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Eastern League All-Star Team Announced
08/24/2012 1:00 PM ET
Reading's Darin Ruf (Ralph Trout) and Richmond's Chris Heston (Real Life Studios)
Reading's Darin Ruf (Ralph Trout) and Richmond's Chris Heston (Real Life Studios) 

Portland, Maine - The Eastern League of Professional Baseball is pleased to announce the selections for the 2012 Eastern League All-Star Team as voted on by respective Eastern League team managers and coaching staffs, sportswriters, radio and television broadcast personnel and other members of the media. Statistics listed for all players are for games played in the Eastern League only and are for games played through Thursday, August 23, 2012.

Catcher:
Tommy Joseph, Reading Phillies/Richmond Flying Squirrels
(.255, 9HR, 43 RBI, 38 R)

This is the second straight season that Tommy Joseph has been named to the season ending All-Star Team for his respective league. After being selected as a catcher on the California League All-Star Team as a member of the San Jose Giants last season, Joseph started the 2012 campaign with the Richmond Flying Squirrels and batted .260 (79-for-304) with 16 doubles, eight home runs, 38 RBI and 32 runs scored in 80 games before being included in a trade to the Philadelphia Phillies as part of a deal for Hunter Pence on July 31st. The 21-year old was assigned to Reading following the trade and is hitting .232 (16-for-69) with four doubles and one home run in 20 games for the R-Phils. Joseph was the starting catcher for the U.S. Team at the MLB Futures Game in Kansas City and went 1-for-1 with a double, one RBI, one run scored and a walk. Just three days later he was the starting catcher for the Western Division at the 2012 Baseballtown All-Star Classic in Reading.

First Base:
Darin Ruf, Reading Phillies
(.312, 33 HR, 92 RBI, 86 R)

After being named a Florida State League All-Star last season with the Clearwater Threshers, Darin Ruf has put up even more impressive numbers this season for the Reading Phillies. The 26-year old is batting .312 (140-for-449) with 30 doubles, 33 home runs, 92 RBI and 86 runs scored in 128 games for the R-Phils this year. He currently leads the league in homers (33), total bases (271), extra-base hits (64), slugging percentage (.604) and OPS (1.005) and is also currently ranked among the league leaders in games played (128-tied 1st), RBI (92-tied 1st), runs scored (86-2nd), on-base percentage (.402-3rd), walks (61-4th), hits (140-4th), batting average (.312-4th), and doubles (30-tied 6th). Darin was selected as the Eastern League Player of the Week twice this season for the periods of May 7th-May 13th and August 13th- August 19th. He was also the starting first baseman for the Eastern Division at the 2012 Baseballtown All-Star Classic in Reading and went 1-for-1 with a double, one RBI, one run scored and one walk.

Second Base:
Cesar Hernandez, Reading Phillies
(.304, 2 HR, 51 RBI, 50 R)

Cesar Hernandez batted .304 (125-for-411) with 26 doubles, 11 triples, two home runs, 51 RBI, 50 runs scored and 16 stolen bases in 103 games for the Reading Phillies this season before earning a promotion to the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs on August 1st. Despite having not played in the Eastern League for nearly a month, the 22-year old still leads the league in triples (11). At the time of his promotion he was also ranked among the league leaders in hits (125-2nd), total bases (179-3rd), batting average (.304-7th), extra-base hits (39-tied 7th) and doubles (26-tied 7th). Hernandez was selected by Baseball America as the "Best Defensive Second Baseman" in the Eastern League this season and was also the starting second baseman for the Eastern Division in front of his home fans at the 2012 Baseballtown All-Star Classic in Reading and went 1-for-2 with one run scored.

Third Base:
Deibinson Romero, New Britain Rock Cats
(.261, 18 HR, 74 RBI, 60 R)

Deibinson Romero batted .256 with 11 homers and 58 RBI in 121 games in his Double-A debut with the Rock Cats last year and he has improved in nearly every category in his return to New Britain this season. Romero is batting .261 (114-for-436) with 20 doubles, 18 home runs, 74 RBI and 60 runs scored in 128 games for the Rock Cats this season. The 25-year old currently leads all Eastern League third baseman with a .946 fielding percentage and he is also ranked among the league leaders in RBI (74-5th), home runs (18-tied 5th) and walks (55-tied 9th).

