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Meet Your 2015 Lansing Lugnuts’ All-Stars

Meet Your 2015 Lansing Lugnuts’ All-Stars

June 23, 2015

Midwest League All-Star Game logo

The 2015 Midwest League All-Star game is on June 23rd at 8pm.

The Midwest League will hold their annual all-star game at O’Brien Field in Peoria, Illinois on June 23rd. This game is always exciting for fans of big prospects as the Midwest League has a long history of developing promising young players into major league stars and this talent will be on full display during this game.

Fans of the Toronto Blue Jays will definitely want to pay close attention to this game as the organization will be represented by five up-and-coming stars that could one day be playing at the Rogers Centre. Of the five Lugnuts’ to take part in this prestigious event, three of them will be in the starting lineup, which is a great sign for the organization moving forward.

Starting for the East squad will be: first baseman Rowdy Tellez, outfielder Anthony Alford, and designated hitter Ryan McBroom. Also representing the Lugnuts’ will be shortstop Richard Urena and left-handed pitcher Shane Dawson.

Proud of the accomplishments of his players, Lansing Lugnuts’ manager Ken Huckaby is excited for the guys that were selected by the Midwest League managers to represent the Blue Jays organization in Peoria on June 23rd.

“I think the managers got it right,” said Huckaby. “The guys that will represent us all deserve this honor. I feel the managers did a good job at picking the teams.”

Obviously receiving the news that you’re an all-star is a very special moment that the players will remember forever as it’s a unique experience that only a select few players get to accomplish at any level of play.

While it’s an individual honor to be part of this team, first baseman Rowdy Tellez wants to give full credit to his teammates for helping him achieve this distinction. Currently leading the team in RBIs with 49, the California native understands he couldn’t have achieved this stat without the players around him reaching base frequently so he can bring them home with a hard hit ball.

“Being named a Midwest League all-star is something that is cool and really special,” stated Tellez. “Being an all-star is something that everybody wants to achieve during the season. I’m looking forward to the experience.”

“It’s really cool being the starting first baseman,” Tellez added. “I just want to thank my coaches and teammates for helping me get this far.”

But Tellez’s game is more than just RBIs as he also has 19 doubles and seven home runs on the season. Carrying a .296/.351/.444 slash line throughout his first half of play, Tellez is turning heads daily and has a very bright future moving forward.

The biggest question mark in Tellez’s game when he entered professional baseball was his defensive ability. This is an area he is working hard on this season as he is getting the most reps at first and has done a respectable job. Committing just six errors so far this season, while takien part in 35 double plays, and assisting on another 35 plays is showing the progression the 20-year old is making at his position.

A major story of the 2014 off-season was the news of Anthony Alford giving up football to pursue baseball full time. That was news Blue Jays fans wanted to hear since his 3rd round selection back in 2012 and many wondered how the speedy outfielder would fare with a full season workload.

Alford has handled the transition very well as the prospect leads the Lugnuts’ in walks with 39, which has been a tremendous component to his.418 OBP and his league leading 49 runs scored. It’s evident that Alford made the right decision to focus primarily on his baseball career.

Honored by his selection, Alford is looking forward to sharing his moment with family and friends that have supported him through all of his endeavors. Although the trip from Mississippi to Illinois is long, it’s something his loved ones will do gladly to support this humble young man.

“Being a Midwest League all-star means a lot,” said Alford. “It means a lot personally being my first full season. But I take it more as a team accomplishment, because if it wasn’t for my teammates picking me up when I’m down I wouldn’t have achieved this honor. They have helped me find success all season.”

Alford added. “My parents and siblings will most likely make the trip to Peoria. I think my high school baseball coach and high school football coach might make the trip. I’ll most likely have friends there supporting me. My wife’s parents are going to try and make it and my wife will definitely be there. I’m looking forward to seeing everybody and I’m thankful for their support.”

Relegated to more of a designated hitting role in Lansing Ryan McBroom is continuing to show the same promise at the plate as he did last season in Vancouver. Carrying an impressive .330/.405/.478 slash line through his first half of play where he has a team leading 23 doubles.

Seeing less action at first base this year due to the fact that Rowdy Tellez is at the same level and one of the two was needed to DH more to keep both power bats in the lineup. This pick was an easy one for the organization as McBroom is already an excellent defender and can get away with fewer days at his natural position.

Committing just one error at first base this season in 141 chances, McBroom has taken part in 14 double plays and has assisted on another six in 20 games at first. The organization has also started to give McBroom some reps in left-field to keep the prospects defensive skills crisp and that change has worked out very well as he is 22-for-22 on his chances in the outfield.

Excited to be taking part in his second all-star game in just two seasons of professional baseball, the young prospect is really looking forward to getting out to Peoria to take in all the festivities that an all-star event brings to the table.

“Being named a Midwest League all-star means a lot. I’m really looking forward to representing this Lugnuts team and the Blue Jays organization as well,” said McBroom. “I’m excited to be sharing this moment with four of my teammates. I’m very proud of their accomplishments as well. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

“I’m really looking forward to spending time with my teammates and meeting the guys from the other teams,” McBroom added. “All-star games are always fun and I’m really looking forward to getting out to Peoria to have some fun the couple days I’m there.”

Shortstop Richard Urena was added as a reserve player one day after the initial all-star roster was announced. Many fans were shocked that Urena wasn’t picked initially as he’s having a specular season in the Midwest League. But once the league received word that Tampa Bay Rays prospect Coty Blanchard was unable to participate they knew right away who they wanted to fill that void. Contacting Lansing quickly to see if Urena would be interested in taking Blanchard’s spot on the roster and it took the Dominican Republic native little time to say yes.

“I was extremely excited when I found out I was added to the Midwest League all-star team,” stated Urena. “I was surprised when they added me. But being named an all-star was one of my goals prior to the season. It’s something I mentally train for every day.”

Carrying a .271/.293/.450 slash line in Lansing; Urena currently leads all Lugnuts’ in home runs with 11 and he’s second to only Rowdy Tellez in RBIs with 46. But the young prospect is more than just a great bat he’s also an above-average defender who has committed just 10 errors through his first half, while taken part in 26 double plays, and assisting on another 126.

Selecting just one pitcher from the Lugnuts’ the Midwest League went with lefty Shane Dawson, a second year Lugnut that’s turning a lot of heads with his phenomenal play. Currently 9-4 with a 3.16 ERA and 68 strikeouts in his 74 innings; Dawson has shown excellent command in his 14 appearances this season as he is currently maintaining an impressive 1.23 WHIP.

While a second season in Lansing wasn’t what Dawson had in mind when he entered spring camp. He has taken his assignment in stride and has been a consistent arm in the Lugnuts’ rotation all season. Humbled by his selection, Dawson admits that a lot of his early success can be contributed to the excellent defenders behind him every outing.

“I came to Lansing this year with an opportunity to build off what I did here last year,” explained Dawson. “I feel I have done that and the all-star nod proves that as well. I’m just hoping I can keep it going for the rest of the year.”

“I’m very thankful for my teammates because without them I wouldn’t have achieved this honor as they have saved a couple runs for me with excellent defensive plays all year,” Dawson added. “But I’m very happy about the honor and I hope I can continue to be an all-star moving forward.”

Be sure to tune in to the Midwest League All-Star Game on June 23rd at 8:00 PM EST