Atlantic League All-Star Game Preview

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After a couple of days off following this past weekend’s action, baseball in the Atlantic League once again takes center stage tonight when the All-Star Game takes place at Constellation Field in Sugar Land, Texas. It’s the first time in the league’s 17-year history that the game will be played in Texas, and it also marks a change in format, as a team of Atlantic League All-Stars, comprised of players from seven of the league’s eight teams, takes on the host Sugar Land Skeeters. Tonight will be the first time since the Atlantic League’s inaugural season of 1998 in which that format has occurred. That year, the Atlantic City Surf defeated the ALPB All-Stars 6-4 in Atlantic City. Prior to the game, there will also be a Home Run Derby featuring four current Atlantic Leaguers.

Fans who wish to follow all of the action from All-Star Wednesday can do so on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. They will be providing live coverage from Constellation Field throughout the night.

CLICK HERE to watch coverage of the Home Run Derby, which begins at 6:45 p.m. EDT
CLICK HERE to watch coverage of the All-Star Game, which begins at 8:00 p.m. EDT

The Home Run Derby before Wednesday’s All-Star Game will be the first held since 2011. That year, Matt Esquivel of the Ducks took home the title in his former home ballpark (Sovereign Bank Stadium in York). Former Somerset Patriot Josh Pressley edged out Ducks great Ray Navarrete in the 2010 Derby at the Duck Pond. Here are this year’s Home Run Derby participants:

Lew Ford – Long Island Ducks (11 HR in 2014)
Cole Garner – Lancaster Barnstormers (17 HR in 2014)
Corey Smith – Somerset Patriots (8 HR in 2014)
Tracy McGrady – Sugar Land Skeeters (0 HR in 2014 – Pitcher)

Here are some keys that you should be keeping an eye on tonight in both the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game:

Player of the Year Race: This year’s All-Star Game, as well as the Home Run Derby, will feature the top two players in the Atlantic League thus far in 2014. Lew Ford of the Ducks and Cole Garner of Lancaster have both been outstanding since Opening Day and are in a dogfight for both the Atlantic League Triple Crown and Player of the Year honors. Here’s where they stand among the league leaders:

Statistic

Lew Ford

Cole Garner

Batting Average

.363 (2nd)

.342 (3rd)

Home Runs

11 (3rd)

17 (1st)

RBI

60 (1st)

57 (2nd)

Runs

59 (2nd)

44 (T-6th)

Hits

106 (T-1st)

95 (3rd)

Doubles

19 (T-4th)

22 (2nd)

Total Bases

160 (2nd)

172 (1st)

Games Played

76 (1st)

69 (T-7th)

On-Base Percentage

.436 (2nd)

.367 (T-9th)

Slugging Percentage

.548 (2nd)

.619 (1st)

 

Postseason Bound Stars: The Atlantic League All-Star team will feature seven members of the First Half Champions this year. The York Revolution lead the way with four selections, including three on the infield. First baseman Johan Limonta, second baseman Eric Patterson and shortstop Wilson Valdez were all chosen, along with relief pitcher Rommie Lewis. The Somerset Patriots had three players chosen, including catcher Adam Donachie, infielder Corey Smith and starting pitcher Matt Zielinski. These seven have all earned guaranteed postseason berths and will be looking to show the rest of the league what they can do before the playoffs begin.

All They Do Is Win: Two members of the Atlantic League All-Star team have the two highest win totals in the league this year. Chris Schwinden of Lancaster has nine wins on the season to just one loss. Those nine victories are tied with John Brownell of the Ducks for the most in the Atlantic League. Shaun Garceau of the Ducks is also on the All-Star team and has eight victories to just two losses. Schwinden also holds the league lead in ERA at 2.80 while Garceau is third in innings pitched with 95.1 and fourth in strikeouts with 71.

McGrady in the Spotlight: Tracy McGrady will be front and center at this year’s midsummer classic. The seven-time NBA All-Star is currently in his first season of professional baseball as a member of the Sugar Land Skeeters and has been chosen to start the game despite having an 0-2 record with a 6.75 ERA in four starts. In addition, although he is a pitcher, he was selected to be one of the four representatives in the Home Run Derby. This could be an opportunity for McGrady to showcase himself before thousands of fans along with scouts and baseball representatives in attendance.

So fans, don’t forget to tune into ESPN3 on your computer or download the WatchESPN app on your mobile device. If you are unable to follow along on either of those, there will also be a live pitch-by-pitch account of the game via Pointstreak, which you can view by CLICKING HERE or by downloading the Pointstreak app on your mobile device. Enjoy the festivities!

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Posted on July 16, 2014, in Feature Articles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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