MIKE HESSMAN, HOME RUN KING
The Triple-A All Star Game rewards players who have had a particularly notable first half of the season. Participants are selected for a combination of production at the Minor League level and for the faintest glimmer of prospect status. The former qualification results in the addition of players of a slightly older demographic. Players whose names make you spit out whatever craft beer you have in your mouth while you have heatflash nightmares of top prospect lists from 2006. These are players whom you know not because you want to know them, but because sometime in the past they forced their way into our consciousness. The Triple-A All Star Game is not designed for these players, but screw that. We decided to pick our own Triple-A All Star Game rosters based on nothing but name recognition and derp-factor.
Rules: We each had to compile a 25-man roster using players from our respective leagues (I did the International League, and Jordan did the Pacific Coast League), and present a starting lineup. Unlike the actual all-star games which require one player from each team to be represented, we chose the best 25 names we could find.
by Jake Mintz
C – Ronny Paulino (DET/Toledo): There is not a single player in the history of Major League Baseball who sounds more like a character on Jersey Shore than Ronny Paulino. Ronny Paulino struck out 4 times in 7 plate appearances against Jason Isringhausen.
1B – Dan Johnson (TOR/Buffalo): Yes. This is that Dan Johnson. We all owe Dan Johnson for being an important part of the greatest night MLB has ever seen. What we can learn from him, however, is that a guy who hits a clutch home run after hitting .119 all year was hitting .119 for a reason.
2B – Mike Fontenot (TB/Durham): Mike Fontenot is still the reason Mike Fontenot gets up every morning. Mike Fontenot is 0-5 against Randy Wolf with 4 strikeouts.
SS – Emmanuel Burriss (WAS/Syracuse): I love Emmanuel Burris, but I am biased. When I was 7, Emmanuel Burris was my coach at baseball camp. Now I coach Emmanuel Burris’ niece and nephew and they are the most pleasant and fastest children at camp. Emmanuel Burriss hit his only major league home run and it was off Bronson Arroyo and it was a bomb.
3B – Wilson Betemit (TB/Durham): Wilson Betemit is only 32, which is crazy because he’s been in the league since 2001. Betemit has one career postseason home run and it was off Aaron Heilman. The only pitcher to intentionally walk Wilson Betemit twice was Tony Armas Jr.
RF - Julio Borbon (BAL/Norfolk): Scott Boras has many famous clients. One of those clients is Julio Borbon. If the stories about Boras creating extensive binders for his free agent clients are true, I’d like to see the one he made for Julio Borbon that landed him such a sweet deal with the Orioles.
CF – Andres Torres (BOS/Pawtucket): Andres Torres has ADD and I know this because on FOX during the 2010 World Series Joe Buck talked about how once the Giants gave Torres Adderall, he was able to focus better at the plate. I knew that was bullshit because I take Adderall and I can’t focus anywhere. Andres Torres is older than both Adam Levine and Usher.
LF – Clete Thomas (PHI/Lehigh Valley): Clete Thomas sounds like a fictional Greek superhero from a children’s book who can magically turn into a shoe at any moment. Unfortunately for Clete Thomas, Clete Thomas is a boring, no-hit, quad-A outfielder.
SP - Jason Marquis (PHI/Lehigh Valley): Since 2010, Marquis has been worth -2.9 WAR as a pitcher and 0.5 WAR as a hitter. You might wonder why a 35-year-old guy who’s made over $50 million in his career would want to spend any more time pitching for a baseball team called the IronPigs. Then again, that sounds like a pretty sweet gig.
