Six Aeros will be accompanying Aeros manager Tim Bogar to the Eastern League All-Star Game July 11 - the highest number of players from the 12-team league.
Making the trip to Norwich, Ct., with Bogar are pitchers Randy Newsom and Reid Santos, first baseman Jordan Brown, shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, catcher Wyatt Toregas and right fielder Brian Barton.
'‘I'm not surprised at all that we placed so many guys,'' Bogar told me Monday aftrenoon from Erie, Pa., where the Aeros are playing on the second leg of a three-city road trip. "Jordan Brown is having a great year, Brian Barton is doing well and Asdrubal Cabrera is perhaps the best player in the league. Wyatt's catching abilities behind the plate set him apart, and enough
can't be said about the job Reid has done in a variety of roles for us and how Randy has stepped right into such an important closer's role.''
Bogar is right. Hoever, that doesn't always translate into the right players being picked (anyone remember Ronald "Bear" Bay going just last year?) But voters - media and fans - got it right this season. Consider:
Cabrera and Brown vied for the honor of the Aeros' first-half MVP, with the slick fielding Cabrera owning the third-best batting average in the league at .338 (91-for-269) featuring a league-high 64 runs scored.
But the slugging Brown has been just as important, checking in at sixth place in league batting average (.321), but owning league highs in hits (95) and doubles (25).
Toregas may be batting just .240 (41-for-171), but there's more to the selection of the catcher than the obvious stats - as Bogar said he considers Toregas' game-caling and defense to be among the leagues best.
While steady most of the first half, Barton has begun to take his game to another level over the last month of play. Plus, he's not afraid to take one - or two - for the team. In 75 games, Barton is batting .303 (82-for-271) with 11 doubles, seven home runs, 40 RBI and a minor-league-leading 24 hit-by-pitches.
That leaves the lefty Santos and side-arming righty Newsom - a pair of pitchers who have been instrumental in keeping the Aeros pitching staff ranked among the best in the league.
The do-it-all Santos started out as a late-inning reliever, moved over to closing when the team's original closer Bubbie Buzachero was promoted to Triple-A and has spent the last six game in the starting rotation. In 22 games, he's 5-1 with a save and a sparkling 1.99
ERA and 44 strikeouts.
All Newsom has done since he joined the team May 12 is go 12-for-12 in save opportunities while recording a 3-0 mark and 2.28 ERA along the way.