Clippers Trio Selected for International League All-Star Team
Bob Toth | On 30, Jun 2016
The All-Star nods continue to flow in for the Cleveland Indians organization as on Wednesday morning, three members of the Triple-A Columbus Clippers joined their manager on the International League All-Star team.
Shortstop Erik Gonzalez, starting pitcher Mike Clevinger, and reliever Shawn Armstrong were named to the team after strong showings through the first three months of the 2016 season. They will be coached by their own Chris Tremie, who was previously named the manager of the team.
All three prospects are on the Indians 40-man roster. Both Clevinger and Armstrong have made appearances for Cleveland this season.
Gonzalez, 24, is in his eighth season in the Indians farm system after debuting as a 17-year-old in the Dominican Summer League. In his second season at the Triple-A level, he has bounced back after a rough debut with the Clippers in 2015 (.223/.277/.311) and has provided solid punch to the Columbus lineup. Prior to play on Wednesday, he had a .298/.332/.422 slash with 19 doubles, a triple, five homers, and 37 RBI through 71 games. After spending the last two minor league seasons working exclusively as a shortstop, he has mixed in some time around the field this year, spending a few games in the outfield in center and right while also logging innings at second and third base. Throughout his professional career, he has played every position but catcher and pitcher and has a .953 career fielding percentage at short, including a .957 mark this season.
This will be his third midseason All-Star Game appearance, after making similar squads in 2010 in the Dominican League and 2014 while with the Carolina Mudcats of the Carolina League. He was an MiLB.com Organization All-Star in each of the last three seasons.
Clevinger, 25, is in his third season in the Indians organization after being acquired from the Los Angeles Angels in the Vinnie Pestano trade in 2014. He is a former fourth round pick of the Angels in 2011.
Clevinger was a perfect 5-0 on the season when he was promoted to the Indians rotation in May. He struggled in three appearances, posting an 8.79 ERA and 1.60 WHIP in those starts, giving up 14 runs in 14 1/3 innings, striking out 13 and walking seven.
In the minors, the right-hander has yet to earn a loss, posting a 7-0 record with a 2.81 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 12 starts, including one complete game, in his first season at Triple-A. He has struck out 70 batters, walked 27, and allowed 49 hits in 64 innings of work. He has put up some of his best numbers of the season this month, despite earning wins in just two of his five starts. He is 2-0 with a 2.54 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in those games with 34 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings.
Armstrong, also 25, was an 18th round draft pick by the Indians out of East Carolina in 2011. He made his Major League debut in 2015, appearing in eight games with a 2.25 ERA and 0.88 WHIP, striking out eleven batters and walking two in eight innings.
He is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA and 1.36 WHIP this season for the Clippers, pitching in 27 games and logging 28 innings. He has struck out 43 batters this season, but has walked more batters (22) than he has allowed hits (16). He has saved all four opportunities that he has had this season from the Columbus bullpen.
He has also made one appearance for the Indians this season, allowing one run on two hits in an inning of work.
The Harris Teeter & Tide+ Triple-A Home Run Derby presented by Clariant will take place on Monday, July 11. Jesus Aguilar was the last Clippers player to participate in the contest, joining the six-man group in each of the last two seasons.
The Sonic Automotive Triple-A All-Star Game between the International League and Pacific Coast League teams will be on Wednesday, July 13, from BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte, North Carolina, home of the Chicago White Sox affiliate, the Charlotte Knights. Game time is scheduled for 7:05 PM.
Photo: Eric Albrecht/The Columbus Dispatch