Flagstaff’s Diaz sparks SL to All-Star triumph

MINNEAPOLIS – Flagstaff catcher Elias Diaz connected on a key three-run home run as the South League won its second All-Star Game in three seasons with a 5-3 victory.

Diaz had two hits and scored twice in becoming the third Elk player to earn MVP honors, joining Bobby Crosby (2006) and Rich Harden (2009). The SL victory trimmed the North’s advantage in the series to 10-8.

Louisville’s Max Scherzer, the second of the South’s 10 pitchers, earned the victory with two strikeouts in his one inning.

Pittsburgh first baseman Freddie Freeman, a former All-Star MVP, was the only player with two hits for the North. He staked the NL to an early 1-0 lead with an RBI double after Boston’s Jeff McNeil drew a walk from Dublin’s Jacob deGrom to start the game.

But the South pulled even in the second when Guinness first baseman tripled off Ottawa’s Blake Snell with one out and scored on a double by Tijuana’s Brandon Nimmo.

Diaz started the SL’s go-ahead rally an inning later by greeting Vancouver’s Chris Sale with a leadoff single. After two ground outs moved Diaz to third, the Long Rifles’ Francisco Lindor singled through the right side to make it 2-1.

After Nimmo drew a one-out walk from the Cobras’ Cole Hamels in the fourth, Oakland’s Justin Turner singled back up the middle to put runners on the corners. Diaz then drove an 0-2 pitch over the wall in right field for a 5-1 advantage.

While the South managed just one more hit against the final five NL pitchers, the North could not battle all the way back. Brooklyn’s Trevor Story plated Freeman with a double off Flagstaff’s Kyle Freeland in the fifth, and the Cubs’ Dee Gordon reached on an error in the seventh before scoring on a single by Calgary’s Max Muncy.

But Dublin’s Brad Hand retired five of the six batters he faced in the eighth and ninth and Oakland’s Edwin Diaz notched the save by striking out Muncy to end the game.

Box Score

PGBL ALL-STAR GAME HISTORY

2002 – North, 5-3. MVP – Chipper Jones, Ottawa
WP – P.Martinez (TOR). LP – Maddux (MEM). Sv. – Sasaki (VAN).
HR – none.
2003 – North, 8-6 (12). MVP – Tim Salmon, Brooklyn
WP – Millwood (CHI). LP – J.Santana (STL). Sv – Mesa (BOS).
HR – North: B.Williams (OTT), Salmon (BRK).
2004 – South, 4-2. MVP – Juan Gonzalez, Louisville
WP – T.Hudson (LV). LP – P.Martinez (TOR). Sv – Wagner (LV).
HR – South: J.Gonzalez (LOU), V.Guerrero (LOU); North: Pujols (MAN).
2005 – South, 6-1. MVP – Alfonso Soriano, Key West
WP – T.Hudson (LV). LP – J.Santana (OTT).
HR – North: V.Guerrero (TOR); South: A.Soriano (KW).
2006 – South, 4-3. MVP – Bobby Crosby, Flagstaff
WP – Wagner (LV). LP – Pettitte (CHI). Sv – T.Jones (LOU).
HR – South: Ensberg (MEM); North: Crisp (CLE), Ar.Ramirez (CLE).
2007 – South, 4-2. MVP – Victor Martinez, Taiwan
WP – Liriano (LOU). LP – Sabathia (CLE). Sv – Saito (LOU).
HR – North: J.Rivera (PIT).
2008 – South, 9-4. MVP – Alex Rodriguez, Key West
WP – K.Escobar (KW). LP – Peavy (CLE).
HR – South: A.Rodriguez (KW); North: D.Ortiz (CLE).
2009 – South, 7-4. MVP – Rich Harden, Flagstaff
WP – Lidge (LOU). LP – Downs (CWS). Sv – Wagner (LV).
HR – South: McCann (MEM).
2010 – North, 4-3. MVP – Adrian Gonzalez, Vancouver
WP – T.Hanson (BC). LP – Porcello (STL). Sv – F.Rodriguez (BOS).
HR – South: M.Diaz (ALA), McCann (MEM); North: A.Gonzalez (VAN), A.Hill (PIT).
2011 – North, 3-0. MVP – Adam Wainwright, Pittsburgh
WP – Wainwright (PIT). LP – Oswalt (TIJ). Sv – Rivera (CHI).
HR – North: A.Rodriguez (BC).
2012 – North, 5-4. MVP – Ben Zobrist, Ottawa
WP – Putz (CGY). LP – J.Tomlin (LV). Sv – Farnsworth (LON).
HR – South: Bautista (MEM).
2013 – North, 6-2. MVP – Buster Posey, Brooklyn
WP – Kimbrel (PIT). LP – R.Soriano (STL).
HR – South: Cano (TIJ).
2014 – North, 5-2. MVP – Freddie Freeman, Pittsburgh
WP – Scherzer (BC). LP – Bumgarner (COM). Sv – Uehara (LON)
HR – North: Freeman (PIT)
2015 – North, 5-4 (10). MVP – Josh Donaldson, Ottawa
WP – McGee (OTT). LP – Betances (COM).
HR – North: C.Gomez (BC), Donaldson (OTT).
2016 – North, 5-2. MVP – Kyle Schwarber, Boston
WP – Sale (VAN). LP – Greinke (OAK).
HR – South: Hundley (STL); North: Schwarber (BOS) 2.
2017 – South, 9-5. MVP – Ryon Healy, Memphis
WP – Jansen (DUB). LP – Betances (LON).
HR – North: Cespedes (BOS), Donaldson (OTT); South: Healy (MEM) 2.
2018 – North, 10-1. MVP – J.D. Martinez, Cleveland
WP – Carrasco (OTT). LP – deGrom (DUB).
HR – North: Correa (OTT), JD.Martinez (CLE), Harper (CLE).
2019 – South, 5-3. MVP – Elias Diaz, Flagstaff
WP – Scherzer (LOU). LP – Sale (VAN). Sv – Ed.Diaz (OAK).
HR – South: El.Diaz (FLG).

