Both the Eastern Division and Western Division will have 24 players in the annual Eastern League mid-summer classic with the Western Division serving as the home team since the game is being hosted in Altoona. Between the two rosters, there are a combined four former first-round picks, five of the Top-100 prospects according to Baseball America entering 2014, five of the MLB.com Top-100 prospects entering 2014 and eight players that have been selected to participate in the 2014 SiriusXM Futures Game in Minnesota on July 13.
Headlining the Western Division roster is Akron’s shortstop and the No. 1 overall prospect in the Indians’ system according to Baseball America in Francisco Lindor. Lindor, 20, had a brief stint with Akron at the end of 2013 before beginning this season back in the Rubber City. He’ll be joined on the roster by teammates Shawn Armstrong and Joe Colon.
Also making a splash on the Western Division roster will be a few of the league’s best home run hitters in Steven Moya (Erie), Christian Walker (Bowie) and Michael A. Taylor (Harrisburg). Walker, a fourth-round pick in 2012, Taylor, a sixth-round selection in 2009, and Moya, a non-drafted free agent signed in 2008, are all among the top three in the league in home runs.
For the home squad, Curve fans will get to see six members of the team partake in this year’s All-Star Stop with RHP Adrian Sampson leading the way. Sampson (No. 27 BA), who has been among the league-leaders in ERA all season, will be joined on the team by reliever Ryan Beckman, catcher Elias Diaz, outfielder Willy Garcia (No. 14 BA), shortstop Alen Hanson (No. 6 BA) and IF/OF Drew Maggi. It’s the first career All-Star nod for Beckman, Diaz, Garcia, Maggi and Sampson while it’s the third in the career of Hanson, who was selected to the mid-season All-Star team in 2012 (South Atlantic League) and 2013 (Florida State League).
“As a franchise, we’re honored to host the 2014 Eastern League All-Star Stop,” said Curve GM Rob Egan. “To have many of the best players in the world in our ballpark and community is a rare treat. We look forward to a great two-day event that fans will enjoy and remember for a long time to come.”
From the Eastern Division, fans will get a look at some of the top talents in the league from the circuit’s best team, the Portland Sea Dogs, with LHP Henry Owens, C Blake Swihart, LHP Brian Johnson, IF Sean Coyle and IF/OF Derrik Gibson all named to the team. Owens entered the campaign as the second-best prospect in the Red Sox’ system according to Baseball America and currently leads all of MiLB in wins with 12 (which is also tied with Masahiro Tanaka for the lead in all of pro baseball). He leads the Eastern League in ERA (2.21), complete games (three), strikeouts (111) and WHIP (1.03).
Joining the Red Sox farmhands on the team will be Yankees catching prospect Gary Sanchez, who has spent the entire season with Double-A Trenton. Sanchez entered the 2014 season as the top prospect in the Yankees’ system according to Baseball America. He will be joined by teammates Ben Gamel, Peter O’Brien, who ranks among the leaders in the Minor Leagues in home runs with 25 (third in all of MiLB) at the time of release, and LHP Matt Tracy.
Of the 48 total players, eight of them will be taking part in the Futures Game as mentioned above. Those eight players are: Dariel Alvarez, Coyle, Lindor, Moya, O’Brien, Owens, Taylor and Kennys Vargas.
Curve manager Carlos Garcia and his staff will manage the Western Division squad in the game while Trenton Thunder skipper Tony Franklin and his staff will manage the Eastern Division squad after representing the Eastern Division in last year’s Eastern League Championship (which they won). Players participating in the Home Run Derby portion of the Ghostman Games & Hitting Challenge will be announced closer to the event.
The All-Star Clash will be broadcast live on WTAJ-TV locally in the Altoona-Johnstown market.
--Altoona Curve Media Relations
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