South Jersey Baseball:
Friday, August 27, 2004
By Bill Rosario
The Eastern League of Professional Baseball is pleased to announce the selections for the 2004 Eastern League All-Star Team, as voted on by respective Eastern League team managers and coaching staffs, sportswriters, radio and television broadcast personnel and other members of the media.
(Statistics for games played through August 25, 2004)
Catcher: Ronny Paulino, Altoona Curve (.285, 15 HR, 58 RBI)
Ronny Paulino is currently batting .285 with 22 doubles, two triples, 15 home runs, 58 RBI and 51 runs scored for the first place Altoona Curve. The 23-year old, who made his Double-A debut with the Curve last season, has an on-base percentage of .348 this season and is slugging .491. Defensively, the 2002 Carolina League All-Star has made only eight errors in 74 games behind the plate for the Curve.
First Base: Ryan Howard, Reading Phillies (.297, 37 HR, 102 RBI)
Despite being promoted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at the end of July, Reading Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard is still leading the league in RBI (102) and slugging percentage (.647) and is tied for the league lead in home runs (37). The 24-year old slugger was named the Eastern League Player of the Week for the weeks ending June 13th and June 27th and was also named the Eastern League Chase Most Valuable Player for the month of June. Howard, who was the 2003 Florida State League Most Valuable Player, was selected to play for the Southern Division in the 2004 Eastern League All-Star Game and was also selected by Baseball America as the “Best Defensive Power Prospect” in the Eastern League.
Second Base: Jeff Keppinger, Altoona Curve/Binghamton Mets (.341, 1 HR, 38 RBI)
Jeff Keppinger is currently in first place in the Eastern League batting race with a .341 average, despite being promoted to Triple-A Norfolk in mid-August. Keppinger, who played in 82 games with the Altoona Curve before being traded to the New York Mets organization and joining the Binghamton Mets on August 1st, is also in fifth in the league in on-base percentage (.392). The 24-year old was chosen to play for the Southern Division squad in the 2004 Eastern League All-Star Game and had a double, two singles and drove in a run in the game to take home MVP honors.
Third Base: Mike Cervenak, Norwich Navigators (.338, 21 HR, 85 RBI)
Norwich Navigators third baseman Mike Cervenak is currently ranked among the Eastern League leaders in on-base percentage (.416-2nd), slugging percentage (.587-2nd), batting average (.338-3rd), doubles (35-tied 4th), extra-base hits (57-tied 4th), RBI (85-6th), hits (136-tied 6th) and homers (21-tied 7th). The 28-year old slugger was named the Eastern League Player of the Week for the weeks ending April 18th, May 2nd and July 25th and was also selected as a member of the Northern Division squad for the 2004 Eastern League All-Star Game.
Shortstop: Aaron Hill, New Hampshire Fisher Cats (.287, 10 HR, 74 RBI)
New Hampshire Fisher Cats shortstop Aaron Hill is hitting .287 and has already set new career-highs in virtually every offensive category this season, including, hits (127), doubles (24), home runs (10), RBI (74) and runs scored (73). Hill, a 2003 New York-Penn League All-Star, was named MVP of the 2004 Futures Game and was also named to the Northern Division roster for the 2004 Eastern League All-Star Game.
Curtis Granderson, Erie SeaWolves (.315, 21 HR, 92 RBI)
Erie SeaWolves centerfielder Curtis Granderson was ranked as the 8th best prospect in the Detroit Tigers organization by Baseball America coming into this season and he has show why, as he currently leads the Eastern League in runs scored (87) and on-base percentage (.417). The 23-year old is also ranked among the league leaders in a number of other categories, including, RBI (92-3rd), triples (8-tied 3rd), batting average (.315-5th), slugging percentage (.545-7th), home runs (21-tied 7th) and hits (133-tied 9th). Granderson, who was a New-York Penn League All-Star in 2002, was named the Eastern League Player of the Week for the week ending August 1st.
