Greg Jones‘ professional debut has gone about as well as the Rays could have hoped after selecting him out of UNC Wilmington in the first round of the 2019 MLB Draft. As a result, Jones was rewarded with an All-Star selection Thursday.
The Rays No. 9 prospect will lead the Red Team into the New York-Penn League All-Star Game against the Blue Team on Aug. 21 at Staten Island’s Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George. Indians No. 6 prospect George Valera headlines the Blue squad, which also features Phillies first-round pick and third-ranked prospect Bryson Stott and eighth-ranked Red Sox prospect Gilberto Jimenez.
If he had enough at-bats to qualify, Jones’ .911 OPS would rank second on the circuit behind Batavia’s J.D. Orr, who was also named an All-Star on the Blue Team. Overall, the 6-foot-2, 175-pound shortstop is batting .344/.415/.496 with one home run, 18 RBIs, 28 runs scored and 13 stolen bases in 20 attempts over 33 games at Class A Short Season Hudson Valley.
Valera got off to a hot start at Mahoning Valley and was batting .279/.395/.510 on July 15, but he went six for his next 38 before missing two weeks due to a leg injury, from which he returned August 14. He’s hit eight home runs and stolen six bases on eight tries in his 42 games for the Scrappers and will be joined by Orr and Jimenez in the Blue outfield.
Jimenez is batting .362/.389/.486 with two homers and nine steals in 45 games with Lowell and has hit safely in 20 of his past 22 contests. Orr leads the league with a .381 average, .487 on-base percentage and 45 runs scored while ranking second with 24 stolen bases, one behind Williamsport’s Corbin Williams, who was also named to the Blue squad.
Like Jones, Stotts’ .286/.364/.514 line would place him among the league leaders had he enough at-bats to qualify. He’s added five home runs, 18 RBIs and three steals in 29 games in Williamsport after moving up from the Gulf Coast League, where he was initially assigned after the Phillies drafted him 14th overall.
On the mound, Lowell’s Yusniel Padron-Artilles leads the Blue pitching staff with his circuit-best seven wins, 2.17 ERA and 74 strikeouts, which are tied with Aberdeen’s Leonardo Rodriguez, who will pitch for the Red team.
Batavia’s Julio Frias (4-2, 2.54) and Brooklyn’s Garrison Bryant (4-1, 2.59) join Padron-Artilles on the Blue side, as does Muckdogs left-hander Josh Simpson, who has a 0.59 ERA and an 18-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 15 1/3 innings out of the Batavia bullpen.
Aberdeen’s Ryan Conroy (4-3, 2.33) and Staten Island’s Anderson Munoz (5-2, 2.87) are the other headliners among the Red starting pitchers, while Hudson Valley’s Joe LaSorsa and Vermont’s Jorge Martinez bring a combined 9-2 record and ERAs under 2.00 to the team’s bullpen.
First pitch is set for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 21.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.