Click to see the rosters for this year's
Triple-A All-Star Game
UPDATE: I am blogging the Triple-A All-Star Game via Twitter. Follow me @BizballMaury
The Pacific Coast League and International League today finalized their rosters for Wednesdayâ€™s 2009 Cricket Wireless Triple-A All-Star Game at PGE Park.
Each league provides a 25-man roster full of rising superstars and proven Triple-A veterans.
A breakdown of the roster reveals a host of intriguing stories, including an exciting influx of top-prospect talent from around the country, featuring speed and power, a pair of former Beavers players, a former Beavers manager from across the Columbia and a dozen players who return to the minor leaguesâ€™ highest-profile event.
The makeup of this yearâ€™s Triple-A All-Star Game rosters:
THE SKIPPER (PART I): Entering the 2009 season, Pacific Coast League manager Randy Ready had compiled a 443-406 (.522) career managerial record over seven seasons. In addition, he has won one league championship and three division titles, and made the playoffs five times with three different clubs. Readyâ€™s Triple-A managerial debut came in 2008 when he took the reins of the Beavers and the California native received the PCLâ€™s â€śBest Manager Prospectâ€ť honors, awarded annually by Baseball America. In 2007, Ready won the first title of his young career after leading the Class AA San Antonio Missions to a Texas League Championship in their inaugural year with the Padres. His club was named Baseball Americaâ€™s 2007 Minor League Team of the Year and produced the Texas League Player and Pitcher of the Year in Chase Headley and Josh Geer, respectively. In addition, Ready received the Padresâ€™ Jack Krol award at seasonâ€™s end for his overall contributions to player development in the organization. A career .259 hitter, Ready competed in 777 major league games during his career and finished with 40 homers, 239 RBIs and 312 runs. He enjoyed his finest offensive season during the â€™87 campaign with the Padres, setting career marks in homers (12), RBIs (54), hits (108), doubles (26), runs (69) and games played (124).
THE SKIPPER (PART II): International League manager Rick Sweet has been at the helm of the Louisville Bats for the past four seasons and in 2008 became the winningest manager in franchise history with 303 victories. Throughout his 20-year managerial history, the former catcher has compiled a career record of 1,352-1,327 (.505), won three league championships, reached the playoffs six times and twice been named Manager of the Year. In 2008, Sweet guided the Bats to a franchise-best 88-56 record and their first IL West Division Title since 2003. Although his team finished tied for the best record in the International League, they fell to the Durham Bulls 3-games-to-1 in the best of five opening round series of the playoffs. However, for his efforts, Sweet received IL Manager of the Year honors, his first since 1994. After being drafted in the third round of the 1975 Major League Draft by the San Diego Padres, Sweet ascended through the Padres system quickly, making his big league debut on April 8, 1978. He finished his nine-year playing career, which included three seasons in the majors with the Padres (1978), New York Mets (1982) and Seattle Mariners (1982-83), with a .234 batting average, six home runs and 57 RBIs.
GEOGRAPHICALLY SPEAKING: A breakdown of birthplaces by state or country on this yearâ€™s Triple-A All-Star rosters; the list is comprised of 21 states in addition to seven countries outside the United States:
California â€“ 7 (Brown, Lehr, Martin, Munson, Norris, Thayer, Torres)
Texas â€“ 6 (Hill, Huffman, Jackson, M. Miller, Stubbs, Todd)
Canada â€“ 3 (Armstrong, Robinson, Swindle)
Florida â€“ 3 (Katin, Murton, E. Patterson)
Pennsylvania â€“ 3 (Kratz, Ryan, S. Patterson)
Michigan â€“ 2 (Cervenak, Haeger)
New Jersey â€“ 2 (J. Miller, Young)
New York â€“ 2 (Figueroa, Ruiz)
Puerto Rico â€“ 2 (Cabrera, Padilla)
Venezuela â€“ 2 (Bazardo, Escobar)
Arizona â€“ 1 (Duncan)
Arkansas â€“ 1 (Dlugach)
Australia â€“ 1 (Huber)
Cuba â€“ 1 (Canizares)
Dominican Republic â€“ 1 (German)
Georgia â€“ 1 (Evans)
Honduras â€“ 1 (Vaquedano)
Kentucky â€“ 1 (Bynum)
Louisiana â€“ 1 (Brignac)
Massachusetts â€“ 1 (LaHair)
Mississippi â€“ 1 (Hughes)
Missouri â€“ 1 (Marshall)
Nebraska â€“ 1 (Kroenke)
Ohio â€“ 1 (Tracy)
Oklahoma â€“ 1 (Ryal)
Oregon â€“ 1 (Carpenter)
South Carolina â€“ 1 (Pucetas)
West Virginia â€“ 1 (Timmons)
Select Read more to see details of this year's Triple-A All-Star Game rosters
MAJOR LEAGUE TESTED: Twenty-four of the 50 players participating in the 2009 Triple-A All-Star Game have competed at the major league level, including 10 for the IL and 14 for the PCL. Oklahoma City infielder Esteban German has appeared in the most big league games with 366, followed by Sacramento catcher Eric Munson (360) and Colorado Springs outfielder Matt Murton (317).
SEEING STARS: Twelve players (8 IL and 4 PCL) have Triple-A All-Star Game experience, including three players â€“ Reid Brignac, Dale Thayer and Barbaro Canizares â€“ who played in last yearâ€™s contest in Louisville.
