All Star Updates
On Monday, the North All-Stars defeated the South All Stars 9-4 in the Southern League All Star game. A whopping six Smokies got elected to the game and all but pitcher Ross Ohlendorf participated in the victory.
Second Baseman Danny Richar led off for the North All Stars. He singled twice and scored a run, but committed an error in the field. Richar is a converted shortstop who stood fifth in the Southern League in batting at game time.
Jerry Gil failed to get a hit in the contest, but nevertheless managed to steal a base and score a run. He also teamed up with Richar on a 6-4 double play. Gil has shown tremendous power for a shortstop this season, as he is currently tied for third in the SL in homers.
Batting cleanup, James D'Antona singled, scored, and drove in a run. Of course, he wouldn't be James D'Antona if he didn't add two strikeouts as well. Seriously, though, James has cut down on the whiffs this year and is turning in a fine season for the Smokies.
Some say that catcher is a weak position for the Diamondbacks organization, but don't tell that to All Star Miguel Montero. He's having a solid all around year for Tennessee, and was the Smokies' real star of the game. Not only did Montero finish 3-for-3 with two doubles, a run scored, and an RBI, but also no one on the South even attempted a steal off his well-respected arm.
Finally, Smokie closer Doug Slaten pitched a scoreless eighth in the game. Slaten has notched seven saves on the year and fanned an impressive 52 batters in just under 40 innings pitched. Two of his three recorded outs in the All Star game were also on punchouts.
The All Star Futures game took place on Sunday with the US Team beating the World Team by a score of 8-5. Tucson's Stephen Drew batted leadoff for the victorious US Team, going 1-for-3 with a run scored. On the losing side, Lancaster's Carlos Gonzalez also singled and scored a run. He batted fifth for the World Team, and was one of just a few players from either side to play all seven innings. Carlos did have the dubious distinction of recording the final out of the game, a medium fly out to left-center on a pitch right in the heart of the plate.
Up next is the Triple-A All Star Game on Wednesday (televised on ESPN2). Stephen Drew will again represent the Diamondbacks organization, having led the entire PCL in fan voting. What Drew is accomplishing in his first full professional season is astonishing. He rattled off an 18-game hitting streak earlier in the year, and is currently batting .285.
Playing alongside Stephen will be his double play partner in Tucson, Alberto Callaspo. Incredibly, this will be Callaspo's fifth straight All Star appearance. Callaspo's bat control is amazing; he's fanned just 15 times in 337 at bats so far. His .323 batting average and 43 walks have combined to make him one of the most effective table setters in all of professional baseball.
One snub for the Sidewinders is OF Scott Hairston. Hairston actually led all Designated Hitters on the inaugural PCL fan ballot. Unfortunately, the fan ballot only counts for one-third of the overall total, the other equal factors being media votes and field/General Manager votes. It is likely that the snub had more to do with Hairston's promotion to the majors and subsequent trip to the DL than his performance on the field. Hairston sports a ridiculous 1.046 OPS, which leads all PCL hitters.Read more from Keith Glab at www.baseballevolution.com