Announced Wednesday, the 2012 National League roster for the New York-Penn League All-Star Game includes five St. Louis Cardinals prospects currently playing for the Batavia Muckdogs. They include three position players and two pitchers - second baseman Breyvic Valera and third baseman Patrick Wisdom, catcher Jesus Montero and hurlers Tyler Melling and Lee Stoppelman.
The annual All-Star contest, pitting the NL’s best against the top American League prospects, will be held Tuesday, August 14 at Eastwood Field, home of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.
Two of the chosen Muckdogs, Wisdom and Stoppelman, are being recognized in their first 60 days as professionals. Both were collegians, with Wisdom having been selected in the first supplemental round and Stoppelman taken in the 24th this June. Valera, Montero and Melling all made appearances with the 2011 Appalachian League champions from Johnson City.
Valera is the youngest Muckdog, having turned 20 years of age just one week ago. The undrafted free agent signee in 2010 has played in 45 games and has been among the NYPL leaders in hitting all season. The switch-hitter currently ranks third in the league in hitting with a .332 batting average, and his 62 hits are tops. Valera was The Cardinal Nation’s 39th-ranked prospect coming into the 2012 season.
The right-handed hitting Wisdom is batting .278 with 27 runs scored, 10 doubles and 16 RBI in 41 games. The 21-year-old has received high marks for his defense and ranks first in the league with a .963 fielding percentage at third base, having committed only four errors.
Melling, the Cardinals 39th round selection from Miami (Ohio) University in 2011, is 2-1 with 31 strikeouts in eight starts. The left-hander's ERA of 2.27 is eighth-best in the NYPL and his 1.06 WHIP of 1.06 ranks 11th. He was named The Cardinal Nation Pitcher of the Month for July.
Stoppelman, 22, came out of Central Missouri State. The left-hander has appeared in his first 14 professional games out of the pen, logging a 2-1 record with a 1.16 ERA. In 23 1/3 innings, Stoppelman has struck out 26 and walked six. With opposing hitters having managed just 15 hits against him, they are batting a collective .174.
Montero, 21, an undrafted free agent signing in 2007, has started 33 games behind the plate this season. The right-handed hitter is batting .308 with six doubles, four home runs and 21 RBI. Montero has helped guide the Muckdogs’ pitching staff to a team ERA of 2.98, third-best in the league. Due to injury, Montero will be unable to participate in the All-Star Game.
2012 marks the fourth time in the last five years that the Muckdogs have sent at least five players to the All-Star Game. (St. Louis first affiliated with Batavia in 2007.) The Muckdogs had five all-stars in 2008, three in 2009, five in 2010, and six in 2011.
Last year’s selections included two fast risers as well as one disappointment. They are pitchers Seth Maness (now at Springfield), Todd McInnis (Palm Beach) and Jonathan Cornelius (Quad Cities), catcher Juan Castillo (Quad Cities) and infielders David Medina (Quad Cities) and Joey Bergman (released).
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Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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