a run to score in his first 12 appearances of the season, picking up two wins and seven saves through 15.1 innings while striking out 15 and allowing only five hits.
Former University of California-Riverside pitcher Jaymie Torres also got the nod, checking in with a 1-0 record, two saves, and a 2.35 ERA. The righty did not allow a run to score over nine outings from April 28 to May 15, yielding only four hits in 10.2 innings, fanning eleven, and walking four. Torres was signed as a non-drafted free agent after the 2004 draft.
Former Swing starter Eric Haberer was also selected, although he will not pitch in the game. The southpaw was 4-2, 2.11 with the Swing in nine starts before being called up to Palm Beach, where he has won his first two starts in the Florida State League.
The first-place South Bend Silver Hawks led all teams with eleven All-Star selections, while the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers paced the Western Division with seven. Host Peoria adds six representatives.
The players were both nominated and selected by the league's field managers to play in the game scheduled for June 21 at Peoria's O'Brien Field.
UP NEXT: The Swing take will play West Michigan for the finale of the four-game series Tuesday night, as Mike Parisi (3-4, 4.09) will take the mound against Josh Rainwater (1-1, 4.09). Game time is scheduled for 6:05 CDT, and pre-game coverage will begin on WKBF AM-1270 at 5:50 CDT.
NEXT HOME GAME: The Swing return home to begin a seven-game homestand on Wednesday, June 8, as they take on the Peoria Chiefs. It will be a Hooters/97 Rock night at the ballpark, as well as 70's night with the Swing! We'll have live music on the party deck from 6:00 until game time, and drink specials will continue until 8:30. It is also Moline Blackhawks night at the ballpark.