There are several familiar faces, along with a few new ones, in this year’s lineups for the 2018 Bull League All-Star Game, which will take place on July 19 in Calgary, Alberta.
Making the cut for the AEL are 19 first-time all-stars, including 7-season veteran Norfolk Sharks arm Charles Ling, who earned his 500th strikeout this season.
Some other notables in the AEL roster include this year’s OSA #1 prospect, pitcher Chris Zerkle (St. Petersburg), and one of the youngest players to ever appear in an All-Star Game, 21-year-old Alex Orellana, who was traded from the Arizona Cowboys to the Miami Storm just days ago.
Of the AEL’s returning veterans, Norfolk’s catcher Earl MacPherson is making a second appearance in a row. He was unanimously voted in as AEL starting catcher. The first overall pick in the 2013 draft, “Blur” MacPherson is hitting over .300 for the second year in a row, and is on track to surpass his 2017 home run total of 28, landing around 36 if his current pace keeps up.
Takeo Otomo, the 38-year-old DH/RF, will appear in his 12th consecutive All-Star Game. His first appearance was in 2007 with the Nevada Speeders, a season in which he also won the Gold Crown at shortstop. He was voted in as the AEL’s DH for the St. Petersburg Admirals.
Another long-time All-Star is Danny Sanchez, the Norfolk shortstop, who at age 31 is flirting with batting .400 this season. He will appear in his 10th consecutive All-Star Game this year.
Over in the Lake League, there are 19 players making first-time All-Star Game appearances (although some will miss the game due to injuries). Among the notable first-timers are veteran Toronto reliever Jamie Jones, who has carved a role for himself as a closer, though he stepped aside for veteran Alex Medina to take his place during a recent bullpen stint, as well as Louisville’s Alex Romero, who is having a career season as the Sluggers’ third baseman, and Dennis Guppy, the Detroit outfielder who was 2nd in Rookie of the Year voting last season.
Some returning veterans include Garth Goyle, of Ohio, who is appearing in his 9th All-Star Game after having collected his 1000th hit earlier this year, Knuckles Malone, the Toronto starter who has been an All-Star every year since his debut in 2015, and Boston’s elder statesman, Guido Groeneveld, making his 11th appearance.
Returning after a lengthy absence is Jose Castaneda, who appeared in his first All-Star Game in 2013, and is finally making his second appearance this year at age 29.