Slugger Val Majewski has excelled with the Bowie Baysox in his first season at the Double-A level. The 23-year old, who was promoted to Baltimore on August 18th, was hitting .307 (8th in the E.L.) with 24 doubles, 15 home runs, 80 RBI and 71 runs scored at the time of his promotion. Majewski, who was ranked as the 4th best prospect in the Baltimore organization by Baseball America coming into the season, was selected to play for the United States team in the 2004 Futures Game and played for the Southern Division squad in the 2004 Eastern League All-Star Game in front of his home crowd in Bowie, Maryland.
After hitting .279 with 41 doubles, 14 home runs and 79 RBI for the New Britain Rock Cats during the 2003 season, outfielder Kevin West returned to New Britain this season and was an offensive force before being promoted to Triple-A Rochester on August 15th. At the time of his promotion the 24-year old slugger was leading the league in extra-base hits (61) and was also ranked among the league leaders in RBI (87-2nd), doubles (35-2nd), home runs (25-4th), slugging percentage (.551-5th) and hits (127-7th). West, who after two outstanding seasons, is the Rock Cats all-time career leader in home runs (39) and doubles (76), was named the Eastern League Player of the Week for the weeks ending May 30th and June 6th and was also named the Eastern League Chase Most Valuable Player for the month of May. West was also named to the Northern Division roster for the 2004 Eastern League All-Star Game.
Utility Player: John Castellano, Reading Phillies (.340, 17 HR, 66 RBI)
John Castellano has been the definition of a utility player this season for the Reading Phillies, as he has played games in the outfield and at catcher and third base since being promoted from Single-A Clearwater in May. The 26-year old is currently second in the Eastern League in batting (.340) and is also ranked among the league leaders in slugging percentage (.559-5th) and on-base percentage (.389-6th). Castellano was also selected to play for the Southern Division squad in the 2004 Eastern League All-Star Game and went 2-for-4 in the contest.
Designated Hitter: Mitch Jones, Trenton Thunder (.260, 37 HR, 95 RBI)
Trenton Thunder slugger Mitch Jones has 37 home runs this season (tied for 1st in the E.L.) and is just five home runs shy of breaking the Eastern League single-season home run record, which is currently held by Ken Strong and Rick Lancellotti. The 26-year old is currently hitting .260 and is ranked among the league leaders in extra-base hits (65-1st), RBI (95-2nd), runs scored (84-3rd) and slugging percentage (.575-4th). Jones, who was named the Eastern League Player of the Week for the weeks ending July 11th and August 22nd, was named to the Northern Division roster for the 2004 Eastern League All-Star Game and also won the 2004 Eastern League Home Run Derby.
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher: Ian Snell, Altoona Curve (10-7, 3.31)
After going 4-0 with a 1.96 ERA in six starts with the Altoona Curve last season, Ian Snell is 10-7 with a 3.31 ERA for the Southern Division leaders this year. The 22-year old is second in the league in strikeouts (132) and is also among the league leaders in complete games (2-tied 3rd), shutouts (1-tied 3rd), innings pitched (144-4th) and wins (10-tied 4th). Snell was named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week for the week ending May 2nd and was also named the starting pitcher for the Southern Division in the 2004 Eastern League All-Star Game, giving up two hits and striking out a batter in one scoreless inning of work.
Left-Handed Starting Pitcher: Gustavo Chacin, New Hampshire Fisher Cats (15-2, 2.96)
New Hampshire Fisher Cats southpaw Gustavo Chacin has an Eastern League leading 15 wins this season and is also ranked among the league leaders in ERA (2.96-tied 3rd) and innings pitched (136.2-6th). The 23-year old was named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week for the week ending July 25th and was also named the Eastern League Chase Most Valuable Player for the month of July after going 5-0 with a 0.98 ERA in six starts for the Fisher Cats during the month.
Relief Pitcher: Bobby Korecky, New Britain Rock Cats (3-3, 3.59, 26 Saves)
New Britain Rock Cats right-hander Bobby Korecky has a league-leading 26 saves while appearing in 49 games this season, which is tied for sixth most in the league. The 24-year old currently has a 3-3 record and a 3.59 ERA and has struck out 48 batters while allowing only 19 walks in 57.2 innings of work.