The Frontier League is pleased to announce the first 24 players per division that have been voted into the 2015 Frontier League All-Star Game. The game will be held on Wednesday, July 15 in Schaumburg, Illinois, and is presented by Salvi, Schostok, and Pritchard, P.C.
For the visiting East Division team, Traverse City Beach Bums first baseman Yazy Arbelo will start at first base. The former Arizona Diamondbacks prospect is in his second season with the Beach Bums and has slugged five home runs and 24 RBI in 41 games in 2015. The 27-year old was a 26th round selection of Arizona in the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft out of Keystone College in LaPlume, PA.
Frank Martinez of the Southern Illinois Miners will start at second base. Martinez spent five seasons in the Oakland Athletics organization and owns a .393 on base percentage this season. This is his second season as a member of the Miners and his 4th overall in the Frontier League.
Traverse City third baseman Jose Vargas gets the nod at the hot corner for the East Team. The 2012 Frontier League MVP is in his 5th season with the Beach Bums after spending three seasons as a member of the Chicago White Sox organization. In 41 games this season Vargas has hit .322 with five home runs and 26 RBI. He was a 22nd round selection of the White Sox in the 2008 MLB Draft.
At shortstop will be Niko Vazquez of the Southern Illinois Miners. Vazquez is in his 3rd season in the Frontier League after five seasons in the St. Louis Cardinals system. He is in his second stint with Southern Illinois after also playing for the Gateway Grizzlies and the Joliet Slammers. He is currently hitting .287 with nine home runs and 40 RBI in 43 games in 2015.
Traverse City is also well represented in the outfield with Brandon Jacobs and Jay Austin earning starting nods along with Evansville Otters outfielder John Schultz.
At catcher will be Gaby Juarbe of the Florence Freedom. Juarbe is in his second season of professional baseball, both with Florence. He is currently hitting .347 with a .415 on base percentage.
Rounding out the East roster will be Florence Freedom second baseman Daniel Fraga; Evansville Otters third baseman and 2014 MVP Shayne Houck; Frontier Greys third baseman Brandon Tierney and catcher Julio Rodriguez; Washington Wild Things shortstop Austin Wobrock; Southern Illinois Miners outfielder Aaron Gates and catcher Toby DeMello.
The East pitching staff is led by Southern Illinois Miners’ hurlers Matt Bywater, who tossed a no-hitter on June 12, and Adam Lopez, who is tied for the lead with six victories and ranks second with a 1.52 ERA. Evansville’s Will Oliver and Trevor Walch and Washington’s Kyle Helisek, all of whom have ERAs under 2.00, and league co-leader in victories Ian MacDougall of Traverse City are the other starting pitchers on the East squad. Closers Andrew Brockett of Traverse City, who leads the league with 15 saves, and Edgar Lopez of Evansville, who is second with 13 saves and has yet to allow an earned run this season, will also be participating.
For the West team, Normal CornBelters’ first baseman Aaron Dudley earns the starting nod at first base. Dudley is a former member of the Miami Marlins organization and owns a .380 batting average and .479 on base percentage in 2015, leading the Frontier League in both categories.
Windy City ThunderBolts’ Michael Torres will start at second base. Torres will be playing in his 5th Frontier League All Star Game, all as a representative of the ThunderBolts. He is in his 6th season with Windy City and is hitting .310 in 41 games this season. Torres holds the Frontier League record for consecutive games played, appearing in 339 games from June 1, 2011 through July 29, 2014.
At third base will be River City Rascals’ Taylor Ard. Ard is in his second season with River City after spending three seasons in the Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks organization.
Patrick McKenna of the Normal CornBelters will start at shortstop. McKenna, an All Star in 2012 and 2013, is in his 4th season with Normal after spending time in the Detroit Tigers and San Diego Padres system. McKenna is hitting .318 with a .427 on base percentage this season.
In the outfield for the West will be Rockford Aviators’ Michael Hur, River City Rascals’ Curran Redal, and Normal CornBelters’ Mark Micowski. All three players are having stellar seasons for their respective teams, with each of them hitting above .300 so far this season.
The starting backstop for the West will be River City’s Josh Ludy. Ludy is appearing in his second consecutive All Star Game for the Rascals and has seven home runs and 21 RBI on the season. He is a former member of the Oakland Athletics and Philadelphia Phillies organizations.
River City also claims the starting DH for the West with Danny Canela getting the nod. Canela is in his second season with the Rascals after spending 2014 in the Chicago Cubs’ organization.
The remaining members of the West All Stars include Rockford Aviators’ first baseman Devon Rodriguez, and pitchers Tony Rizzotti, Kyle Hassna, and Kyle Brueggemann; Schaumburg Boomers’ second baseman Jordan Dean, catcher and two time Frontier League All Star Mike Valadez, and pitcher Eddie Cody; Normal CornBelters’ third baseman Richard Lucas and pitcher Race Parmenter; Gateway Grizzlies’ shortstop Rolando Gomez; River City Rascals’ outfielder Brian Hansen; Joliet Slammers’ catcher Jack Cleary and pitchers Kevin McNorton and Navery Moore; and Windy City ThunderBolts’ pitcher Travis Tingle.
The West pitching staff is led by a trio of Rockford starting pitchers. Tony Rizzotti has the lowest ERA this season with a 1.11 mark to go with a 5-0 record. Kyle Hassna, who is tied for the lead with six wins, and Kyle Brueggemann are also making the trip. Joliet’s Kevin McNotron brings a 1.98 ERA to the game, while Windy City’s Travis Tingle leads the league with a 45:6 strikeout-walk ratio and boasts a 5-1 record. The West relievers are Navery Moore from Joliet and Race Parmenter from Normal, who are currently tied for 5th in the league in saves.
Rosters were voted on by league managers, coaches, general managers, broadcasters and members of the media who cover each club. Players were nominated by their respective field managers to be placed on the ballot.
The teams in first place following play on Wednesday, July 6, will have their coaching staffs selected for the All-Star Game. These field managers will make the final three selections per division, which will be announced on Thursday, July 9.
More information on the All-Star Game and related events can be obtained by contacting the Schaumburg Boomers at 847-461-3695 or www.boomersbaseball.com.
The Frontier League is entering its 23rd season in 2015 and features 14 teams stretching from Pennsylvania to Missouri and from Kentucky to northern Michigan. The Frontier League annually advances the most players to MLB organizations of any of the independent leagues, and 27 former Frontier League players have played in the Major Leagues.