Nola, deGrom to start All-Star Game

Twenty more first-time selections were among the pitchers and reserves added to the rosters for the 2019 PGBL All-Star Game.

Chicago’s Aaron Nola, one of the newcomers, and Dublin’s Jacob deGrom will start on the mound, with deGrom getting the South League nod for a second straight season.

Brooklyn second baseman Dee Gordon is the only hitter on the North League bench with All-Star experience. Joining him are Cubs teammate Trevor Story, catcher Yan Gomes of Chicago, Pittsburgh teammates Anthony Rendon and Ronald Acuna, and Calgary’s Max Muncy.

The South reserves are led by three-time All-Star J.D. Martinez of Louisville and two-timer Scooter Gennett of Tijuana. Other hitters on the SL bench are Tyler White of Las Vegas, Adalberto Mondesi of host Twin City, and the Memphis duo of Alex Bregman and Juan Soto.

Vancouver’s Chris Sale returns to the NL pitching staff for his sixth appearance in seven seasons after missing last year’s game. The Cardinals put four hurlers on the team in Nola, Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander and Craig Kimbrel.

The rest of the NL staff features returnee Cole Hamels of Pittsburgh and newcomers Blake Snell of Ottawa, Cody Allen of Cleveland and Boston releivers Raisel Iglesias and Craig Stammen.

Oakland’s Zack Greinke , while Louisville’s Max Scherzer of the Long Rifles makes his fourth straight appearance and fifth overall. The squad’s other starting pitchers are four-time pick Zack Greinke of Oakland and ERA leader Kyle Freeland of Flagstaff.

Four-time pick Dellin Betances of Dublin joins five new selections among South releivers: Guinness teammate Brad Hand, Athletes closer Edwin Diaz, Melee teammates Jose Leclerc and Aroldis Chapman, and Compton representative Reyes Moronta.

NORTH LEAGUE ALL-STARS
Pitchers
Aaron Nola, Chicago (SP)
Chris Sale, Vancouver
Blake Snell, Ottawa
Gerrit Cole, Chicago
Justin Verlander, Chicago
Cole Hamels, Pittsburgh
Craig Kimbrel, Chicago
Raisel Iglesias, Boston
Craig Stammen, Boston
Cody Allen, Cleveland
Reserves
Yan Gomes, Chicago
Max Muncy, Calgary
Dee Gordon, Brooklyn
Trevor Story, Brooklyn
Anthony Rendon, Pittsburgh
Ronald Acuna, Pittsburgh

