Stars gather for Annual Classic June 25 in Springdale

    5:12 PM, Jun 11, 2013   |    comments
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    SPRINGDALE, Ark. (TRAVELERS) - The rosters for the 2013 Texas League All Star Game have been released today and the Arkansas Travelers placed a league-high seven players on the North Division squad. First baseman C.J. Cron and catcher Jett Bandy were voted to start the game, which for the first time will be played at Arvest Ballpark in Springdale on June 25th.

    Second baseman Taylor Lindsey and outfielder Randal Grichuk were voted as reserves for the North team along with four pitchers; Brandon Hynick, Lay Batista, Kevin Johnson and Mike Piazza. Votes were cast by managers, beat writers and broadcasters from each Texas League city.

    Cron's steady bat has been an important factor in the Travs drive towards the end of the first half. His .299 batting average and 34 RBI are both team-leading totals as are his 69 base hits and 18 doubles. The Angels first pick in 2011 out of the University of Utah has collected at least one hit in 48 of 58 games played while committing just two errors at first base.

    Bandy's all-star nod adds credence to his stellar first half where he's caught in 41 of 61 games played by the Travs. It was expected that Bandy would split time at catcher, but with the suspension of Carlos Ramirez at the start of the season Bandy's playing time increased. The Travs own a 21-17 record with the Angels' 2011 31st round pick behind the plate. The 23-year old Bandy leads all Texas League catchers in caught stealing rate gunning down 40.5 percent of opposing base stealers.

    Lindsey, 21, and Grichuk have both recovered from slow starts to become two of the more dominant hitters in the Texas League. On May 7th the batting averages were nearly identical for the two first-round choices at .181 for Lindsey and .182 for Grichuk. In the 30 games played since May 8th, Lindsey ranks third in the Texas League in OPS (1.047), batting average (.359) and base hits (42) while posting the second-highest slugging percentage (.641). Grichuk, 21, is right behind Lindsey with the TL's eighth-best OPS (1.004) and fourth-best slugging percentage (.633).

    Lindsey, the 37th overall pick in 2010, currently holds a .278/.329/.491 slash line with a team-high 10 home runs and 29 RBI after posting two triples and his second home run in as many games last night. Grichuk, the 24th overall selection of the 2009 draft, is batting .256/.309/.478 with eight home runs, 24 RBI, 11 doubles and five triples.

    Hynick, who gets the start Tuesday night at Northwest Arkansas, joined the Travs after a three-week stint at extended spring training due to an oblique strain. After initially struggling in two starts, Hynick has become one of the more dependable starters in the Texas League and currently holds the league's tenth-lowest ERA at 3.40. His four wins and 2.18 ERA in his last seven starts rank fourth-best amongst TL pitchers since May 1. The 28-year old from North Royalton, Ohio, signed with the Angels as a free agent in November 2011.

    Batista leads the Travs with 11 games started and 59.1 innings pitched out of the rotation. The 23-year old from Santiago, Dominican Republic owns a 3-5 record with a 4.10 ERA. He allows the fifth-lowest batting average amongst Texas League starting pitchers (.243) and has a 2.4 K/BB ratio (45 K/19 BB).

    Piazza, 26, gets his first all Texas League all star nod in a season that has seen him bounce between the bullpen and starting rotation. After starting Monday's 6-5 loss at NW Arkansas, Piazza is 2-2 with a 4.13 ERA in 14 appearances including eight starts. The Florida Tech product who signed as a free agent with the Angels in 2009 is holding batters to a .205 average when working in relief.

    Johnson, 24, currently ranks third in the Texas League with eight saves although he has been without a save chance since May 16. In 22 appearances Johnson has been one of the Travs' relief workhorses with 26.2 innings pitched and a 2.70 ERA. The Angels' 20th round choice in 2010 has blown just one save chance and has walked just six batters while striking out 15.

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