Four TinCaps players will take part in the Midwest League All-Star game at 7 p.m. today in Dayton.
Starting pitcher Joe Ross, first baseman Luis Tejada, closer Roman Madrid and catcher Dane Phillips will represent Fort Wayne and the Eastern Division. Jeremy Baltz was originally selected as a starter for the game, but a groin injury kept him from joining the group.
As a coach, it’s always good to see a few players that are yours at the All-Star break, TinCaps manager Jose Valentin said. They put up some good numbers, and I think they just played the right way.
Madrid was one of the most dominant closers, and pitchers, in the league. He allowed four runs while tallying 12 saves for Fort Wayne in the first half.
Ross, the TinCaps No. 1 starter, had one of the best starts to the year of any Midwest League pitcher and also closed the first half strong. His 2.71 ERA is 11th among league pitchers and second out of the Fort Wayne starting rotation.
Phillips is one of the best offensive catchers in the league, while Tejada has put together a solid first half defensively. Tejada was the Defensive Player of the Month for April, and Phillips put up 17 RBI and a .265 batting average while splitting time at catcher.
I spent some time with them, tried to teach them correctly, make sure they can be good players, Valentin said. To see those guys reach their goal – one of them – always is good to see.
The second-year manager thought a few members of his roster might have been snubbed, too. A starting rotation that shined throughout the first half only got one nod, as did the bullpen.
In my opinion, we could have had more, he said. (Reliever Leonel) Campos, (reliever Matthew) Shepherd, (outfielder Alberth) Martinez I think deserved a spot there. But unfortunately, not too many guys can go.
The players who are going will be among 31 other Eastern Division All-Stars. Seventeen pitchers and 18 position players were added to the roster, first released June 5.
Valentin hopes the recognition for some of his players will give them the confidence to continue to excel, and for the others, that it will light a fire. Fort Wayne, he said, shouldn’t be home to these prospects for too long.
I want to see those guys move on to the next level, he said. I hate to see some guys go down, go backwards instead of going upstairs.