Smokies Land Six on Southern League All-Star team
KODAK, Tenn. - Six members of the 2013 Tennessee Smokies roster were named Tuesday by the Southern League of Professional Baseball Clubs to the 2013 Southern League All-Star Game. Position players Arismendy Alcantara, Rafael Lopez, Matt Szczur and Christian Villanueva will join teammates Alberto Cabrera and Kyle Hendricks on the North Division roster at Bragan Field in Jacksonville, Fla. for the July 17th game.
Players named to the Southern League All-Star teams are selected by a vote of Southern League field managers, radio broadcasters, general managers and print media. The South Division roster will be announced tomorrow, July 3rd. Starting lineups for the North and South Divisions will be released on July 8th and 9th respectively.
Alcantara, 21, will make his second appearance on an All-Star team, named to the Florida State League mid-season team in 2012. This season with the Smokies, the middle-infielder is batting .277 (81-for-292) with 20 doubles, a pair of triples, 11 home runs and 36 RBIs. Alcantara currently ranks second in the Southern League with 20 doubles and 33 extra base hits, third with 138 total bases and fifth with 81 total hits. On June 26, Alcantara was selected to play for the World Team in the 15th annual SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game on July 14th. The Santo Domingo, D.R. native was signed by the Chicago Cubs as a non-drafted free agent in 2008.
Cabrera, 24, will make his second consecutive appearance on a Southern League All-Star team, having participated in the 2012 All-Star Game at Smokies Park. With Tennessee this year, the right-handed starter holds a 7-3 record with a 3.49 ERA (38 ER/98 IP) in 16 starts. He leads the Southern League with 97 strikeouts and ranks second with 98 innings pitched. The Las Matas de Farfan, D.R. native signed with the Cubs as a non-drafted free agent in 2005.
Hendricks, 23, is selected to his second All-Star team, having been named to the Carolina League mid-season squad in 2012. This season, Hendricks leads the Tennessee pitching staff with an 8-2 record and a 2.17 ERA (22 ER/91.1 IP) in 15 starts. His eight victories ties him for the lead in the Southern League and his 2.17 ERA ranks him fourth among all Double-A starters. Hendricks was recognized by the Cubs as their Minor League Pitcher of the Month for May and was awarded the Southern League Pitcher of the Week for the week of June 3-9. The San Juan Capistrano, Calif. native was originally drafted by the Texas Rangers in the eighth round of the 2011 draft out of Dartmouth College. He was traded to the Cubs, along with teammate Christian Villanueva, for P Ryan Dempster in 2012.
Lopez, 25, is named to an All-Star team for the second time in his young career. The Smokies catcher was named to the Midwest League mid-season team in 2012. In 53 games with the Smokies, he holds a .249 batting average (44-for-177) with 17 doubles, four home runs and 20 RBIs. The Wellington, Fla. native was drafted by the Cubs in the 16th round of the 2011 draft out of Florida State University.
Szczur, 23, heads into the All-Star break as one of the Southern League's hottest hitters. His .300 batting average (90-for-300) ties for fourth in the Southern League and his 90 hits place him second. The right-handed outfielder is currently riding an eight-game hitting streak and ranks second on the team in RBIs (37) and stolen bases (17) and third in triples (3). The Cape May, N.J. native was drafted by the Cubs in the fifth round of the 2010 draft out of Villanova University.
Villanueva, 22, is named to his fourth All-Star team in his young career. He was named to the Arizona Rookie League All-Star team in 2010 and both the South-Atlantic League mid-season and postseason All-Star teams in 2011. He currently holds a .246 batting average (69-for-280) with 20 doubles, a pair of triples, eight home runs and 38 RBIs. Villanueva leads the Smokies with 38 RBIs and is tied for second in the Southern League with 20 doubles and fourth with 30 extra-base hits. The Guadalajara, Mexico native was originally signed by Texas as a non-drafted free agent in 2008 and was traded to the Cubs, along with fellow All-Star Kyle Hendricks, for P Ryan Dempster in 2012.
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