Bees All-Stars thrilled to be selected

RC was in Cedar Rapids over the weekend, where we got a chance to speak with the three Burlington Bees – Wil Myers, Bryan Paukovits, and Tyler Sample – who will participate in Tuesday's night's Midwest League All-Star game in Fort Wayne. It was the first All-Star selection for all three players.

On June 8, the Midwest League announced its 2010 All-Star teams. At the time, Wil Myers and Bryan Paukovits were chosen to play for the Western Division All-Stars when the East and West meet in the midseason classic at Fort Wayne's Parkview Field on June 22.

"I'm definitely excited about it," said Myers, who will be the Western Division's starting catcher. "It's an honor to be selected for that."

Myers, of course, should have expected the honor. The 20-year-old catcher entered the break hitting .287/.408/.502 with 10 home runs, 16 doubles, and 43 RBIs. He ranks in the Midwest League's top five in on-base percentage, OPS, and RBIs, and he's on an even better pace than former first rounder Mike Moustakas was during the third baseman's breakout 2008 season while calling the Bees' Community Field home.

Paukovits, meanwhile, earned his first All-Star nod by finishing the first half with a 3-3 record and a sparkling 3.32 ERA. Most impressively, the 22-year-old right-hander held Midwest League opponents to a microscopic .189 batting average this season while fanning 65 (and walking just 16) in 62.1 innings pitched.

"I was happy to hear that I was selected to be on the team," said Paukovits. "I was hoping that it would happen. I'm pretty excited to see how it's going to be."

Paukovits ranks third in the Midwest League in WHIP (0.95), but he won't have a chance to improve upon that number – after the All-Star game, he will drive to Wilmington and join the Blue Rocks for the second half.

Tyler Sample was a late addition to the All-Star team, replacing a player on the Western Division's squad who couldn't participate. Nevertheless, the 20-year-old right-hander is happy to join the team.

"It feels great," said Sample. "I was a late add, so I was surprised that I made it. I wasn't expecting it at all, but it's an honor."

Of course, Sample (2-3, 4.00) has done plenty to deserve the spot. Through 13 starts, he has held opponents to a .192 average while fanning 53 batters in 63.0 innings pitched. His walks have been a bit high this season, but few pitchers in the Midwest League have a better – or more unhittable – fastball/curveball combination.

While all three players were thrilled to be selected, one aspect of it did annoy Myers.

"I just wish I was in the home run derby, but I'm not," he said, referring to Monday night's festivities. "I'm in the catcher's skill competition instead."

Myers' exclusion from the home run derby does seem like a snub. After all, he did finish the first half with the fourth-most home runs in the league, and the third-most in the Western Division. Of course, he didn't seem overly beside himself about the injustice.

"Oh, it's all right," said Myers. "I guess."

The Midwest League All-Star game takes place tonight at 6:05 pm CST.

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