SOUTH LEAGUE ALL-STARS
Pitchers
Jacob deGrom, Dublin (SP)
Max Scherzer, Louisville
Zack Greinke, Oakland
Kyle Freeland, Flagstaff
Dellin Betances, Dublin
Brad Hand, Dublin
Jose Leclerc, Memphis
Aroldis Chapman, Memphis
Reyes Moronta, Compton
Edwin Diaz Oakland
Reserves
Tyler White, Las Vegas
Scooter Gennett, Tijuana
Alex Bregman, Memphis
Adalberto Mondesi, Twin City
Juan Soto, Memphis
J.D. Martinez, Louisville

Seven first-time all-stars named starters

Chicago’s Mike Trout will make his fifth All-Star start in seven seasons, while seven newcomers will be in the lineups when the Twin City Truckers host the 2019 PGBL All-Star Game.

Five of the first-time All-Stars will join Trout on the North League starting squad, including left fielder Robbie Grossman who was claimed by Calgary on waivers after a strong first half for Brooklyn.

The other NL first-timers are Vancouver catcher JT Realmuto; Boston second baseman Jeff McNeil; London third baseman Asdrubal Cabrera and Toronto DH Shohei Ohtani. Arsenal outfielder Yasiel Puig rounds out the NL outfield, while Pittsburgh teammates Freddie Freeman and Manny Machado will start at first base and shortstop, respectively.

The South League lineup has just two newcomers in Flagstaff catcher Elias Diaz and Tijuana DH Brandon Nimmo. Dublin first baseman Paul Goldschmidt starts for the third time in five seasons, while Louisville’s Jose Altuve makes his second SL start (2015) and third overall at second base.

St. Louis left fielder David Peralta also makes his first SL start since 2015, while Long Rifles shortstop Francisco Lindor returns for the first time since starting in 2016. Outfielders Christan Yelich of the Athletics and Mookie Betts of the Guinness are back in the starting lineup after a one-year absence. Oakland third-baseman Justin Turner, a two-time reserve, gets the nod at third.

Trout is the only starter from last year’s game chosen to start again this year. Machado and Altuve were NL backups a year ago.

The pitchers and reserves will be announced in the near future.

2019 ALL-STAR STARTERS
North League

C – J.T. Realmuto, Vancouver
1B – Freddie Freeman, Pittsburgh
2B – Jeff McNeil, Boston
SS – Manny Machado, Pittsburgh
3B – Asdrubal Cabrera, London
LF – Robbie Grossman, Calgary
CF – Mike Trout, Chicago
RF – Yasiel Puig, London
DH – Shohei Ohtani, Toronto
South League
C – Elias Diaz, Flagstaff
1B – Paul Goldschmidt, Dublin
2B – Jose Altuve, Louisville
SS – Francisco Lindor, Louisville
3B – Justin Turner, Oakland
LF – David Peralta, St. Louis
CF – Christian Yelich, Oakland
RF – Mookie Betts, Dublin
DH – Brandon Nimmo, Tijuana

OPENING DAY ARRIVES

The 2019 PGBL season arrives today with the defending champion Calgary Roughnecks opening their season with a three-game series at Pittsburgh.

Reigning South League champion also starts on the road with a series at Las Vegas. In other SL action, Dublin hosts St. Louis while Cactus Division champion Oakland travels to Flagstaff.

Other matchubs involving last year’s North League playoff qualifiers have Chicago hosting Boston, Ottawa playing in London, and Vancouver welcoming Toronto.

Tigers select Muncy with No. 1 pick

The Toronto Tigers selected Max Muncy with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 PGBL Draft.

Catching prospect Joey Bart went second to Memphis, followed by starting pitchers Shane Bieber to Compton, Miles Mikolas to Boston, Anibal Sanchez to Twin City and Clay Buchholz to St. Louis.

This full 10-round draft wound up heavily weighted toward the South League.

The SL made 136 picks to just 64 for the North. By division, there were 71 picks in the Cactus and 65 in the Confederate, compared to just 34 in the Maple Leaf and 30 in the Norris – only six more than Dublin alone.

After Dublin’s 24 selections, the next four teams in number of picks were the all from the Cactus Division: Las Vegas 17, Oakland 16, Tijuana 15 and Flagstaff 13. Twin City wound up with 10 choices.

All but two of the SL teams made 10 or more picks, with Louisville and St. Louis only making nine. Vancouver was the only NL team with 10 picks, while Ottawa and Pittsburgh had nine.

Find the complete draft results here.

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