Starting Lineups, Pioneer League All-Star Team … and snubs
by Ben Catley
First, the Pioneer League All-Star Team has been announced. More on this below.
Second, today’s starting lineups:
Missoula Osprey (14-13, 39-26) starting lineup: Chris Ellison (RF) Fidel Pena (C) Tom Belza (2B) Jon Griffin (1B) Ryan Court (3B) Stephen Cardullo (SS) Bryan Henry (DH) Justin Bianco (CF) Ty Linton (LF) Raymond Hernandez (RHP) Ogden Raptors (13-14, 35-30) starting lineup: Scott Wingo (2B) Justin Boudreaux (SS) Joc Pederson (DH) Matt Kirkland (1B) Noel Cuevas (LF), Jeff Hunt (3B) Scott Schebler (RF) Jan Vasquez (C) James Baldwin (CF) Derek Cone (RHP)
Now, on to the All-Star snubs, namely two of them … Eric Groff and Tom Belza.
Belza is hitting .355 at the moment, but was hitting somewhere around .340 when the vote took place. Not a major difference. However, it brings up the need for a Utility spot on the All-Star team, because Belza has played seven different positions for the Osprey this season. And before you just think of him as an average hitter … he has an OPS of 1.004, which is best on the squad.
Groff is the one that gets to me the most. He (along with Ogden’s O’Koyea Dickson) were finalists for the MVP award, yet did not make the All-Star team. Sounds like both of them were Goldschmitt-ed to me. Yeah, that guy, who didn’t make the All-Star team despite a monster season in 2009, who then went out and destroyed the Cal League and made up for it, earning both MVP and Rookie of The Year one season later.
Both were victims of a position overload – Griffin was the first baseman all-star, and first baseman Frazier Hall of Orem was put in the DH slot by many (over Dickson, Groff and CJ Cron of Orem, who was leading the league in home runs and RBIs when he was injured, plus was in the top 10 in hitting), and ended up knocking out one of those three players.