The best players from the Pacific Coast League will take on the cream of the International League in the 21st annual Triple-A All-Star Game, televised live from Louisville by ESPN2 on Wednesday, July 16 at 7 P.M. EDT.
The St. Louis Cardinals’ top affiliate, the Memphis Redbirds, will be represented on the 28-man PCL squad by one resilient player. Outfielder Nick Stavinoha’s selection represents a return to the top after a rough 2007 for the Cardinals seventh round pick in the 2005 draft from LSU.
Nick Stavinoha, 2008 PCL All-Star
Over this past winter, Stavinoha had dropped from #10 in 2007 to #38 in our blended Cardinals prospect rankings here at The Birdhouse.
The 26-year-old native of Houston, TX didn’t let any of what happened last season bother him, taking care of business on the field in 2008. Prior to his short call-up to St. Louis, Stavinoha’s rebound season included a stellar .346/.375/.519 line (BA/OBP/SLG) with ten home runs and 50 RBI in 260 at-bats.
Stavinoha made his major league debut on June 22nd in Boston. Over his initial eight days in the majors, the right-handed hitter went 4-for-16 (.250) at the plate, all singles, and collected his first two big-league RBI. He also scored twice, but struck out four times.
Since returning to Memphis, the 6-foot-2, 225-pounder picked up right where he left off, going 4-for-8 with a run scored over Tuesday and Wednesday night’s games. His current .351 batting average is third highest in the PCL.
Note: Scout.com subscribers can read my June 22nd interview with Stavinoha here.
The selection process
The 2008 PCL All-Star squad is made up of 13 elected players who received the most votes from ballots submitted by clubs’ field managers and general managers (1/3), members of the media (1/3), and online fan voting (1/3). The fan voting ran from June 5th through 27th. The actual details of the final mix are not fully disclosed.
Those elected players are joined by 15 additional All-Stars selected by the League office. Each of the PCL’s 16 clubs will send at least one representative to Louisville.
What could have been…
In the last update after two weeks of fan voting, back on June 19, the Redbirds had leaders at five of the 11 voting positions (eight position players, a designated hitter, a starting pitcher, of which three could be voted for, plus a reliever).
The five were outfielders Stavinoha and Colby Rasmus, infielders Brian Barden and Jarrett Hoffpauir plus starting pitcher Mitchell Boggs. Like Stavinoha, Boggs had also received his first-ever call to the majors during June, but unlike him, the right-handed starting pitcher remains with St. Louis.
Former Cardinals in the 2008 PCL All-Star Game
Ex-Cardinal (2005-2006) John Gall, now with the Albuquerque Isotopes (Florida), joins Stavinoha as a 2008 PCL All-Star outfield selection.
Four former Cardinals farmhands will be in the opposing International League dugout. Relievers Rich Rundles (Springfield, 2006), now with Buffalo (Cleveland), and Toledo’s (Detroit) Blaine Neal (Spring Training, 2006) will be in the IL bullpen. In addition, the Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay) are sending two ex-Redbirds, first baseman Chris Richard (St. Louis, 2000) and starting pitcher Jeremy Cummings (Memphis, 2003-2005).
Past Redbirds All-Stars
Last season, Rick Ankiel was the top fan PCL vote-getter at any position by a considerable margin but the outfielder declined to participate in the game. Reliever Mark Worrell, who made his Major League debut one month ago but is now back in Memphis, was ultimately the Redbirds’ lone All-Star representative in 2007.
Two years ago, one almost needed a scorecard to track the Memphis participant. Reliever Josh Kinney was selected as a PCL All-Star, but was called up to St. Louis between the announcement of rosters and the game. He was initially replaced by Brian Falkenborg, who accepted, then changed his mind and bowed out. Andy Cavazos, now pitching in Mexico, was the third reliever chosen to represent the Redbirds in 2006.
The International League won both year’s games.
2008 Triple-A All-Star Rosters
Pacific Coast League
The Pacific Coast League All-Stars will be led by Nashville's Frank Kremblas, the 2007 PCL Manager of the Year. The regular season champion from the winning league of the All-Star Game will again enjoy the “home” advantage in the Triple-A Championship Game. “The Brickdown Showdown” will be held in Oklahoma City in September.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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