Paul Blackburn, Brad Markey, Juan Paniagua, Chesny Young, Victor Caratini, Jeimer Candelario and Mark Zagunis named Southern League Mid-Season All-Stars
The Southern League announced its Mid-Season All-Stars Tuesday and six players were initially tabbed to represent the Tennessee Smokies and the Cubs’ organization in the Southern League All-Star Game, which will take place Tuesday, June 21 at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss.
RHP Paul Blackburn, RHP Brad Markey, INF/OF Chesny Young, C Victor Caratini, 3B Jeimer Candelario and OF Mark Zagunis were named Tuesday as Southern League Mid-Season All-Stars. RHP Juan Paniagua was added to the Southern League All-Star roster Wednesday.
The Cubs promoted 3B Jeimer Candelario and OF Mark Zagunis to Triple-A Iowa on Wednesday afternoon. Unless the Cubs send Candelario and/or Zagunis back to Double-A Tennessee, neither player will participate in the All-Star Game.
Paul Blackburn, 22, had an excellent start to his season with Double-A Tennessee. Blackburn’s numbers still look good despite recent struggles on the hill. Blackburn with 3-0 in his first five starts with a 0.29 ERA and 0.87 WHIP. His last two times out, Blackburn is 0-1 with a 6.97 ERA and 1.84 WHIP. For the season, Blackburn is 3-2 in 12 starts with a 2.40 ERA and 1.09 WHIP.
Brad Markey, 24, keeps putting up the numbers both as a starter and a reliever. Markey is 5-1 on the season in 12 games, 10 starts, with a 2.41 ERA and 1.36 WHIP. Markey allows a lot of baserunners, 24 walks and 57 hits in 59 2/3 innings, but has found ways to produce results. Markey has good stuff and earned a spot on the Southern League All-Star team.
Juan Paniagua, 26, has a big arm and excellent stuff. And the right-hander seems to be putting it together this season. Paniagua is 2-2 in 18 games, all in relief, with two saves, a 1.09 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. In 24 2/3 innings, Paniagua has allowed three runs on 15 hits with 11 walks and 24 strikeouts.
Chesny Young, 23, has hit at every level of the system and has continued to impress with Double-A Tennessee this season. Through 56 games, Young hit .295/.386/.359 with six doubles, a triple and two home runs for a .746 OPS. In 217 at-bats, Young had more walks (31) than strikeouts (26). Young has slowed down considerably since April in which he batted .402/.505/.524 with a 1.029 OPS. Young has shown the ability to adjust in-season and there is little doubt he will get his season back on track soon.
Victor Caratini, 22, has adjusted well to Double-A pitching after a slow start to the season. Through 49 games, Caratini hit .296/.399/.391 with 13 doubles and a home run for a .790 OPS. Caratini, like many of the top prospects in the system, will take a walk. In 169 at bats, Caratini had 29 walks with 36 strikeouts.
Caratini earned Mid-Season All-Star honors for the second time and for the first time as a member of the Cubs’ organization. Caratini was selected as a South Atlantic League Mid-Season All-Star in 2014 while playing with Low-A Rome in the Atlanta Braves’ system.
Jeimer Candelario, 22, was promoted to Triple-A Iowa on Wednesday. Candelario had a better stint offensively with Double-A Tennessee than his numbers show. Candelario batted .219/.324/.367 with 17 doubles, a triple and four home runs in 56 games. Candelario walked 32 times with 46 strikeouts in 210 at-bats. Candelario was a Mid-Season All-Star for High-A Myrtle Beach last year.
Mark Zagunis, 23, also received a promotion to Triple-A Iowa on Wednesday. In 51 games for Double-A Tennessee, Zagunis hit .302/.408/.453 with 13 doubles, a triple and four home runs for a .860 OPS. Zagunis had 30 walks with 36 strikeouts in 179 at-bats. Zagunis has been named to a Mid-Season All-Star team for the third time in as many seasons as a pro (Short-Season Boise in 2014, High-A Myrtle Beach in 2015).
The 2016 Southern League All-Star Game takes place on Tuesday, June 21 at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss. Players were selected by a vote of League field managers, radio broadcasters, general managers and print media. All players on Southern League rosters as of May 31 are eligible in the voting process. In addition, the Smokies’ six players honored tied with the Jackson Generals for the most of any team in the North Division.
Cubs Mid-Season All-Stars
Midwest League – Low-A South Bend Cubs
- OF Eloy Jimenez
- OF Donnie Dewees
- INF Andrew Ely
- INF Jesse Hodges
- LHP Carson Sands
- RHP Adbert Alzolay
Carolina League – High-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans
- RHP Trevor Clifton
- RHP Zach Hedges
- RHP Jake Stinnett
Southern League – Double-A Tennessee Smokies
- RHP Paul Blackburn
- RHP Brad Markey
- RHP Juan Paniagua
- INF/OF Chesny Young
- C Victor Caratini
- 3B Jeimer Candelario
- C Mark Zagunis
Sixteen of the top players in the Cubs’ organization over three levels of the Minor League system. And Willson Contreras, Albert Almora Jr. and Dan Vogelbach were leading their respective positions in voting for the Triple-A All-Star Game.