The Triple-A All-Star Game is coming to Columbus next month and the hometown crowd will have some familiar faces to cheer on during the contest on Wednesday, July 11, from the Ohio capital.
The International League announced on Wednesday its roster for the annual exhibition, held this season at Huntington Park in Columbus. Catcher Francisco Mejia and outfielder Brandon Barnes will represent the Clippers, playing for Columbus manager Chris Tremie and his coaching staff against the best from the Pacific Coast League.
Tremie will lead the International League in the “home game” against the PCL with his staff, including bench coach Bobby Magallanes, pitching coach Steve Karsay, and hitting coach Johnny Narron.
Mejia, the 22-year-old switch-hitting catcher and top prospect of the Cleveland Indians’ organization, has rebounded nicely from a slow start to his season to earn his third straight mid-season All-Star selection and the fourth of his professional career. He has also participated each of the last two seasons in Major League Baseball’s All-Star Futures Game.
After hitting just .187 in 21 April contests and .192 in 22 games in May, Mejia has hit .419 in the month of June in 21 games, around a brief call-up to Cleveland at the beginning of the month. He has put up multiple hits in 15 games this month alone and has been held without a hit just twice in June. He opened the month by wrapping up a ten-game hitting streak, then put together an eight-gamer, and entered the day on Thursday with five straight two-hit games to his credit. Defensively, he has played errorless baseball on the year, working largely behind the plate, but also seeing a chunk of time in left field along with one appearance in right.
Barnes, 32, was signed by the Indians organization in the offseason after spending all of last season at Triple-A New Orleans (Miami Marlins affiliate). A veteran of five big league seasons with the Houston Astros and Colorado Rockies, Barnes has appeared in 71 games this season for the Clippers, slashing .288/.353/.496 entering the day on Thursday. He is among the league leaders in hitting, as well as in hits (76), homers (9), RBI (49), and run scored (41). He leads the International League in doubles with 24. It marks the first time in Barnes’ pro career that he has been named to a mid-season All-Star team.
The All-Star Game between the International League and Pacific Coast League will be preceded by the Triple-A Home Run Derby & Skills Competition, presented by Crush, set to take place at 6:00 PM ET on Monday, July 9, from Huntington Park.
Had it not been for call-ups to the Majors, the Clippers may have had a pair of additions to the roster in starting pitchers Shane Bieber and Adam Plutko. Bieber was 3-1 in seven starts for the Clippers before finding a regular spot in the Cleveland rotation. With Columbus, he posted a 1.38 ERA and a 0.70 WHIP with 42 strikeouts and just five walks in 45 2/3 innings. He threw a seven-inning no-hitter against Gwinnett earlier this season. Plutko remains the team leader in wins with five against his three losses. In nine starts, he has earned a 1.83 ERA and a 0.68 WHIP with 48 strikeouts and ten walks in 59 innings of work. He completed a nine-inning no-hitter against Syracuse in between call-ups to the Indians. He is part of the Indians rotation now and has served in the Cleveland bullpen briefly as well.
Yandy Diaz was also a tough miss from the IL roster. The corner infielder has put up a .297/.431/.384/ slash at the plate with 16 doubles, a homer, and 21 RBI on the season heading into the day Thursday. He leads the league in walks with 52 and OBP with his .431 mark.
Toledo led all International League clubs with four selections. The full roster by position is as follows:
INTERNATIONAL LEAGUE ALL-STARS
- Kolby Allard (Gwinnett)
- Jalen Beeks (Pawtucket)
- Ryan Brasier (Pawtucket)
- Cody Carroll (Scranton/Wilkes-Barre)
- Enyel De Los Santos (Lehigh Valley)
- Ian Gibaut (Durham)
- Cole Irvin (Lehigh Valley)
- Dovydas Neverauskas (Indianapolis)
- Evan Phillips (Gwinnett)
- Kevin Quackenbush (Louisville)
- Tanner Rainey (Louisville)
- Donn Roach (Charlotte)
- Thyago Vieira (Charlotte)
- Jimmy Yacabonis (Norfolk)
- 3B Drew Dosch (Norfolk)
- 3B Brandon Drury (Scranton/Wilkes-Barre)
- 1B Carlos Franco (Gwinnett)
- 3B Jason Leblebijian (Buffalo)
- 1B Joey Meneses (Lehigh Valley)
- SS Kevin Newman (Indianapolis)
- SS Ronny Rodriguez (Toledo)
- 3B Jacob Wilson (Syracuse)
- 2B Kean Wong (Durham)
- Jim Adduci (Toledo)
- Brandon Barnes (Columbus)
- Christopher Bostick (Indianapolis)
- Rusney Castillo (Pawtucket)
- Christin Stewart (Toledo)
- DJ Stewart (Norfolk)
- Designated Hitter
- Chad Huffman (Toledo)
The Pacific Coast League is expected to announce its roster sometime during the day on Thursday.