Akron to Send Five to Eastern League All-Star Game

The Eastern League announced on Friday its rosters for its annual pairing of the best from the Eastern and Western Divisions, and there will be plenty of recognizable names making the trip to Trenton, New Jersey.

A star-studded lineup, including several sons of former Major Leaguers and former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow will comprise the rosters of the two squads, set to meet at the home of the Trenton Thunder on Wednesday, July 11, at 7 PM ET.

The biggest of the names will suit up for the Eastern Division club.

The Akron RubberDucks had five players selected to the Eastern League Western Division team, including starting pitcher Jake Paulson, shorstop Willi Castro, third baseman Joe Sever, and outfielders Andrew Calica and Connor Marabell.

Paulson, a 26-year-old 6’7” right-hander, started the season with the Lynchburg Hillcats, making four starts there before being promoted to Akron at the start of May. In ten starts and one relief appearance for the RubberDucks, he has gone 4-3 with a 2.71 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP in 63 innings of work, with 54 strikeouts and 15 walks at the time of his All-Star announcement.

Paulson was a 27th round pick by the Cincinnati Reds in the 2014 draft out of Oakland. He joined the Indians organization prior to the season. It is his first career All-Star nod.

Castro, a member of the parent Cleveland Indians’ 40-man roster, is in his first season of work at the Double-A level. The 21-year-old Puerto Rican middle infielder is in his fifth season in the Tribe organization and will be on his third straight midseason All-Star team, after making appearances in 2016 while with Class-A Lake County and in 2017 while with High-A Lynchburg.

In his first 72 games prior to the announcement of the All-Star rosters, the switch-hitting Castro was slashing .257/.321/.346 with 17 doubles, one triple, two homers, and 29 RBI. He has stolen eleven bases in 14 attempts this year.

Sever will appear in his second career All-Star Game and his first since being named a midseason All-Star with the short-season Mahoning Valley Scrappers in 2012, his first season of professional ball. Now in his seventh season in the organization, the 27-year-old is putting up a .293/.338/.431 slash through his first 70 games (as of June 28) with 21 doubles, six homers, and 45 RBI.

Sever, the nephew of National Football League Hall of Famer John Elway, was a 21st round draft pick by the Indians in 2012 out of Pepperdine University.

Calica will make his second All-Star appearance of his professional career after previously appearing the New York-Penn League All-Star Game in 2016. The 24-year-old out of California has already been recognized this season for his play on the field, winning the Eastern League’s Player of the Week Award early in June. Through his first 63 games this season, he is putting up a .296/.405/.422 slash at the plate with 14 doubles, five homers, and 33 RBI. He is 16-for-18 stealing bases on the year while serving the RubberDucks at all three outfield spots in his first season of work at the Double-A level.

The third-year pro was a 17th round draft pick out of high school by the Indians in 2012, but he did not sign. The Indians called his name again in the eleventh round of the 2016 draft, after his time at UC Santa Barbara.

Marabell, 24, was taken the season before his outfield teammate Calica. A 25th round draft pick out of Jacksonville University in Florida, he has put up a .278/.333/.441 line at the plate through his first 64 games with 12 doubles, two triples, eight homers, and 42 RBI.

Marabell is in his fourth season in the Indians organization and is in his second season of work with the ‘Ducks after appearing in eleven games for the club last season. He spent the bulk of last season at High-A Lynchburg and also worked in five games at Triple-A Columbus. This will be his first midseason All-Star Game appearance; he was named a post-season All-Star in the Midwest League in 2016 while playing for the Lake County Captains.

A pair of former Indians minor league prospects – Bowie catcher Martin Cervenka and Richmond outfielder Luigi Rodriguez – will also participate in the All-Star Game for the Western Division club. Cervenka signed with the San Francisco Giants in the offseason as a minor league free agent, then was claimed by Baltimore in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft. This is his first season of work at the Double-A level. Rodriguez, who signed with the Giants as a free agent after last season, was the leading hitter in the Western Division at the time of the announcement. He had spent parts of the last two seasons at Akron.

Among the big names in the contest on the Eastern Division side of the slate include a trio of Toronto prospects – Bo Bichette (son of former big leaguer Dante Bichette), Cavan Biggio (son of 2015 MLB Hall of Famer Craig Biggio), and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (son of 2018 Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero), who all play for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. The outfielder Tebow will represent the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, the Double-A affiliate of the New York Mets.

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