- C Corky Miller (CIN/Louisville)
- 1B Brent Morel (PIT/Indianapolis)
- 2B Cord Phelps (BAL/Norfolk)
- SS Jayson Nix (TB/Durham)
- 3B Russ Canzler (PHI/Lehigh Valley)
- OF Adron Chambers (TOR/Buffalo)
- OF Melky Mesa (TOR/Buffalo)
- 2B Ryan Roberts (BOS/Pawtucket)
- LHP Mike Zagurski (TOR/Buffalo)
- RHP Shaun Marcum (CLE/Columbus)
- RHP Matt Capps (CLE/Columbus)
- RHP Carlos Marmol (CIN/Louisville)
- RHP Chien-Ming Wang (CHW/Charlotte)
- LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith (CIN/Louisville)
- RHP Alfredo Aceves (NYY/Scranton Wilkes-Barre)
- RHP Josh Roenicke (WAS/Syracuse)
Pacific Coast League
by Jordan Shusterman
C – Eli Whiteside (CHC/Iowa): “Jealousy/Turning saints into the sea/Swimming through sick lullabies/Choking on your alibis. But it’s just the price I pay, destiny is calling me. Open up my eager eyessssssssssss…CAUSE I’M ELI WHITESIDE.”
1B – Lars Anderson (CHC/Iowa): Lars Anderson has 80 career minor league home runs and zero career major league home runs. Lars Anderson has one career extra base hit in the big leagues and it was off Doug Fister.
2B – Jason Donald (TEX/Round Rock): The despicable enemy who beat out the infield single to ruin Armando Galarraga’s perfect game.
3B – Pete Orr (MIL/Nashville): Pete Orr is Canadian and has the same last name as hockey legend Bobby Orr so he must have liked Bobby Orr growing up. Pete Orr is two weeks younger than Tracy McGrady.
SS - Ronny Cedeno (ARI/Reno): Recently traded to Arizona from Philadelphia for a minor league catcher named Raywilly, Cedeno has hit .302 in his first 12 games with Reno. If you’re a Venezuelan who can play shortstop at the major league level, you’re gonna stick around for way, way too long. Ronny Cedeno has made over $7 million in his career.
LF - Brian Bogusevic (MIA/New Orleans): It seems ridiculous, but Brian Bogusevic somehow looks exactly like what you would imagine a Brian Bogusevic to look like.
CF – Jason Pridie (COL/Colorado Springs): Turns out Jason Pridie was the guy the Orioles called up from Triple-A when Manny Machado’s leg exploded last year. I can’t imagine why that move didn’t get any attention. Why mourn the loss of your future superstar when you could celebrate a current legend’s return to glory at the major league level? Very strange. If anything, I’m sure Jason takes pridie in that specific call-upBOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
RF – Jeremy Hermida (MIL/Nashville): Before the 2004 season, Baseball America ranked Jeremy Hermida as the 28th best prospect in baseball. Before the 2005 season, Baseball America ranked Hermida as the 18th best prospect in baseball. Before the 2006 season, Baseball America ranked Hermida as the 4th best prospect in baseball. In the middle of the 2014 season, Cespedes Family Barbecue ranks Jeremy Hermida as the best right field prospect on the 2014 Nashville Sounds.
SP – Jason Berken (SFG/Fresno): While Berken may not be the craziest name I found (hello, Todd Coffey ON THE SEATTLE MARINERS APPARENTLY), I chose it almost entirely to break Jake’s Oriole-loving heart. Jason Berken! Berken is world-renowned for his 6.54 ERA over 119.2 innings in 2009, and even more well known for allowing Jacoby Ellsbury to hit .700/.800/1.100 against him in 15 plate appearances.
- OF Trayvon Robinson (LAD/Albuquerque)
- OF Travis Buck (SDP/El Paso)
- 3B Chris Nelson (SDP/El Paso)
- 1B Brandon Allen (NYM/Las Vegas)
- 2B Eugenio Velez (MIL/Nashville)
- 3B Andy Marte (ARI/Reno)
- 3B Brent Lillibridge (TEX/Round Rock)
- LHP Brian Burres (COL/Colorado Springs)
- RHP Brett Tomko (COL/Colorado Springs)
- LHP Tsuyoshi Wada (CHC/Iowa)
- RHP David Aardsma (STL/Memphis)
- LHP Pedro Feliciano (STL/Memphis)
- RHP Brad Penny (MIA/New Orleans)
- RHP Kameron Loe (ARI/Reno)
- RHP Philip Humber (OAK/Sacramento)
- RHP Todd Coffey (SEA/Tacoma)