Competitors ready for All-Star Monday

TinCaps Home Run Derby logo.

Press release from the TinCaps:

Competitors ready for All-Star Monday
Top talents go toe-to-toe in throwing contests, Home Run Derby

The lineups are tentatively set for the Midwest League Home Run Derby and Skills Challenge, set for Monday at Parkview Field. Six first-round draft picks are among the players expected to showcase their skills.

Two first-rounders from last year’s draft, Cedar Rapids OF Mike Trout and Clinton INF Nick Franklin, will slug it out in the Home Run Derby. They are expected to be joined by Quad Cities INF Matt Adams and Wisconsin OF Khris Davis as the Western Division’s contingency. Franklin ranks second in the league with 14 home runs. Davis wowed the crowd by launching an estimated 425-foot missile to center field earlier this month at Parkview Field.

From the East, Jerry Sands could be the early favorite after blasting a league-best 18 home runs for the Great Lakes Loons. Sands also paces the league with 46 RBIs and a .657 slugging percentage. Fort Wayne INF Nate Freiman is expected to hit at his home ballpark; the 6-foot-8 slugger has cracked six home runs and possesses immense raw power. South Bend INF Matt Davidson was a supplemental first-round pick by the Diamondbacks last year and has hit nine round-trippers this season. Dayton INF Henry Rodriguez has driven six long balls in the first half.

The Midwest League sluggers will be joined by 2010 Garrett High School grad Spencer Burns, who won the TinCaps’ Hometown Hitters competition which pitted Northeast Indiana’s top highschool hitters against each other. Burns topped Elmhurst High’s Kristian Gayday, 1-0, in a playoff on Wednesday. Burns, who will hit with an aluminum bat, will attend the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater this fall and play on the Warhawks’ football team which is an NCAA Division-III powerhouse.

Prior to the Home Run Derby, twelve All-Stars will take part in the MWL Skills Challenge. In the outfield throwing competition, Beloit’s Aaron Hicks, Quad Cities’ D’Marcus Ingram, Lake County’s Bo Greenwell and Fort Wayne’s Danny Payne are the probable participants. Hicks was a first-round selection by the Twins in 2008, is rated Minnesota’s top prospect and ranked as the best outfield arm in the Twins’ organization by Baseball America. Payne is among the league leaders with seven outfield assists this year and Greenwell is right behind with six.

Wisconsin’s Scooter Gennett, Peoria’s Hak-Ju Lee, Great Lakes’ Christian Lara and South Bend’s Chris Owings are expected to compete in the infield throwing challenge. Lee was a key signee for the Cubs out of South Korea and was rated the best prospect in the Short-A Northwest League last year. Owings was a supplemental first-round selection by the Diamondbacks in 2009.

Burlington’s Wil Myers, Kane County’s Max Stassi, Lansing’s A.J. Jimenez and Lake County’s Roberto Perez are set to display their arms in the catchers’ throwing competition. Myers is rated the Royals’ No. 3 prospect after being drafted in the third round last year. Stassi, only 19, is Oakland’s fourth-best prospect according to Baseball America. Jimenez and Perez are statistically the league’s best catchers when it comes to throwing out runners. Jimenez has thrown out 53 percent of runners trying to steal while Perez has cut down 47 percent.

The throwing events will test the players’ accuracy and arm strength. Competitors will throw toward targets with small bull’s-eyes in the center. Throws which hit the target count for a single point; throws hitting the bull’s-eye are worth three points.

Monday’s schedule is as follows:

  • 5:05-6:45 pm: Player autographs
  • 6:30 pm: Little League Home Run Derby
  • 7:30 pm: MWL Skills Challenge
  • 8:15 pm: MWL Home Run Derby
  • Post-event: Fireworks!

As a thank-you to fans for a successful first half of the season, the TinCaps are offering $1 soft drinks and beers at Parkview Field concession stands during Monday’s festivities.

Tickets are available for Monday’s Home Run Derby and Skills Challenge, as well as Tuesday’s Midwest League All-Star Game. Fans are encouraged to order tickets online at, by phone at (260) 482-6400 or in person at the Parkview Field box office.

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