Cubs have a pile of prospects that were recognized for their first-half performances and have been named all-stars.
Willson Contreras and Daniel Vogelbach will start for the North team in the Southern League game in Montgomery and will be joined by teammates Felix Pena, Frank Batista, Corey Black and P.J. Francescon. Kyle Schwarber was also selected to play in the game but has been promoted to AAA. < /P>
Here’s a look at the All-Stars:
Gleyber Torres, SS, South Bend—Being the youngest player in the Midwest League to start the season didn’t deter the Venezuelan native who hit .312/.381/.390 in 63 games and leads the Cubs with 38 RBI. He’s collected 14 extra base hits and is second on the team with 31 runs. The 18-year-old has been better than advertised and the Cubs have another top shortstop prospect in their pipeline.
Cael Brockmeyer, C, South Bend—The MWL Player of the Week back in April, Brockmeyer has flashed some power from his 6-foot-5 frame with five homers and 15 doubles. The 23-year-old leads the team with 96 total bases and 27 walks, and is second with 33 RBI. Playing first when not catching, Brockmeyer is hitting .292/.378/.438 in 59 games.
Charcer Burks, OF, South Bend—Burks got off to a hot start and was hitting .308 on May 24 but has cooled off considerably since that time but still sports a .269/.340/338 slash line and 16 multi-hit games.Hitting primarily out of the leadoff spot, Burks leads South Bend with 33 runs and 15 stolen bases. The 20-year-old has made several spectacular defensive plays in the outfield.
Jeremy Null, RHP, South Bend—Null gets the start for the East team and why not, he’s second in the league with a 2.26 ERA and fifth with a 1.10 WHIP. The Cubs 15th round pick out of Western Carolina last June has only walked four hitter in 65.2 innings. Standing at 6-foot-7, the 21-year-old tossed eight innings of shutout ball vs. Great Lakes on May 5.
James Farris, RHP, South Bend—The Cubs ninth-round pick last year out of the University of Arizona has thrived out of the bullpen for South Bend, leading the team with nine saves, third in MWL. He leads all South Bend pitchers with 21 relief appearances and sports a 2.79 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 29 innings. The 23-year-old has a team-high a 12.1 K/9.
Mark Zagunis, OF, Myrtle Beach—Fresh off his Carolina Player of the Week award, the Cubs third-round pick last June out of Virginia Tech has been good all year, and leads the entire Cubs system with a .442 on-base percentage. In 63 games, the 22-year-old has hit .320/.442/.481 with 5 HR, 33 RBI and 44 runs. He leads the Carolina League in average, on-base percentage and walks (47).
Jeimer Candelario, 3B, Myrtle Beach—Last season, Candelario was struggling in High A and was sent back to the Midwest League, this year, he’s an all-star. The 21-year-old is hitting .273/.329/.426 with 5 HR and 25 RBI in 57 games for the Pelicans. The switch-hitter ended the first half with a five-game hitting streak and leads the Pelicans with 16 doubles.
Duane Underwood, RHP, Myrtle Beach—The 20-year-old leads the Carolina League in ERA (1.85) and WHIP (0.93), posting a 6-2 record in 11 starts. The Cubs second-round pick in ’13 has logged 63.1 innings and while his 5.8 K/9 is below his career average, his 2.4 BB/9 is over one walk below his career mark. He leads all Cubs minor league pitchers with a .192 BAA.
Jonathan Martinez, RHP, Myrtle Beach—Acquired as the player to be named later in the Darwin Barney trade, the Venezuelan native has been impressive since becoming a Cub. He was 4-0 with a 2.31 ERA for Kane County after the trade and is 5-1 in 11 starts for the Pelicans with a 2.95 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP, 2nd to only Underwood.
Willson Contreras, C, Tennessee—His bat has been so valuable manager Buddy Bailey has even used him at third. The 22-year-old Venezuelan leads Tennessee with a .332 average and has slugged five homers to go along with a career-high 17 doubles. He’s also scored 33 runs in his breakout season that includes a .397 OBP and a .505 SLG%.
Daniel Vogelbach, 1B, Tennessee—The Cubs second-round pick in 2011 was the hottest hitter on the planet in April, earning two Southern League Player of the Week honors and a Cubs Minor League Player of the Month award. He’s cooled down some and a hamstring injury landed him on the DL but he heads into break with a .285/.400/.425 slash with 4 HR and 31 RBI in 54 games.
Corey Black, RHP, Tennessee—Acquired from the Yankees in the Alfonso Soriano trade, the 23-year-old started the year in the rotation and was moved to the bullpen at the end of May. In nine starts, he went 2-2 with a 3.09 ERA, recording 53K in 46 IP and a 1.07 WHIP. Since moving to the pen, Black sports a 4.76 ERA with 9 BB and 11 K in 11.1 innings.
Frank Batista, RHP, Tennessee—The ace of the Smokies staff, the 26-year-old is making the most of his season back in the rotation after spending the last four years working out of the bullpen (103 saves). He leads the Southern League with a 1.70 ERA and tops the wins leader board with seven. The Dominican native has logged 79.1 innings.
Felix Pena, RHP, Tennessee—No Cubs minor league pitcher has fanned more hitters than the 25-year-old, who tops the chart with 73 punchouts in 69 inings. Pena has been named to his third straight all-star team, earning honors in the Midwest and Florida State leagues the past two years. In 12 AA starts, the 6-foot-2, right-hander is 5-2 with a 3.13 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.
P.J. Francescon, RHP, Tennessee—A starter for most of his pro career, the Cubs 40th round pick in 2011 made the switch to the bullpen last year in AA and worked primarily as a set-up man but Francescon has excelled in the closer’s role this year. The right-hander has converted 8-of-9 save chances and is 2-0 with a 0.68 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. In 22 games, he’s logged 26.1 innings with 12 walks and 23 punchouts.
Kyle Schwarber, C, Tennessee—Schwarber’s “all-star” game was a stint with the big league trip as he played six games with the Cubs before being sent to Iowa. The Cubs first-round pick last year, hit .364/.391/.591 in 22 at-bats with 1 HR, 6 RBI, 6 R, 1 BB, and 8 K in his big league stint. The 22-year-old batted .320/.438/.579 with 13 HR and 39 HR in 58 games and was named the starting catcher of the Southern League game.