Northwest League All-Stars Announced

The Northwest League announced its all-star team yesterday and the Boise Hawks (Cubs) filled out the roster at four different positions including the unanimous selection of Josh Vitters at third base.  There could have been more too, as outfielder Drew Rundle, who led the league in slugging, didn’t make the cut. Eugene Emeralds outfielder Dan Robertson (Padres) was chosen as the league’s MVP and Tim Hulett, who had a 12-year big league career with the White Sox, Orioles and Cardinals, was the manager of the year for the Spokane Indians (Rangers).

Everett backstop Travis Howell (Mariners) was selected as the catcher. Howell, an 18th-round pick out of Long Beach State hit .297/.403/.426 for the AquaSox this year. At first base was another 33rd-rounder, Salem-Keizer’s Mike Loberg. Loberg hit .295/.356/.467 with 13 doubles and eight home runs. The rest of the infield was filled out with Boise Hawks. Sixth-round pick Josh Harrison is the second baseman. Harrison, the highest-drafted player out of Cincinnati since Kevin Youkilis, was a sixth-round pick for the Cubs. He followed up a hot spring with the Bearcats by hitting .303/.382/.421 between the Northwest League and the Midwest League. Ryan Flaherty, a supplemental first-round pick out of Vanderbilt, was voted the league’s best shortstop after hitting .307/.384/.538 on the year. Third baseman Josh Vitters was the team’s only unanimous selection. Vitters, the third-overall pick in last year’s draft, hit .328/.364/.496 over 244 at-bats in the Northwest League this year.

Despite being the league’s only unanimous selection, Vitters was not dubbed the league MVP. That honor goes to Eugene left fielder Dan Robertson. Robertson is small–listed at 5-foot-8, 175 pounds–but the Padres’ 33rd-round draft pick out of Oregon State has been carrying a big stick. Over 279 at-bats, Robertson hit .373/.441/.487, leading the league in both batting average and on-base percentage. He also stole 20 bases in 26 attempts. The other outfield selections went to Tri-City center fielder Charlie Blackmon (Rockies) who hit .333/.388/458 for the Dust Devils and Eugene center fielder Sawyer Carroll who hit .299/.403/.548 for the Emeralds before earning a promotion to the Midwest League.

Tri-City pitcher Kenny Durst was selected as the league’s best lefthanded starting pitcher. Durst was the Rockies’ 15th-round selection last year out of West Virginia and went 4-4 on the season with a 3.34 ERA, 60 strikeouts and 11 walks over 62 innings. Wilfredo Boscan of the Spokane Indians (Rangers) was chosen as the league’s best righthanded starting pitcher. Boscan is an 18-year-old out of Venezuela with big-time stuff that helped him go 8-1 with a 3.32 ERA, 66 strikeouts and 11 walks over 62 1/3 innings. There was a tie for the league’s best lefthanded reliever between Spokane’s Tim Murphy (Rangers) and Eugene’s Rob Musgrave (Padres). Murphy, a third-round pick out of UCLA, fanned 40 NWL batters over 32  2/3 innings and was recently promoted to Clinton in the Midwest League. Musgrave came out of Wichita State and has struck out 61 batters over just 40 innings. He was really torching the league, maintaining a sub-2.00 ERA on Aug. 22, before hitting a rough patch the past few days that caused his ERA to balloon to a still-respectable 3.38. Vancouver’s Jose Guzman was selected as the league’s best righthanded reliever. Guzman struck out 33 batters over 32 innings and was tied for the league-lead in saves with 13.

Spokane’s Tim Hulett is in his second year managing the Indians. Last year, they went 33-42 and this year his team has the best record in the Northwest League at 47-23 with six games left to play.


Northwest League All-Stars
Travis Howell C Everett AquaSox (Mariners)
Mike Loberg 1B SAlem-Keizer Volcanoes (Giants)
Josh Harrison 2B Boise Hawks (Cubs)
Josh Vitters 3B Boise Hawks (Cubs)
Ryan Flaherty SS Boise Hawks (Cubs)
Dan Robertson OF

Eugene Emeralds (Padres)

Charlie Blackmon OF Tri-City Dust Devils (Rockies)
Sawyer Carroll OF Eugene Emeralds (Padres)
Kenny Durst LHSP Tri-City Dust Devils (Rockies)
Wilfredo Boscan RHSP Spokane Indians (Rangers)
Tim Murphy LHRP Spokane Indians (Rangers)
Rob Musgrave LHRP Eugene Emeralds (Padres)
Jose Guzman RHRP Vancouver Canadians (Athletics)
Dan Robertson MVP Eugene Emeralds (Padres)
Tim Hulett Manager Spokane Indians (Rangers)