August 30, 2011 - 10:58 AM
It's four years and counting for the Bisons in terms of failing to place anyone on the International League's postseason all-star team. The team was announced Tuesday morning and the Herd's only real candidate, first baseman/designated hitter Valentino Pascucci, was not named.
The last Buffalo all-star was Ben Francisco in 2007. The Herd had an impressive 21 all-stars in their 14 seasons with the Cleveland Indians but have had none in three years with the Mets, although Jesus Feliciano (2009), Dillon Gee (2010) and Pascucci, the current co-RBI leader with 91, all were likely close in balloting done by IL front office members, managers, coaches and media (Disclosure: I did have a vote).
The first baseman named was Indianapolis Matt Hague, who leads the league in hits (157) and games played (136). The DH who nosed Pascucci out was Scranton's Jorge Vazquez, who leads the league with 30 home runs. Pascucci's own pitchers could have helped here: Vazquez, a .260 hitter for the season, is batting .302 against the Bisons with nine -- yes, nine -- of his home runs in 14 games.
Durham third baseman Russ Canzler (.312-18-79) was named the league's MVP, following in the footsteps of Bulls teammate last season. It's the first time since 1984-85, when former Yankees prospects Scott Bradley and Dan Pasqua of Columbus were honored, that a team claimed back-to-back MVPs.
Gwinnett pitcher Julio Teheran (15-2, 2.22) was an easy choice as IL Pitcher of the Year and Rookie of the Year. Gwinnett also took rookie of the year last year with first baseman Freddie Freeman and Teheran is the first player to take the pitcher and rookie awards in the same year since Scranton's Brandon Duckworth in 2001.
The manager of the year was Columbus' Mike Sarbaugh, who has led the Cleveland affiliate to 85 wins and a clear chance to defend its Triple-A National Championship. Ah, what we have missed here the last two years. Had to be a lot of sentiment in the voting for Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg of Lehigh Valley, who has the IronPigs in the playoff hunt for the first time.
The full squad:
1B -- Matt Hague, Indianapolis
2B -- Jason Kipnis, Columbus
3B -- Russ Canzler, Durham
SS -- Zach Cozart, Louisville
C -- Devin Mesoraco, Louisville
OF -- Stefan Gartrell, Gwinnett; Alex Presley, Indianapolis; Dayan Viciedo, Charlotte
DH -- Jorge Vazquez, Scranton/WB
Utility -- Luis Valbuena, Columbus
Starter -- Julio Teheran, Gwinnett
Reliever -- Tim Wood, Indianapolis