WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.—Coming into Tuesday night's Carolina-California League All-Star Game, the California League squad was the one with the prospect cachet. From Cory Spangenberg to George Springer, Tyler Matzek to Rymer Liriano and Miles Head to Andrew Chafin, the Cal League club was filled with elite prospects.
But the Carolina League club got elite performances by some lesser-known prospects and plenty of good pitching on its way to an easy 9-1 win at Winston-Salem's BB&T Ballpark.
Salem first baseman Travis Shaw (Red Sox) was named the Carolina League's star of the game. Shaw went 1-for-2 with two runs scored and 2 RBIs thanks in large part to his massive two-run home run that landed high up on the walkway beyond the right-field fence. Bakersfield shortstop Billy Hamilton (Reds) was named the California League's Star of the game, which illustrates just how difficult the game was for the Cal League all-stars. Hamilton went 1-for-5, striking out in his final three at-bats. But he did lead off the top of the first with a bunt single, followed by steals of second and third before scoring on a ground out. That proved to be the California League's only run of the game.
The California League's first hit to reach the outfield didn't happen until High Desert third baseman Brad Miller (Mariners) doubled in the eighth inning. Six different Carolina League pitchers held the Cal League hitless during their short stints. Frederick's Dylan Bundy (Orioles) was unsurprisingly efficient as he struck out two of the four batters he faced. Carolina righthander Shawn Armstrong (Indians) is much less prominent, but he was equally effective. The Mudcats closer struck out both of the batters he faced thanks to a nasty 93-95 mph fastball.
• Righthander Sugar Ray Marimon (Royals) was awarded the win. He was one of only three pitchers to work a completely clean full inning. Marimon's Wilmington teammate righty Yordano Ventura (Royals) showed the best velocity of the night. While Bundy sat 95-96, touching 98 mph, Ventura sat at 97 mph for his one inning of work, touching 98 on the Baseball America Stalker radar gun.
• Lake Eslinore outfielder Rico Noel (Padres) is second to Hamilton in all the minors with 46 steals. The former Coastal Carolina star led Division I in stolen bases in 2009 and 2010, and he got a chance to show off his speed after walking against Ventura in the fifth. Noel quickly stole second and also nabbed third, but he was stranded there. Noel also got a chance to show off a solid arm when making a throw to third.
• In addition to getting a hit in his only at-bat, High Desert's Brad Miller (Mariners) got a chance to show off his versatility. Miller has played shortstop in every game as a pro, but he played the all-star game at third base when California League manager David Newhan decided to keep Hamilton at shortstop for the entire game.
Miller wasn't the only player playing off of his normal position. Miles Head (Athletics) has been converted to third base by the Athletics, but he played first base for the entire game, getting one hit in four at-bats. Head hadn't played first base since May 5, and a little rust showed as he committed an error when he dropped a catchable throw by LHP Tyler Matzek (Rockies).
• Matzek was the victim of Shaw's mammoth home run. It was the only hit that Matzek gave up, as he also was victimized by Head's error which turned the home run into a two-run shot. Matzek sat at 91-92 mph in his inning of work, getting a pair of strikeouts.
• Lake Elsinore outfielder Rymer Liriano (Padres) only got one at-bat as a late-inning replacement, but he almost got more than he bargained for in the ninth inning. While standing in the on-deck circle, Liriano was nailed by a foul line drive off the bat of Hamilton with two outs in the final inning. Liriano, who has the frame of an NFL linebacker, shrugged off the liner, then jokingly pointed to the field and told Hamilton to hit it that way the next time.
• Lancaster outfielder George Springer (Astros) got to show off his power during the pre-game home run derby. While he didn't advance to the finals, Springer did hit several of the longest home runs of the derby. In the game he also got to show off his speed as he stole a base after reaching on a walk. Springer went 0-for-3 with a walk.
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