AKRON Four members of the Akron RubberDucks, along with the team’s coaching staff, will represent the franchise at the 2017 Eastern League All-Star Game next week.
Shortstop Yu Chang, right-handed pitcher Cameron Hill, catcher Francisco Mejia and left-handed pitcher Thomas Pannone were selected to play for the Western Division squad by voting conducted by league managers, media members, and fans.
The game will take place at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester, New Hampshire, home of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, July 12 at 7:05 p.m.
After hosting the EL All-Star game and festivities last season, Akron will send a large contingent east for this year’s contest.
As defending 2016 Eastern League champions, Akron manager Mark Budzinski and his staff will manage the Western Division squad even though Budzinski was not with the team last season. New Hampshire Fisher Cats manager Gary Allenson and his staff will manage the Eastern Division team.
Mejia, the Cleveland Indians’ top prospect according to Baseball America, leads the EL in hitting with a .352 batting average, ranks second in slugging (.592) and ranks third in on-base percentage (.396). He’s been on a tear since returning to the lineup May 5 following a short stint on the disabled list and was named EL Player of the Week for June 5-11 in which he hit .609 (14-for-23), with three doubles, five home runs, 10 RBI and seven runs scored in a five-game span.
He and Pannone were selected through the league-sponsored fan voting, with Pannone having compiled a 3-1 record with a 2.01 ERA in nine starts with Akron. Since being called up to Akron on May 5 from Class-A Lynchburg, where he was named Carolina League Player of the Month for April, going 1-0 and posting a 0.00 ERA in 20.2 innings with 31 strikeouts.
Chang, a native of Taiwan, has become one of the RubberDucks top power hitters, leading the team in home runs with 17, which is tied for third in the EL. He also is fifthin the EL in extra-base hits with 32 and has scored a team-high 37 runs.
Hill has has been the RubberDucks’ most reliable reliever this season and in 20 appearances, he has logged 41.2 innings posting a team-bullpen-low 2.38 ERA, striking out 30 and converting on all three save situations. He ranks fifth in the EL in fewest base runners allowed per nine innings.
All four RubberDucks are first-time EL All-Stars. For more information on the all-star game, visit www.nhfishercats.com and www.easternleague.com.