The South Atlantic League announced the rosters for the league’s 57th All-Star Game on Tuesday, and the Delmarva Shorebirds had four players named to the initial Northern Division team.
Yermin Mercedes, Alex Murphy, Garrett Cleavinger and Ryan Meisinger have been selected to represent the ‘Birds during the showcase, which will be held on Tuesday at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington, Ky. This marks the third consecutive year in which at least three Shorebirds have been named all-stars.
“We are very glad to see these four well-deserving players selected to the SAL All-Star Game,” Shorebirds general manager Chris Bitters said. “They have provided plenty of great moments for our fans in the first half, and we are excited to see them showcase their skills on this big stage.”
Yermin Mercedes will serve as the Northern Division’s starting catcher after posting an impressive first-half offensively. He leads the Shorebirds in nearly every offensive category, and his .337 batting average as of June 7 ranks third among qualified hitters in the South Atlantic League.
Mercedes, who was signed as a free agent by the Orioles in 2014, was the South Atlantic League’s Player of the Week for April 18-24 after hitting .520 (13-for-25) in six games along with five doubles, two triples a home run and 10 RBIs. He also reached base safely in 16 consecutive games from May 7-24. He has also shown the ability to come through in key situations, as he has posted a ridiculous .377 average (20-for-53) with runners in scoring position with eight of those hits going for extra bases.
Alex Murphy has been one of the most versatile players for the Shorebirds in the first half, and he has been rewarded by being named the Northern Division’s starting designated hitter. Murphy has appeared in 52 games at catcher, first base and designated hitter as of June 7. His nine home runs are tied for second most in the South Atlantic League, and he enjoyed a power surge of hitting six round-trippers in a 10-game span from May 25-June 4.
Murphy, a sixth round pick of the Orioles in the 2013 draft, has also been one of the Shorebirds’ most consistent on-base threats, as he reached safely in 22 straight games from May 2-25. Finally, Murphy leads the Shorebirds with 32 RBIs and nine multi-RBI performances.
Garrett Cleavinger will represent the Shorebirds out of the bullpen after a dominant first half. He is tied for the team lead with five wins while posting a 1.62 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 14 appearances (33.1 ip). Cleavinger, a third round pick of the Orioles in the 2015 draft, was named Baltimore’s Minor League Pitcher in the Month in April after allowing just three runs in 14.2 innings while striking out 21 batters.
Cleavinger followed up a stellar April with an impressive May, where he did not allowed a run in his last six appearances (12.1 IP). Opponents are hitting just .202 against him, and his 12.23 K/9 IP ratio ranks sixth in the SAL.
Ryan Meisinger has shown periods of total domination on the mound as he, his miniscule 0.70 ERA and his league-leading 14.03 K/9 IP ratio will be heading to Lexington. He has struck out 40 batters in just 13 games (25.2 IP) while walking eight.
Right-handed hitters have managed to hit just .131 (8-for-61) against him, and he had a string of eight straight scoreless appearances from Aprill 22-May 28. He has struck out three or more batters in eight of his 13 appearances, including a career-high seven hitters on May 19 against Lakewood.
Fans will be able to follow along with all the festivities at the SAL All-Star game on MiLB.com, theshorebirds.com and the Shorebirds’ many social media outlets.
Tickets for all remaining Shorebirds home games during the 2016 season are on sale now. They can be purchased in person at the Arthur W. Perdue Stadium Box Office, by phone at 4100-219-3112 or online at theshorebirds.com.