November 27, 2012 - California League (CalL)
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.-Minor League Baseball and the Topps Company announced today that Billy Hamilton, who broke the single season record with 155 stolen bases this year, and a quartet of first round draft selections are among the nine players selected to the Topps Class A® All-Star Team. Two of the four first rounders, Christian Yelich and Jose Fernandez, are from the Miami Marlins organization.
C.J. Cron (22) of Phoenix, Ariz., led Class A with 123 runs batted in and tied for fourth with 27 home runs. The Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernardino first baseman hit .293 and led the California League with 271 total bases. Cron, named his league\'s Rookie of the Year, also finished in the top 10 in the league in doubles (32, 5th), hits (154, 6th) and slugging percentage (.516, 8th). The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim drafted Cron in the first round in 2011 out of the University of Utah.
Delino DeShields Jr. (20) of Ocala, Fla., led the classification with 113 runs and ranked second with 101 stolen bases and seventh with 83 walks. The second baseman hit a combined .287 with the Lexington Legends and Lancaster JetHawks. The Houston Astros took DeShields in the first round (eighth overall) in 2010 out of high school.
Billy Hamilton (22) of Taylorsville, Miss., stole 104 of his season record 155 bases with the Bakersfield Blaze, before a promotion to Double-A®. The shortstop and California League MVP ranked seventh in Class A with a .413 on-base percentage and ninth with a .323 batting average. The Cincinnati Reds picked Hamilton in the second round in 2009 out of high school.
Matt Skole (23) of Woodstock, Ga., had a Class A best 99 walks and ranked second in OPS (.986), third in on-base percentage (.426), fourth in home runs (27) and fifth in RBI (104). The third baseman spent most of his year with the Hagerstown Suns, before being promoted to the Potomac Nationals, hitting a combined .291. The Washington Nationals selected Skole, who was named the South Atlantic League MVP, in the fifth round in 2011 out of Georgia Tech University.
John Hicks (22) of Tampa, Fla., was among the top 10 players in the California League in hits (158, 4th), doubles (32, 5th), batting average (.312, 9th) and runs (87, 10th). The High Desert Mavericks catcher threw out 54% of the runners trying to steal a base to lead all Class A backstops. The Seattle Mariners took Hicks in the fourth round in 2011 out of the University of Virginia.
Kevin Pillar (23) of West Hills, Calif., finished third in the classification with 161 hits and ninth with a .323 batting average with the Lansing Lugnuts and Dunedin Blue Jays. The outfielder ranked 10th with 51 stolen bases, 35 of which he pilfered with Lansing. The Toronto Blue Jays drafted Pillar, who was named the Midwest League MVP, in the 32nd round in 2011 out of California State Dominguez Hills.
Gregory Polanco (21) of Santo Domingo, D.R., was among the top five players in the South Atlantic League in several categories, including second with a .325 batting average. The West Virginia Power outfielder ranked third in OPS (.910) and RBI (85), fourth in hits (142) and runs (84) and fifth with a .522 slugging percentage. The Pittsburgh Pirates signed Polanco, who was selected as the Most Outstanding Major League Prospect in the South Atlantic League, as a free agent in March 2009.
Christian Yelich (20) of West Palm Beach, Fla., led the Florida State League in OPS (.922) and slugging percentage (.519) and ranked second with a .330 batting average and .404 on-base percentage. The Jupiter Hammerheads outfielder was third with 76 runs and fifth with his 29 doubles. The Miami Marlins selected Yelich in the first round (23rd overall) in 2010 out of high school.
Jose Fernandez (20) of Tampa, Fla., led Class A starters with a 1.75 ERA and 0.93 WHIP. The right-hander went 7-0 with the Greensboro Grasshoppers and then 7-1 with the Jupiter Hammerheads. Fernandez was second in the classification in wins, third in batting average against (.191) and fifth with 158 strikeouts. The Miami Marlins took Fernandez in the first round (14th overall) in 2011 out of high school.
2012 TOPPS/MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL CLASS A ALL-STAR TEAM
Position Player Club(s)/League(s) MLB Affiliate AVG-HR-RBI
First Base C.J. Cron Inland Empire/CAL Los Angeles-AL .293-27-123
Second Base Delino DeShields, Jr. Lexington, Lancaster/SAL, CAL Houston .287-12-61
Shortstop Billy Hamilton Bakersfield/CAL Cincinnati .323-1-30
Third Base Matt Skole Hagerstown, Potomac/SAL, CAR Washington .291-27-104
Catcher John Hicks High Desert/CAL Seattle .312-15-79
Outfield Kevin Pillar Lansing, Dunedin/MWL, FSL Toronto .323-6-91
Outfield Gregory Polanco West Virginia/SAL Pittsburgh .325-16-85
Outfield Christian Yelich Jupiter/FSL Miami .330-12-48
Pitcher Jose Fernandez Greensboro, Jupiter/SAL, FSL Miami 14-1-1.75
(Statistics provided by Major League Baseball Advanced Media and do not reflect players\' performances in other leagues.)
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.