Shortstop:
Niuman Romero, Erie SeaWolves
(.307, 8 HR, 64 RBI, 68 R)

Niuman Romero has set career-best marks across the board this season with the Erie SeaWolves, batting .307 (149-for-485) with 27 doubles, four triples, eight home runs, 68 runs scored, 64 RBI and 17 stolen bases in 125 games. In addition to his offensive performance Romero has also made just 12 errors in the field this season and currently leads all Eastern League shortstops with a .977 fielding percentage. The 27-year old has a league-best 149 hits this season and is also ranked among the league leaders in total bases (208-tied 4th), batting average (.307-7th), runs scored (68-tied 8th) and on-base percentage (.377-9th). Romero also started at shortstop for the Western Division in the 2012 Baseballtown All-Star Classic and went 2-for-2 with one run scored.

Outfielders
Zoilo Almonte, Trenton Thunder
(.283, 20 HR, 68 RBI, 61 R)

After hitting .251 in 46 games following a mid-July promotion in his Double-A debut with Trenton last season, outfielder Zoilo Almonte returned to the Thunder for the 2012 campaign and is batting .283 (108-for-381) with 23 doubles, 20 home runs, 68 RBI, 61 runs scored and 15 stolen bases in 96 games while helping lead the Thunder to first place in the Eastern Division standings. Despite missing a little over a month of the season with a hamstring injury when he was placed on the disabled list on April 20th, the 23-year old is still ranked among the leaders in slugging percentage (.507-2rd), home runs (20-4th), extra-base hits (44-tied 7th), RBI (68-8th) and OPS (.835-9th). Almonte is also tied for fifth in the league in outfield assists (10) and was named the Eastern League Player of the Week for the period of June 11th-June 17th after hitting .455 and driving in 10 runs in six games.

Aaron Hicks, New Britain Rock Cats
(.283, 12 HR, 55 RBI, 88 R)

New Britain outfielder Aaron Hicks entered the season rated by Baseball America as the fourth best prospect in the Twins organization and he has certainly lived up to that ranking while making his Double-A debut for the Rock Cats this year. The 22-year old former first round draft pick is batting .283 (121-for-427) with 20 doubles, eight triples, 12 homers, 88 runs scored, 55 RBI and 29 stolen bases in 118 games for the Rock Cats this season. He has been especially impressive over the second half of the season, batting .298 with 10 doubles and 37 runs scored in 40 games for the Rock Cats since the all-star break. Hicks currently leads the league in runs scored (88) and he is also ranked among the league leaders in triples (8-2nd), walks (70-2nd), stolen bases (29-5th), outfield assists (10-tied 5th) and on-base percentage (.380-7th).

Thomas Neal, Akron Aeros
(.310, 12 HR, 51 RBI, 76 R)

Outfielder Thomas Neal is batting .310 (118-for-381) with 22 doubles, 12 home runs, 76 runs scored, 51 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 110 games this season while helping lead the Akron Aeros to first place in the Western Division standings with a league-best record of 76-54. The 25-year old is currently ranked among the league leaders in OPS (.868-2nd), on-base percentage (.402-4th), runs scored (76-4th), batting average (.310-5th) and slugging percentage (.467-8th). He also leads all Eastern League outfielders with a .995 fielding percentage, making just one error while appearing in games at all three outfield positions. Neal was selected as the Eastern League Player of the Week for the period of June 25th-July 1st after hitting .500 with three homers and 10 RBI in seven games and he also started at designated hitter for the Western Division in the 2012 Baseballtown All-Star Classic in Reading and went 1-for-3 with one run scored, one walk and one stolen base.

Utility Player:
Brock Holt, Altoona Curve
(.322, 2 HR, 43 RBI, 52 R)

After hitting .288 in 132 games in his Double-A debut with Altoona last season, shortstop Brock Holt returned to the Curve this season and batted .322 (123-for-382) with 24 doubles, six triples, two home runs, 52 runs scored, 43 RBI and 11 stolen bases in 102 games before receiving a promotion to the Indianapolis Indians of the Triple-A International League on August 7th. The 24-year old has continued his hot hitting in his Triple-A debut, batting .377 in 16 games. Holt's .322 batting average leads the league and he is also currently tied for fourth in the league in triples (6). Brock was selected as a member of the Western Division roster for the 2012 Baseballtown All-Star Classic in Reading and went 1-for-2 with one stolen base.

