The South Atlantic League All-Star game took place on Tuesday night at the home park of the West Virginia Power. The Pittsburgh Pirates had their Low-A affiliate in West Virginia for the previous ten seasons before moving on to the Greensboro Grasshoppers this year. Five Greensboro players were on the North All-Star squad last night, which took home a 6-2 win.
Lolo Sanchez played the entire game in center field and batted lead-off. He went 1-for-5 with an RBI double that capped off the scoring. Sanchez is hitting .301/.377/.451 through 61 games, with ten doubles, six triples, four homers and 20 stolen bases.
Second baseman Rodolfo Castro also played the entire game. He went 1-for-2 with two walks and two runs scored. Castro hit .242/.306/.516 during the first half, with 14 homers, which ranks fourth in the SAL. He participated in the Home Run Derby and hit 17 homers total in two rounds.
Mason Martin (pictured above) started at first base and went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts. Prior to the game, he participated in the Home Run Derby and hit ten homers in the first round and 11 in the second round, only to be outdone by the player (Curtis Terry) who replaced him during the game at first base. Martin leads the SAL with 18 homers.
Catcher Grant Koch came on as a defensive replacement in the seventh inning and went 0-for-2 at the plate. He hit .233/.286/.330 in 47 games during the first half.
Pitcher Alex Manasa took the seventh inning and allowed a walk, while throwing a scoreless frame. He had a tough workload for only facing four batters, throwing 28 pitches (17 strikes). The final batter he faced fouled off nine straight pitches with two strikes before grounding out on the 14th pitch of the at-bat. Manasa has a 3.31 ERA in 70.2 innings, with 64 strikeouts and a 1.12 WHIP.
Pitcher Brad Case was also selected for the All-Star game, but he was promoted to Bradenton shortly after the All-Star teams were announced.
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.