Former Bison Mike Hessman, who tortured the Herd and the fences at Coca-Cola Field while playing for the Richmond Braves in the early 2000s and then starred for Buffalo in 2010, is among the headline names elected to the Pacific Coast League team today for the July 11 Triple-A All-Star Game.
Hessman, the first baseman, is batting .281 with a PCL-leading 23 homers and 50 RBIs for the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the top affiliate of the Houston Astros. He hit .274 with 18 homers and 58 RBIs in just 64 games for the Bisons in 2010, in a season limited by injuries and a 32-game callup to the New York Mets. Hessman, 34, played last year in Japan.
As previously announced, the manager for the PCL will be Las Vegas' Marty Brown -- who managed the Bisons from 2003-05 and led Buffalo to the 2004 Governors' Cup championship. Brown's starting infield will include Hessman, two top Arizona prospects from Reno in second baseman Jake Elmore (PCL-high .390 batting average) and third baseman Ryan Wheeler (PCL-leading 72 RBIs), and Las Vegas shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, a top Toronto prospect.
The starting outfield consists of Reno’s Adam Eaton (.388), Colorado Springs' Andrew Brown and 21-year-old Wil Myers of Omaha (Kansas City), who has 12 homers, 35 RBIs and a .638 slugging percentage in 40 games since getting promoted from Double-A.
The PCL starting pitcher will be 27-year-old right-hander Graham Godfrey of the Sacramento River Cats (Oakland), who is 7-0 with perfect 7-0 with a 2.18 ERA in 11 starts after going 14-3 for the Cats last year. Oddly enough, however, Godfrey is just 1-6 in eight starts with Oakland the last two years, including 0-4, 6.43 this season in five outings.
Also elected were catcher Tim Federowicz and relief pitcher Josh Wall of Albuquerque, designated hitter Luis Jimenez of Tacoma, and starting pitcher Eric Hacker and relief pitcher Heath Hembree of Fresno. The most well-known reserve is Reno reliever Jonathan Albaladejo, who has spent time with the New York Yankees. The official PCL release with the entire roster is here. Joining Brown on the PCL staff are two former Bisons: Hitting coach Russ Morman of Fresno and pitching coach Blaise Ilsley of Memphis.
Click here for today's story on the International League team, which features Bisons Matt Harvey, Valentino Pascucci and Fernando Cabrera.