SAUGET, Ill. – The Frontier League Professional Baseball is pleased to announce the rosters for the 2017 All-Star Game as hosted by the Joliet Slammers at Slammers Stadium located in downtown Joliet, Illinois on Wednesday, July 12, 2017.
Normal’s cornerstone first-baseman, Aaron Dudley has been voted to his third All-Star appearance since his arrival in Normal in 2013. Dudley has proven to be a dominant batter with a .332 career batting average over the course of his eight season career in the Frontier League. The slugger has had one-hundred and ten doubles and fifty-one homeruns.
Josh Allen of the Evansville Otter will be taking second base for the West All-Stars. This is Allen’s 3rd appearance at the Frontier League All-Star game (2014 and 2016). Allen is in his fourth season with the Otters. He helped the Otters to the playoffs in 2014 and helped the Otters to their Frontier League Championship last while winning the Morgan Burkhart Award as Frontier League Most Valuable Player season. In his Frontier League career, Josh is batting .303 in three-hundred and nine total games.
First year Freedom, Jose Brizuela will take the start at third base. Jose is in his first season in the Frontier League. Brizuela has been helping lead the bats for Florence with a .339 on the season in forty-five games. He also has ten homers, eleven doubles, three triples and forty-three runs batted-in. the Weston, Florida native has played in the Midwest League, California League, Arizona League and the New York-Penn League.
Santiago Chirino of the CornBelters will get the shortstop duties as he is also elected to his third all-star appearances in nine years (2013, 14, 16). Chirino too offers a great deal of batting support. Since 2013, Chirino has hit .312. Santiago hails from Punto Fijo, Venezuela
Evansville Otter Dane Phillips will take the duties as the backstop for the West All-Stars. Phillips earned Player of the Week on June 11, 2017. Phillips offers power as well as a leader for the West. Phillips is in his third season with the Otters. So far this season with 43 games, Phillips is batting .341 with fourteen doubles, twenty-nine RBI, and nine homers.
Gateway Grizzlie Blake Brown gets his first All-Star selection since coming to the Frontier League in 2015. Brown has been the leader of the Grizzlies so far this season with two games with multiple home runs. Brown will not be too far from his hometown in Joliet as his hometown is Bloomington, Illinois. Brown leads the Gateway charge with a .306 batting average and ten homers.
Evansville will have two starting outfielders in Jeff Gardner and John Schultz. Jeff Gardner now in his second season with the Otters returns as part of the 2016 Championship team. Gardner leads the Frontier League with twelve homeruns and six doubles. Gardner joined the Otters in 2016 after spending time with the Washington Nationals organization.
John Schultz takes the final spot in the West All-Stars lineup in the outfield. Schultz will bring more experience to the roster as this is his third All-Star appearance (2013, 15). Schultz is also a 2016 Frontier League Champion. John sits on a .347 average, with eleven doubles, a triple, four homers, twenty-eight runs and thirty-two RBI. Since 2013, Schultz has a .292 batting average.
West Division Additions– The 2016 Frontier League Champions Evansville will send Alejandro Segovia (1B), Max Duval (P) and Kyano Cummings (P). First place Florence Freedom will send a handful of their own to the All-Star game including Daniel Fraga (2B), Andre Murcurio (OF), Tony Vocca (P), Jordan Kraus (P), Cody Gray (P) and Marty Anderson (P). The River City Rascals will be represented by Josh Silver (3B) and Mike Jurgella (C). Craig Massey (SS) and John Werner (P) will make an appearance for the Southern Illinois Miners. Joining Dudley and Chirino for the CornBelters will be Craig Lepre (C) and Shawn Blackwell (P). The Gateway Grizzlies will be sending Mike Elwood to the join Blake Brown.
The Washington Wild Things proclaimed “Big Red Monster” Kane Sweeney will be the starting first-baseman for the East All-Stars. Sweeney on the season is batting .338 with fourteen doubles, a triple, six homers, twenty-nine runs and thirty-three RBI. Sweeney is in his first season with the Frontier League. From 2015-2016, Sweeney spent time in the New York Yankees organizations.
