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Meet the Atlantic League 2022 Mid-Season All-Stars

2022 Atlantic League All-StarsWe’re proud to partner with the Atlantic League to present the 2022 Mid-Season All-Stars, as managers Goose Gozzo and Stan Cliburn run down the representatives from eight of the ALPB’s 10 clubs on a Ballpark Digest video.

Gozzo led the Gastonia Honey Hunters to the first-half title, with Cliburn doing the same for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. The All-Stars were selected by a vote of the league’s 10 managers.

“Our Atlantic League managers have selected a truly outstanding and representative team of Mid-Season All-Stars,” said league president Rick White. “These players represent an amazing array of talent. As a testimony to their skills, Major League Baseball has signed two of the team members in Marcus Walden and Colton Shaver.

“We are pleased to team up with Ballpark Digest for the first of what we hope will become an annual way to honor the Atlantic League’s premier players.”

“We’re very honored to work with our friends at the Atlantic League highlight these fine players and their accomplishments,” said Ballpark Digest publisher Kevin Reichard. “We look forward to working more with one of the premier leagues in all of baseball.”

Gozzo has overseen a remarkable turnaround of the Honey Hunters from 12 games under .500 in 2021 to winning the South Division first-half pennant in 2022 by 5.5 games. Cliburn led the Blue Crabs to the best winning percentage for any half-season in ALPB history as Southern Maryland went 48-18, a .727 clip. After winning the North second-half title in 2021, Cliburn has led the Blue Crabs to consecutive half-season titles.

The starting pitchers on the 2022 Atlantic League-Ballpark Digest Mid-Season All-Star team are lefty McKenzie Mills of Southern Maryland and righty Marcus Walden. Mills is 9-1 this season in 12 starts for the first-half North champions Southern Maryland. He leads the league in ERA at 2.99 as well as wins and ranks second with a .232 opponents batting average. Walden went 3-0 with first-half South champion Gastonia and allowed just 36 hits in 50.1 innings while posting a 2.86 ERA. Walden’s contract was purchased by the Milwaukee Brewers in late June and he is currently pitching at Class AAA Nashville.

The bullpen includes righthanders Tyler Wilson of Charleston and Endrys Briceno of Southern Maryland. Wilson has posted a 3-1 record with a 0.64 ERA while converting all 10 save opportunities. He put together a streak of 21 consecutive appearances without allowing an earned run and a nine-game streak of not allowing a hit.  Briceno is 4-0 with a 0.88 ERA in 30 appearances while converting all five save opportunities. In 30.2 innings, Briceno has yielded just 12 hits and 13 walks while striking out 49.

The four-man infield has a combined .323 batting average with 63 home runs and 242 RBI. Lancaster’s Kelly Dugan has been among the league leaders in batting average (.328), home runs (23) and RBI (68) throughout the year. Second baseman Joseph Rosa of Gastonia was the Atlantic League Player of the Month in April and is second in the Atlantic League with a .335 batting average and a .438 on-base percentage. Shortstop Elmer Reyes of York is hitting .315 with six homers, 44 RBI and eight games with three or more hits and a league-best 24 doubles. Third baseman Carlos Franco of York leads the ALPB with 75 RBI, 43 extra base hits and 58 runs scored while posting a .314 batting average and 23 home runs. He set a franchise record recently with a 50-game on-base streak.

The three outfielders on the Atlantic League-Ballpark Digest Mid-Season All-Star team have combined to hit .320 with 46 homers and 159 RBI.  Lexington’s Courtney Hawkins is the Atlantic League’s home run leader with 26 while ranking sixth with a .317 batting average and third with 68 RBI. High Point’s Ben Aklinski ranks third in the league with 20 doubles and fifth with 33 extra base hits while posting a .289 average with 11 homers and 41 RBI. Southern Maryland’s David Harris is the top hitter in the Atlantic League at .385 after hitting .422 since June 1. Harris has nine home runs and 50 RBI and is third in the ALPB with a .431 on-base percentage.

Zander Wiel of High Point earned the All-Star designated hitter spot. Wiel is hitting .277 with 56 RBI and 17 homers including four multi-homer games.

Colton Shaver of Lancaster is the league’s Mid-Season All-Star catcher. Shaver is hitting .266 with 16 doubles, 11 home runs and 41 RBI.

2022 Atlantic League-Ballpark Digest Mid-Season All-Star Team

C          Colton Shaver, Lancaster
1B        Kelly Dugan, Lancaster
2B        Joseph Rosa, Gastonia
SS         Elmer Reyes, York
3B        Carlos Franco, York
OF        Courtney Hawkins, Lexington
OF        Ben Aklinski, High Point
OF        David Harris, Southern Maryland
DH       Zander Wiel, High Point
SP        McKenzie Mills, Southern Maryland
SP        Marcus Walden, Gastonia
RP        Endrys Briceno, Southern Maryland
RP        Tyler Wilson, Charleston
Managers: Stan Cliburn, So. Maryland; Mauro “Goose” Gozzo, Gastonia

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