Photos by Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta El Paso Herald Post
El Paso Chihuahuas players Austin Allen, Ty France and Luis Urias have been named to the 2019 Pacific Coast League All-Star Team.
With the 2019 RMHC Triple-A All-Star Game less than two weeks away, the Pacific Coast League Wednesday unveiled its roster. This is the first time since 2016 that the Chihuahuas have had three All-Stars in one year.
The 32nd annual contest, which pits the top talent from each of the two Leagues at Minor League Baseball’s highest level, will be played on Wednesday, July 10 at Southwest University Park, home of the El Paso Chihuahuas (San Diego).
The roster is made up of 13 elected players who have received the most votes from ballots submitted by club’s field managers and general managers, members of the media and broadcasters, and online fan voting.
The elected players are joined by 20 additional All-Stars selected by Pacific Coast League officials.
Dave Brundage, the Sacramento River Cats manager, will skipper the roster featuring players from all 16 clubs, including 24 of the 33 players on the roster having made their Major League debut either this year, or prior to this year.
The game will also feature 13 players who are 25 years old or younger.
Memphis pitcher Jake Woodford, tabbed by Baseball America as the St. Louis Cardinals No. 16 prospect, will get the start for the PCL. This marks the second consecutive All-Star Game where a Redbirds pitcher has been named the PCL’s starter for the midsummer classic joining Dakota Hudson from 2018.
The Tampa native, who sports the third best ERA in the PCL at 3.39, becomes the sixth hurler in franchise history to start a Triple-A All-Star Game. Iowa right-hander Colin Rea was the other elected starting pitcher, and is currently second in the league in wins (8). Relievers Jimmie Sherfy (Reno) and Jay Jackson (San Antonio) were also elected; Sherfy has a PCL-best 11 saves, while Jackson has walked just six batters in 31.2 innings.
The Albuquerque Isotopes have the most elected starters with Pat Valaika (3B) who has hit .339 this season, Sam Hilliard (OF) whose 20 home runs is tied for fourth-best in the PCL and Yonathan Daza (OF) who leads the PCL in batting average at .375.
San Antonio’s Keston Hiura (2B) and El Paso’s Luis Urias (SS) will draw the start up the middle; Hiura is third in the league in slugging (.692) and OPS (1.104), while Urias has scored 54 runs.
Getting the start behind the plate is Los Angeles Dodgers farmhand Will Smith (Oklahoma City). Reno’s Kevin Cron (1B) rounds out the infield for the PCL, and is tied for the league lead in home runs with 23. Fresno’s Yadiel Hernandez, his team’s top home run hitter at 17, will be the designated hitter.
Kyle Tucker (Round Rock), who is tied for the PCL’s home run lead at 23, was the top vote-getter in the outfield. Tucker will be joined by the aforementioned Hilliard and Daza from Albuquerque in the outfield.
The reserves are highlighted by two of the host El Paso Chihuahuas in backstop Austin Allen and infielder Ty France. In addition to Hiura and Jackson, the San Antonio Missions boast the most overall representatives with four invitees with catcher David Frietas and infielder Tyler Saladino. Rounding out the reserve players are infielders Isan Diaz (New Orleans), Jorge Mateo (Las Vegas), Rangel Ravelo (Memphis), Yasmany Tomas (Reno), and outfielders Bubba Starling (Omaha) and Taylor Ward (Salt Lake).
David Carpenter (Nashville), with 10 saves, leads the pitcher reserves. He will be joined by teammate Seth Maness (Nashville). Right-handers Dakota Bacus (Fresno), Paul Blackburn (Las Vegas), Parker Markel (Tacoma), Kevin Quackenbush (Oklahoma City) Cy Sneed (Round Rock), left-handers Fernando Abad (Sacramento), Sam Selman (Sacramento) and the ambidextrous Pat Venditte (Sacramento) are the other hurlers receiving All-Star nods.
The PCL will look to claim its third consecutive All-Star victory after last season’s 12-7 victory at Huntington Park in Columbus, Ohio. Josh Fuentes (Albuquerque) earned PCL Top Star honors after going 2-for-3 with a solo home run and two RBI.
In the 21 years since the event changed to the current IL vs. PCL format, the International League has taken 13 of the 21 contests