Three time 2017 Player of the Week, Schaumburg Boomer Seth Spivey will be taking second base for the East. Spivey currently leads the Frontier League with a .423 batting average as well as forty-five RBI. Spivey also has nine homers. Spivey has been the most consistent part of the Schaumburg offensive surge since the beginning of the season.
Joliet Slammer Danny Zardon will be the third-baseman for the East. Zardon who is also in his first season with the Frontier League will show some of his talents as he is batting .255, with eighteen runs, eight doubles, four homers and twenty-one RBI. Before coming to the Frontier League, Zardon spent 2016 and some of 2017 with the Philadelphia Phillies organization. In his short time this season, Zardon has without a doubt gained looks from the voters across the League.
Will Kengor of the Traverse City Beach Bums will get the nod at shortstop for the East All-Stars. Kengor gets his second All-Star appearance after being voted to the game last season. Kengor continues to be one of the most reliable hitters for the Beach Bums as he is hitting .325 with forty-two RBI, twenty runs scored and eight homers.
Larry Balkwill takes the helm at the catcher spot for the East All-Stars. Balkwill joined the ThunderBolts in 2015 and has had 142 total appearances. Balkwill’s defensive leadership and consistency in the offensive side of the ball has been the reason he was voted to this year’s All-Star team. He has appeared in forty-games this season with a .268 batting average with ten doubles, a triple, and seven homers,
Juan Silva will not have leave town to join his other Slammer teammates. Silva is in his first season with the Slammers. Silva has been part of the Reds and Mariners organization. Silva is batting .327 on the season including thirty runs, ten doubles, ten homers and thirty-five RBI.
Brailin Jackson will join fellow Wild Things teammate Kane Sweeney as the second outfielder for the East. Jackson, in his first season in the Frontier League is hitting .306 and has twenty-eight runs, thirty-three RBI, eight doubles, one triple and nine homers on the season.
David Harris will be the other outfielder for the East and that makes him the second starter for the Schaumburg Boomers. Harris was named the first Player of the Week of 2017. Harris continues to dominate his plate appearances with average of .323. He has twenty-four runs and thirty-four RBI.
East Division Additions– ThunderBolts will also send Kyle Wood (1B), Brian Loconsole (P) and Scott Kuzminsky (P) to the All-Star Game. Steven Patterson (2B) will join Kengor for the Beach Bums. Mike Hill (3B), Kyle Pollock (C), Rashad Brown (OF), Trevor Foss (P), Chase Cunningham (P) and Zach Strecker (P) will all be part of the Wild Things crew. The Lake Erie Crushers will be represented by Tanner Lubach (C), Jordan Kurokawa (P) and Chandler Jagodzinski (P). Chaz Meadows (SS) and Luis Cruz (P) will be the other Slammers joining the festivities. The first-place Boomers will also send Lars Liguori (P) and Alec Kenilvort (P).
All-Star festivities include (All times are central)
Monday: All-Star Parade, downtown at Harrah’s Casino Joliet, 6:00 pm
Tuesday: Frontier League Commissioner, Bill Lee Annual Golf Outing 8:00 am -2:00 pm
Home Run Derby 7:05 pm.
Wednesday: Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Luncheon 11:30 am
2017 Frontier League All-Star Game 7:00 pm
Tickets for all events are available by calling the Joliet Slammers Box Office at 815-722-2287.
About the Frontier League: The Frontier League is currently in its 25th season in 2017 and includes 12 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 32 former Frontier League players have played in the Major Leagues.
About the Joliet Slammers: The Joliet Slammers presented by ATI Physical Therapy play at the Slammers Stadium downtown Joliet, Illinois, and are members of the professional, independent Frontier League. The Frontier League is a 12-team league entering its 25th season of play in 2017. Visit the Slammers online at www.jolietslammers.com or call the ticket office at 815-722-2287 for more information! Don’t forget to “Like” the Slammers on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jolietslammers or follow them on Twitter at @jolietslammers!