THE SKYâ€™S THE LIMIT: The 2009 Triple-A All-Star Game will feature seven of the top prospects in professional baseball, as ranked by Baseball America. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre outfielder Austin Jackson and Nashville infielder Alcides Escobar were rated as the No. 1 prospects in the New York Yankees and Milwaukee Brewers organizations, respectively. Round Rock pitcher Bud Norris is No. 2 in the Houston Astros chain and Louisville outfielder Drew Stubbs was tabbed as the No. 3 prospect in the Cincinnati Reds organization. Durham infielder Reid Brignac (Tampa Bay), Memphis pitcher Jess Todd (St. Louis) and Charlotte catcher Cole Armstrong (Chicago White Sox) all placed among their organizationâ€™s top 10.
WITH THE FIRST SELECTIONâ€¦: Four former first-round picks are included in this yearâ€™s Triple-A All-Star Game. On the IL side, Louisville outfielder Drew Stubbs was taken with the eighth overall pick by the Cincinnati Reds in 2006 and Syracuse pitcher J.D. Martin joined the professional ranks as a Cleveland Indians first-rounder (35th overall) in 2001. Sacramento catcher Eric Munson was the third overall pick by the Detroit Tigers in 1999 and Colorado Springs outfielder Matt Murton was drafted 32nd overall in 2003 by the Boston Red Sox for the PCL.
TALE OF THE TAPE: Portland Beavers right-hander Scott Patterson, listed at 6â€™7â€ť, is the tallest of the 2009 Triple-A All-Stars while PCL teammate Esteban German of Oklahoma City comes in at 5â€™9â€ť, the shortest player in Wednesdayâ€™s game.
RESPECT YOUR ELDERS: Lehigh Valley infielder Andy Tracy, 35, is the oldest player on either roster while Buffalo reliever Nelson Figueroa, who is also 35, is just five months younger than Tracy. On the PCL side, 32-year-old outfielder Michael Ryan of New Orleans is senior.
YOUTH IS SERVED: At 22, Nashville infielder Alcides Escobar is the youngest player in this yearâ€™s Triple-A All-Star Game. Escobar was born on December 16, 1986, and is one of three players born in 1986 (Memphis pitcher Jess Todd and Durham infielder Reid Brignac are the others).
THE ONLY SWITCH-A-ROO: Out of 50 players in this yearâ€™s contest, only Colorado Springs infielder Eric Young, Jr. is a switch-hitter.
MADE IN OREGON: Lehigh Valley pitcher Andrew Carpenter was born in Grants Pass, Ore., a four-hour drive south of Portland.
CLOSE TO HOME: In contrast, Rochesterâ€™s Justin Huber was born in Melbourne, Australia, which is merely a 20-hour flight from Portland.
RETURNING BEAVERS: Two members of the IL roster have previously played for the host Portland Beavers: Durham reliever Dale Thayer made his Triple-A debut when he pitched in two games for the Beavers at the end of the 2006 season; and Rochester infielder Justin Huber, who played 61 games in the Beaversâ€™ infield and outfield during the 2008 season, which he capped by collecting five hits in the season finale.
HOMETOWN HEROES: Portland Beavers pitcher Scott Patterson and outfielder Chad Huffman will join PCL manager Randy Ready in representing the host city in the 2009 Triple-A All-Star Game. Patterson posted a 2-2 record and 2.58 ERA and led all Portland pitchers with 36 appearances. Huffman led all PCL outfielders in fan voting and was named to the team after hitting .253 with 12 homers, 43 RBIs and 38 runs scored before the break.
BACK TO THE FUTURES: Three Triple-A All-Stars, all infielders, also played in the MLB All-Star Futures Game at Busch Stadium in St. Louis Sunday. Nashvilleâ€™s Alcides Escobar and Gwinnettâ€™s Barbaro Canizares both suited up for the World Team, while Colorado Springsâ€™ Eric Young, Jr., who hit a solo homer in the third inning of the exhibition, was the lone All-Star on the U.S. Team.
DERBY DARLINGS: Six of Triple-Aâ€™s leading home run hitters do battle in the American Family Insurance All-Star Home Run Derby Monday night. Two area high schoolers, Hillsboroâ€™s Sid Jensen and Sunsetâ€™s Kevin Taylor, will compete with Lehigh Valleyâ€™s Andy Tracy, Rochesterâ€™s Justin Huber and Scranton/Wilkes-Barreâ€™s Shelley Duncan for the IL and Portlandâ€™s Chad Huffman, Salt Lakeâ€™s Terry Evans and Nashvilleâ€™s Brendan Katin for the 2009 Triple-A Home Run Derby crown.
FAMOUS KIN: Colorado Springs infielder Eric Young, Jr. is the son of former Rockies great and ESPN broadcaster Eric Young. Young, Jr. leads all of baseball with 48 stolen bases.
DRAFT NOTICE: Of the 44 players in this yearâ€™s game who were drafted, no more than three were drafted by any one team. Seven teams â€“ Atlanta, Boston, Chicago (AL), Cleveland, Colorado, Detroit and New York (NL) â€“ each drafted three of this yearâ€™s All-Stars.
A RIGHT-HANDED AFFAIR: Of the 50 All-Stars, only five throw left-handed. On the International League roster, only Scranton/Wilkes-Barre pitcher Zachary Kroenke and Columbus outfielder Jordan Brown are southpaws while the PCL roster features only three â€“ Nashville pitcher R.J. Swindle, Sacramento pitcher Jay Marshall and Omaha pitcher Dusty Hughes.
Source: Portland Beavers
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).
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