Mitch Jones, who claimed the Joe Bauman Trophy as Minor League Baseball’s top slugger, and International and Pacific Coast Most Valuable Players Shelley Duncan and Randy Ruiz are among the players selected to the Topps Triple-A All-Star Team. The best performances in all Minor League Baseball classifications are again being honored by the Topps Company of New York, N.Y., in conjunction with Minor League Baseball.
Randy Ruiz (32) of Reading, Pa., hit .320 with 25 homers in winning Most Valuable Player honors in the Pacific Coast League. The Las Vegas 51s first baseman led Triple-A with 106 RBI and 70 extrabase hits and finished second in the classification with his 41 doubles. The Toronto Blue Jays signed Ruiz as a free agent in December 2008.
Kevin Russo (25) of Boulder, Colo., finished fourth in Triple-A with a .326 average. The
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees second baseman had 18 doubles, two triples, five homers and 31 RBI in 90 games. The New York Yankees selected Russo in the 20th round in 2006 out of Baylor University.
Andy Marte (26) of Villa Tapia, Dominican Republic, hit .327 with 18 roundtrippers and 66 RBI in 82 games for the Columbus Clippers. The third baseman earned IL Topps Player of the Month honors for July when he hit .385 with nine homers and 24 RBI. The Cleveland Indians, who acquired Marte as part of a January 2006 trade with Boston, brought him up to the big club at the end of July for the rest of the season.
Alcides Escobar (22) of Vargas, Venezuela, finished among the top base stealers in Triple-A with 42. He hit .298 with four home runs, 34 RBI, 24 doubles and six triples for the Nashville Sounds. Escobar, who was also among the top defensive PCL shortstops with his .975 fielding percentage, was named to the Topps Double-A All-Star team last year. The Milwaukee Brewers signed him as a free agent in July 2003.
John Bowker (26) of Sacramento, Calif., led Minor League Baseball with a .451 on-base percentage. His .342 batting average was second best among all full-season domestic Minor Leaguers. The Fresno Grizzlies outfielder smacked 21 home runs, 22 doubles and four triples in driving in 83 runs. The San Francisco Giants drafted Bowker in the third round in 2004 out of Long Beach (CA) State University.
Jordan Brown (25) of Tucson, Ariz., paced the International League with a .336 batting average. The Columbus Clippers outfielder ranked third in the circuit with a .532 slugging percentage and finished tied for fifth with 35 doubles. The Cleveland Indians selected Brown in the fourth round in 2005 out of the University of Arizona.
Shelley Duncan (30) of Tucson, Ariz., hit .277 with 30 homers and 99 RBI in being named the
International League Most Valuable Player. Duncan’s home run and RBI totals with the
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees ranked second and third, respectively, in Triple-A. The New York Yankees drafted him in the second round in 2001 out of the University of Arizona.
John Hester (26) of Alpharetta, Ga., threw out 30% of the base runners trying to steal. The Reno Aces catcher hit .328 with nine homers and 66 RBI. The Arizona Diamondbacks tabbed Hester in the 13th round in 2006 out of Stanford University.
Mitch Jones (32) of Orem, Utah, won the Joe Bauman Trophy as Minor League Baseball’s top home run hitter with 35. The Albuquerque Isotopes outfielder also led the Minors with a .651 slugging percentage and his 103 RBI ranked second in Triple-A. The Los Angeles Dodgers inked Jones as a free agent in November 2008.
Lenny DiNardo (30) of Gainesville, Fla., went 10-5 with a 3.32 ERA in 23 starts. Omaha Royals pitchers combined on 13 shutouts in 2009 and DiNardo was involved in five of them. The left-hander struck out 127 batters, while only walking 38 in 151.2 innings. The Kansas City Royals signed DiNardo as a free agent in December 2008.
2009 TOPPS/MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TRIPLE-A ALL-STAR TEAM
(Statistics do not reflect players’ performances in other leagues)
Topps Double-A All-Stars will be announced on November 18
Topps Class A All-Stars will be announced on November 25
Topps Short Season/Rookie All-Stars will be announced on December 2
Source: Minor League Baseball
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