Zebulon – The Carolina League announced its Southern Division All-Star team today and the Carolina Mudcats placed a division best six players to the team as Isan Diaz, Jake Gatewood, Nate Griep, Freddy Peralta, Cody Ponce and Corey Ray were all named to the 2017 Carolina League All-Star Classic taking place at Haley Toyota Field in Salem, Virginia on Tuesday, June 20.
The Mudcats, the proud new High-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers, will be well represented in this year’s All-Star game as Carolina’s six All-Star selections gives them the most among the Southern Division teams. It also matches them with the Northern Division’s Wilmington Blue Rocks for the most overall All-Star selections for a team in the 2017 Carolina League All-Star Classic.
Diaz is batting .225/.329/.404 with nine home runs and 37 RBIs for the Mudcats this season. The 21-year-old shortstop is currently tied for eighth in the Carolina League in extra-base hits (21), tied for fourth in home runs (9) and tied for second in games played (61) this season. Diaz was also a 2016 Midwest League mid-season and post-season All-Star for the Low-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers last season. He was also a mid-season and post-season All-Star in the Pioneer League with Missoula in 2015.
The Brewers acquired Diaz in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks before the 2016 season. He came over to the Brewers along with pitcher Chase Anderson and infielder Aaron Hill for shortstop Jean Segura and pitcher Tyler Wagner in January 2016. Diaz was originally drafted by the Diamondbacks in the second round (No. 70 overall) of the 2014 Draft.
Griep, 23, has been the Carolina League’s most dominant closer in 2017 having totaled a league best 12 saves this season. He is currently 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA and 19 strikeouts over 21.1 innings pitched. Griep has also held opponents to a .192 batting average so far this year, including a razor thin .045 average against when facing left-handed hitters. Griep was a 2016 Midwest League post-season All-Star, this is his first mid-season All-Star selection. The Brewers selected Griep in the eighth round of the 2015 Draft out of Kansas State University.
Gatewood has consistently ranked among the Carolina League leaders in nearly every major statistical category since the start of the 2017 season. The 21-year-old infielder currently ranks first in the league in games (62), fourth in runs (117), fourth in hits (69), second in doubles (21), tied for fourth in home runs (9), second in extra-base hits (30), ninth in RBIs (33) and eighth in OPS (.881).
Gatewood opened the year batting .329/.433/.573 with four home runs and eight doubles in April and was later named the Milwaukee Brewers Minor League Player of the Month for April. He also hit safely 23 consecutive games between April 21 and May 15 setting the longest hitting streak in the Carolina League this season and matching the Mudcats’ franchise record for consecutive games with a hit. Gatewood was also a mid-season All-Star with the Low-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in 2016. This is his second consecutive mid-season All-Star selection as he was also named a 2016 Midwest League All-Star. Gatewood was selected by the Brewers in the first round (CBA, No. 41 overall) of the 2014 Draft.
Peralta, 21, leads the league with a 12.8 K/9ip ratio and has pitched to a 2.81 ERA over 11 games and seven starts for the Mudcats this season. He has totaled 73 strikeouts over 51.1 innings pitched and is second in the league in strikeouts, third in average against (.196) and fifth in earned run average (2.81) this year. Peralta has struck out nine in a game three times this season, with occurrence matching his career high.
This is Peralta’s second consecutive All-Star selection. He was also a mid-season All-Star with the Low-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in 2016. He was acquired via trade by the Brewers from the Seattle Mariners, along with pitcher Carlos Herrera and pitcher Daniel Missaki, in exchange for first baseman Adam Lind in December 2015.
Ponce, 23, has been a workhorse for the Mudcats this season having pitched through the seventh inning in seven of his 12 starts. He is currently second in the league in innings pitched (73.0) and second in the league in lowest BB-IBB/9ip ratio (1.23) having walked just 10 batters so far this year. Ponce is currently 5-5 with a 3.70 ERA and 59 strikeouts over 12 starts for the Mudcats. This is his first All-Star selection. Ponce was selected by the Brewers in the second round of the 2015 First-Year Player Draft out of Cal Poly Pomona.
Ray missed the first nine games of the 2017 season, but is currently seventh in the Carolina League in doubles (14) and is tied for fourth in stolen bases (14). Ray is batting .255/.352/.411 over 47 games and has totaled 49 hits with two triples and four home runs this season. The 22-year-old outfielder also hit .290/.368/.430 with 12 runs, six doubles, a triple, two home runs and 16 RBIs in May. The Brewers selected Ray in the first round and with the fifth overall pick in the 2016 Draft out of the University of Louisville.
More information regarding the 2017 Carolina League All-Star Classic is available at salemsox.com and by calling (540) 389-3333. Players were selected by a vote of managers, general managers and local media representatives.
The Carolina Mudcats are the proud new Carolina League, Class-A Advanced affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. First established in 1991, the two-time Southern League Champion Mudcats are in their 27th consecutive season of baseball at Five County Stadium in Zebulon, N.C.