Springfield has 5 TL all-stars led by Taveras

Five Springfield Cardinals are 2012 Texas League post-season All-Stars, including the league's Player of the Year, Oscar Taveras.

The 19-man Texas League Post-Season All-Star Team was announced on Tuesday. The Springfield Cardinals are represented among the eight-team Double-A league's best by five players.

The group is led by TL Player of the Year Oscar Taveras, giving the Cardinals back-to-back winners after Matt Adams took the same award last year. Other Cardinals named to the 2012 team are second baseman Kolten Wong and pitchers Keith Butler, Trevor Rosenthal and Seth Maness.

All five are repeaters from their eligible mid-season All-Star teams, but unlike the other four, who were with Springfield then, Maness was a Florida State League pick. The four Springfield players represented the TL North Division in the league's All-Star Game. Taveras and Wong were starters with Oscar named the game's Most Valuable Player. Rosenthal and Butler both pitched in the contest. Maness missed the FSL All-Star Game, having already been promoted to Double-A.

All except Rosenthal, currently with Memphis and expected to re-join St. Louis very soon, will be suiting up for Springfield as they enter the Texas League playoffs as the North Division second-half champion.

The post-season all-star list is considered more exclusive than the mid-season list as the later group includes both divisions and has fewer players as a result. Other Cardinals mid-season Texas League all-star selections were catcher Audry Perez and infielder Jermaine Curtis.

Taveras leads the league in a number of hitting categories despite having just turned 21 in June. The left-handed hitter is first in batting average (.322), hits (146), extra base hits (64), doubles (35), and total bases (261). The centerfielder also ranks fourth in the league in home runs (22) and is third in RBI (89). If Taveras wins the batting title, it will be the first in team history – all for a player who skipped over Class-A-Advanced this season. At number three overall, Taveras was the top-ranked position player in the Cardinals system based on pre-season rankings by The Cardinal Nation.

Like Taveras, Wong, the Cardinals' first-round selection in the 2011 draft, moved straight to Double-A from Class-A Quad Cities last year. The left-handed hitter both excelled at the plate and exceeded defensive expectations. The former Hawaii second baseman is hitting .287 with eight home runs and 51 RBI. Wong also leads the Cards with 21 stolen bases. The 21-year-old entered 2012 rated as the fifth-best prospect in the Cardinals organization according to The Cardinal Nation, just behind Taveras. Both appeared in the MLB Futures Game in Kansas City last month.

Butler, 23, leads the league in saves (25), including 22 straight after being named the Cardinals closer in May. The right-hander has a 5-1 record with a 2.86 ERA. He was the Cardinals 24th round pick in the 2009 Draft.

As noted above, Maness was promoted to Springfield in May after beginning the season at Palm Beach. Despite having been with the club less time than most, the 23-year-old right-hander leads Springfield with 10 wins. Maness currently ranks sixth in the league with his 3.41 ERA.

Rosenthal, 22, has been the best pitching success story in the Cardinals system in 2012. After joining Taveras and Wong in the leap over Palm Beach, the right-hander logged an 8-6 record with a 2.78 ERA in 17 starts with Springfield. The Cards' 21st round pick in 2009 became just the third player ever promoted straight from Springfield to St. Louis (along with Steven Hill in 2010 and Maikel Cleto in 2011). Rosenthal made his major league debut on July 18 in Milwaukee.

The Texas League post-season all-star balloting was conducted among the league's managers, broadcasters, media relations directors and selected media members.

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