June 13, 2011 - Texas League (TL) - Springfield Cardinals
Springfield, MO - The Springfield Cardinals are excited to announce the 2011 All-Star Team participants for the 75th Texas League All-Star game in San Antonio, Texas June 29th.
Rosters for both the North and South Divisions were announced by league president Tom Kayser at Wolff Stadium earlier today.
"We are honored to have five All-Stars this season" said Vice President and General Manager Matt Gifford. "These players have represented our team and themselves with the upmost class and deserve to be in San Antonio to participate in the All-Star Game."
Springfield will be well-represented at the Texas League All-Star Game as five Cardinals were announced as members of the 2011 team.
First baseman Matt Adams and outfielder Alex Castellanos were elected starters at their positions. Shortstop Ryan Jackson was selected as a reserve infielder, and Maikel Cleto and Michael Blazek make up one-fifth of the All-Star pitching staff.
The five players selected, representing the North, will join nineteen of their divisional peers to take on the South Division All-Stars on Wednesday, June 29, in San Antonio, Texas.
Despite battling an oblique strain since late May, Adams is still among the Texas League leaders in virtually every hitting category. His batting average (.354) is good for second in the Texas League, as are his 15 home runs. Add in Adams' 47 RBIs (third in the league), and the Philipsburg, Pa. native is the obvious choice at first base. Just 21 years of age, Adams is enjoying one of his finest seasons as a professional.
Joining Adams in the starting lineup is 24-year-old outfielder Alex Castellanos. In his first year in Springfield, Castellanos has already eclipsed his home run total for all of 2010. His 14 home run total is third best in the league. Castellanos surely turned voter's heads with his high average (.308), RBI total (41) and laser arm in right-field. The Miami, Fla. resident joins Tulsa's Tim Wheeler and Arkansas' Mike Trout to form an outstanding trio in the North Division outfield.
Rounding out the Cardinals position player All-Stars is shortstop Ryan Jackson. Although Jackson's bat has been steady throughout (.265, 4 HRs, 26 RBI's), it is his excellent glove work that sets the 23-year-old apart from other infielders in the Texas League. Jackson has routinely been cited for making the difficult look routine, a trait Springfield pitchers undoubtedly appreciate.
Two of those thankful pitchers will show off their powerful arms in San Antonio. Right-handers Michael Blazek and Maikel Cleto are both All-Stars in their first year at the Double-A level.
Blazek, from Las Vegas, Nev., has quietly become the Texas League leader in wins. His impressive 7-2 record is a major reason Springfield has a chance at finishing first in the division at the halfway point. Blazek's 64 innings pitched is best on the staff, as are his 52 strikeouts. A 35th round selection in the 2007 MLB Draft, Blazek's impressive 2011 campaign is making a case for his baseball future.
The final Springfield Cardinals' All-Star is also the only member not originally drafted or signed by the club. vMaikel Cleto was acquired from the Seattle Mariners for former St. Louis Cardinals' shortstop Brendan Ryan in a trade on Dec. 12, 2010. Possessing a plus fastball, Cleto has always been an intriguing big league prospect, but under the tutelage of Springfield Pitching Coach Bryan Eversgerd, Cleto has harnessed his potential into impressive results. In just five starts, Cleto is 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA and 34 strikeouts.
The rest of the North Division All Star Team pitching staff includes Orangel Arenas, Ryan Braiser, Trevor Reckling, Garrett Richards and Matt Shoemaker from the Arkansas Travelers, and Juan Nicasio, Christian Friedrich and Stephen Dodson representing the Tulsa Drillers.
Accompanying Adams and Castellanos in the North Division starting lineup are catcher Wilin Rosario (Tulsa), second baseman Ryan Mount (Arkansas), third baseman Luis Jimenez (Arkansas), shortstop Darwin Perez (Arkansas), designated hitter Anthony Seratelli (Northwest Arkansas), and outfielders Wheeler and Trout (Tulsa and Arkansas, respectively).
Rounding out the 24-man roster are reserves Darin Holcomb, Ben Paulsen and Scott Beerer (Tulsa) and Salvador Perez (Northwest Arkansas).
Balloting was conducted among the league's managers, broadcasters, media relations directors and selected media members.