Filling out my All-Star Ballot
First, the rules: I cannot vote for any member of the Thunder. That's the Eastern League's rule, not mine. There's a section at the bottom of the ballot where I can write in the two best pitchers and the three best position players on the Thunder.
Now, the results.
First base: Brandon Snyder, Bowie Baysox.
The only real competition here is Brian Dopirak of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. That said, the competition isn't really that close. Snyder has a better average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Dopirak has more home runs and RBIs, but that's partly due to Snyder missing a few games with back spasms.
Edit: Well, it appears Snyder won't be joining in the festivities at Waterfront Park on July 15. He earned a promotion to Triple-A Norfolk and played his first game there tonight. Given this turn of events, it seems the obvious choice would Ryan Strieby of the Erie Seawolves, whom I initially overlooked on my first pass. His numbers: .291/.413/.976 with 14 home runs.
Second base: Brock Bond, Connecticut Defenders.
This one's tough. There's no real standout, but there are several pretty good ballplayers. I went with Bond because his .412 OBP is fifth in the EL and second among second basemen (Reegie Corona is first, but I can't vote for him). Also, hearing Waterfront Park P.A. Announcer Bill Bromberg say "Bond...Brock Bond" wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.
Third base: Danny Valencia, New Britain Rock Cats.
Confession: Part of the reason I picked Valencia was my desire to see him compete in the home run derby. His stats are pretty good, too: 13 doubles, four triples, six home runs, 26 RBIs and an .825 OPS.
Shortstop: Brian Friday, Altoona Curve.
This is another case where the Thunder have the best player (Eduardo Nunez) but I am barred from voting for him. In his stead, Friday will have to do. The Curve shortstop's .810 OPS gave him the edge over Binghamton's Ruben Tejada. Just 26 strikeouts in 159 at-bats doesn't hurt, either.
Outfield: Michael Taylor, Reading Phillies; Josh Reddick, Portland Sea Dogs; Juan Portes, New Britain Rock Cats
Taylor was easily the easiest choice on this list. His all-around numbers solidified both his five-tool status and possibly his future in Philadelphia's outfield. Reddick, although injured for a good chunk of the season, has put up impressive power numbers -- including a home run every 20 at- bats -- in his limited action. Portes was a bit of an unknown to me until I looked up his numbers. His .345/.407/.907 line made him a no-brainer for me.
Catcher: Josh Thole, Binghamton Mets
This 13th-rounder has torn up the Eastern League with a .413 on-base percentage and has walked six more times than he has struck out. Those number helped him edge Akron's super prospect Carlos Santana.
Pitchers: Tim Alderson, Connecticut Defenders; Kyle Drabek, Reading Phillies; Madison Bumgarner, Connecticut Defenders; Jeanmar Gomez, Akron Aeros
We're allowed to pick four pitchers, so I chose the two Giants' superstuds, although each has cooled off slightly of late. Kyle Drabek has shown no signs of slowing down since making the jump from Clearwater to Reading. Gomez's numbers are solid if not spectacular, but I'm making the selfish choice of trying to bring the man back to the site of his perfect game, the EL's first in 66 seasons.