The Southern League announced the North Division roster Tuesday for the mid-season All-Star Game. And Kyle Schwarber headlines the list of Smokies that were named to the Southern League North Division’s team.
C Kyle Schwarber, C Willson Contreras, 1B Dan Vogelbach, RHP Frank Batista, RHP Corey Black, RHP P.J. Francescon and RHP Felix Pena were named Mid-Season All Stars. The game takes place Tuesday, June 23 at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery. Riverwalk Stadium is the home of the Montgomery Biscuits, the Double-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Brady Williams and the Montgomery Biscuits’ coaching staff will call the shots for the North Division All-Stars.
Updated 3:24pm CDT – The announcement was made that both Kyle Schwarber and Dan Vogelbach will be in the starting lineup for the North Division. Kyle Schwarber is going to hit third and catch. Dan Vogelbach will bat sixth and play first base.
Kyle Schwarber is having a very good first full-season in pro ball. Schwarber is making progress defensively and by all accounts continues to show improvement on a daily basis behind the plate. The Cubs are committed to Schwarber catching and he is putting in the work while tearing the cover off the ball.
Schwarber is putting up Kris Bryant-like numbers for Double-A Tennessee. In 54 games, Schwarber has a .322/.440/.585 line with seven doubles, one triple and 13 home runs. What might be just as impressive as the 1.025 OPS is the fact he has walked (39) almost as many times as he has struck out (46) this season.
An argument could be made that Willson Contreras is the best Cubs’ prospect that no one is talking about this season. Contreras has seemingly been around for a long time, but he is only 23 years old and he is having an excellent year.
In 53 games, Contreras is batting .328/.391/.505 with 16 doubles, two triples and five home runs for a .896 OPS. Contreras has 17 walks in 198 at bats with 32 strikeouts.
Dan Vogelbach is having a good year, his first at the Double-A level and has bounced back from a not-so-good season with High-A Daytona. Vogelbach settled in to his season after beginning the year at an unstainable pace. Vogelbach hit .362/.470/.594 in his first 19 games with seven doubles, three home runs and a 1.064 OPS.
Vogelbach batted .282/.408/.410 in May before landing on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. Vogelbach hit five more doubles, a triple and a home run for a .818 OPS.
For the year, Dan Vogelbach is hitting .313/.429/.487 with 12 doubles, a triple, four home runs and a .916 OPS. Vogelbach has 32 walks with 38 strikeouts in 150 at bats.
Dan Vogelbach recently returned from the disabled list and will look to get back on track after the DL stint derailed his season.
RHP Frank Batista has flourished in the Smokies’ rotation and has clearly been the best starter on the staff this season. The 26-year old right hander is 6-1 in 11 starts with a 1.49 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. The former closer has allowed 14 runs, 11 earned, on 48 hits with 17 walks and 47 strikeouts in 66 1/3 innings.
Frank Batista has recorded seven quality starts this season and is among league leaders in ERA and WHIP.
After beginning the season in the Smokies’ rotation, Black has been moved to the bullpen in an expected move by the Cubs’ front office. Black projects as a late-inning reliever in the majors and could help the big league club as soon as this season.
Black was 2-2 in nine starts with a 3.09 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP. In 46 2/3 innings as a starter, Black allowed 18 runs, 16 earned, on 31 hits with 19 walks and 53 strikeouts.
Corey Black was very good in his first two relief appearances before his last time out. In three games out of the pen, Black has allowed four runs on four hits with four walks and six strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings (8.31 ERA, 1.85 WHIP).
For the season, Corey Black is 2-2 in 12 games, nine starts, with a 3.53 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.
P.J. Francescon has been really good this year in his third stint with Double-A Tennessee. The 26-year old right hander has appeared in 19 games and is 7-for-8 in save opportunities. Francescon has allowed three runs, two earned, on 17 hits with 11 walks and 21 strikeouts in 24 1/3 innings (0.74 ERA, 1.15 WHIP).
RHP Felix Pena
Felix Pena has been the second best starter on the Smokies’ staff behind Frank Batista. Pena is 5-2 in 11 starts with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. Pena has allowed 24 runs, all earned, on 54 hits with 21 walks and 67 strikeouts in 65 innings.