Designated Hitter:
Chris Colabello, New Britain Rock Cats
(.286, 18 HR, 92 RBI, 71 R)

New Britain first baseman Chris Colabello is making quite the first impression in his first season in affiliated baseball after signing as a free agent with the Minnesota Twins last February. Colabello is batting .285 (131-for-458) with 36 doubles, 18 homers, 92 RBI and 71 runs scored in 123 games for the Rock Cats this season. The 28-year old didn't collect his first RBI until the seventh game of the season when he broke out with four RBI on April 13th at New Hampshire. Since that breakout performance Colabello has gone through a stretch of more than three straight games without an RBI just two times this season and he is currently tied for the league lead with 92 RBI. Chris also leads the league in doubles (36) and is ranked among the leaders in extra-base hits (55-2nd), total bases (223-2nd), slugging percentage (.487-5th), home runs (18-tied 5th), runs scored (71-7th), OPS (.840-7th) and hits (131-tied 7th).

Right-Handed Starter:
Chris Heston, Richmond Flying Squirrels
(9-6, 2.12 ERA)

Chris Heston made his Double-A debut for the Richmond Flying Squirrels on April 7th at New Britain and allowed just one hit over five shutout innings of work. The right-hander has continued to dominate the hitters in the Eastern League throughout this season, putting together a record of 9-6 with a 2.12 ERA in 23 starts for the Squirrels. In 136 innings pitched he has surrendered just 113 hits while striking out 123 batters and walking only 36. The 24-year old currently leads the league in ERA (2.12) and also ranks among the league leaders in WHIP (1.10-3rd), strikeouts (123-4th), batting average against (.230-6th), innings pitched (136-10th) and wins (9-tied 10th). The 24-year old was named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week for the period of May 21st-May 27th after going 2-0 with 20 strikeouts and a 0.64 ERA in two starts. Chris was the starting pitcher for the Western Division at the 2012 Baseballtown All-Star Classic and was selected by Baseball America as having the "Best Control" in the Eastern League this season.

Left-Handed Starter:
Michael Kickham, Richmond Flying Squirrels
(10-10, 3.04 ERA)

Richmond left-hander Michael Kickham has put together the best season of his short career in his Double-A debut with the Flying Squirrels this year. The 23-year old has posted a record of 10-10 with 125 strikeouts and a 3.04 ERA in 136.1 innings of work over 25 starts for the Squirrels. He has given up one run or less in 13 of his 25 starts this season and is one of only 13 pitchers in the Eastern League to throw a complete game shutout this season, blanking the Erie SeaWolves in the second game of a doubleheader on June 2nd at Richmond. Kickham currently ranks among the league leaders in batting average against (.223-2nd), strikeouts (125-3rd), ERA (3.04-4th), wins (10-tied 4th), games started (25-tied 5th) and innings pitched (136.1-9th) and was also named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week for the period of July 30th-August 5th after striking out 12 batters over 8.1 shutout innings.

Relief Pitcher:
Preston Guilmet, Akron Aeros
(2-2, 2.27 ERA, 21 Saves)

For the second straight season Akron Aeros relief pitcher Preston Guilmet has been selected as the relief pitcher on the season ending All-Star Team for his respective league. Guilmet was named a Carolina League All-Star after saving a league-high 35 games last year with the Kinston Indians and followed that up by converting 21 saves this season with the Aeros, which ties him for the league lead. Guilmet has appeared in 45 games with Akron and has a record of 2-2 with 45 strikeouts and a 2.27 ERA over 47.2 innings pitched. In addition to being tied for the league lead in saves, the 25-year old also currently leads the league in games finished (35) and is tied for third in appearances (45). Guilmet has converted each of his last five save opportunities for the Aeros, who have a league-best record of 76-54, and he has converted 21 of 25 chances for the season.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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