The Northwest League named five Spokane Indians – two starters and three reserves – to represent the league at the All-Star Game against the Pioneer League All-Stars on Tuesday in Grand Junction, Colorado.
First baseman Curtis Terry – who leads the NWL in home runs and runs batted in – and third baseman Diosbel Arias – who is second in batting average and first in on-base percentage – have been named starters.
The reserves are catcher Francisco Ventura and pitchers Hans Crouse and Emmanuel Clase.
“It makes the first half a little more sweet,” manager Kenny Holmberg said of having five players named all-stars. “It’s really neat. Very proud of our guys.”
Holmberg said he doesn’t think players set out to be all-stars, but it’s nice for them to be recognized when it happens.
“I don’t think any player or team strives to have the most players in the All-Star Game. I think everyone strives for success, help the team win and eventually get to the playoffs and give yourself a chance to win a championship.”
The extra travel in the second half of the schedule, especially since the Indians will be in the middle of a 10-game road trip, might add to the immediate burden, but Holmberg thinks the players will really appreciate the nod when they have more time to reflect.
“When you get into the offseason or come Christmas time, it’s always nice to reflect and say to yourself, ‘Man, I was an all-star.’ If these guys could really understand the guys that didn’t make it, how important their roles (were) in promoting our five all-stars into that role,” he said.
Terry, the league’s defending home run champ, has 12 homers and 36 RBIs. Terry is hitting .313 with an NWL-best .618 slugging percentage.
Arias, who has played third, short and second base for the Indians but will start at third for the NWL, is hitting .362 and with an on-base percentage of .444. He has hit three homers with 25 RBIs and is tied for third in the league with 27 runs.
Ventura is hitting .273/.309/.500 with five home runs and 16 RBIs. He has hit .326 over his last 10 games and has five homers in his past 12 games.
Crouse, who pitches Tuesday in the series finale against Hillsboro, is 5-1 with a 2.37 ERA – which would lead the league by a wide margin if he qualified for the minimum innings count.
Crouse has 47 strikeouts in 38 innings and allowed 25 hits and 11 walks in eight starts. Crouse is the No. 5 prospect in the Texas Rangers’ system, according to MLB.com.
Clase leads the league in saves with eight. In 14 appearances, the hard-throwing righty has a 1.10 ERA and 0.73 WHIP with 17 strikeouts and just five walks in 16 1/3 innings.
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