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Announcing the 2023 Ballpark Digest Atlantic League Mid-Season All-Stars

We’re delighted to once again bring you first-half honors in partnership with the Atlantic League, as we announce the 2023 Ballpark Digest Mid-Season All-Star team, made up of 16 players and two managers from the circuit’s 10-team North and South Divisions.

Some familiar names are part of this lineup, and there are other names you’ll see in the future at other levels of ball. The All-Stars are based on a vote of Atlantic League managers.

“The quality of this All-Star team is reflective of the outstanding first half of play in the Atlantic League,” said League President Rick White. “The players represent an amazing array of talent within the league and I look forward to watching a great second half of play.”

The lone unanimous selection in All-Star voting: second baseman Shed Long, Jr. of the High Point Rockers, shown at the photo at the top of this page. Long leads all ALPB second basemen with a .333 average while adding six home runs and 29 RBI. The former MLB second baseman with the Seattle Mariners helped the Rockers tie for the South Division first half championship along with the Gastonia Honey Hunters.

Long, Jr.’s teammate with the Rockers, Beau Taylor, earned the managers’ vote as the top first-half catcher in the league. Taylor, who has spent parts of four years at the MLB level, ranks sixth in the ALPB with a .342 batting average and leads his team with two grand slams.

Other Rockers to make the All-Star team include starting pitcher Mickey Jannis, the league co-leader with eight wins and one of the few knuckleball pitchers remaining in the game. Rockers’ closer Ryan Dull shares the Atlantic League lead with 13 saves and has successfully converted all 13 save opportunities. High Point manager Jamie Keefe (above) was named the South Division’s All-Star manager after guiding the Rockers to a 41-22 first half record and a division co-championship with Gastonia.

Wally BackmanNorth Division first half champion Long Island is represented by manager Wally Backman (right), who guided the Ducks to a 37-26 North Division co-championship with York. Starting pitcher Stephen Woods, Jr. went 7-2 with a 3.77 ERA to earn a spot among the All-Star starting pitchers. Woods, Jr. recently had his contract purchased by the Fubon Guardians of the Chinese Professional Baseball League. Reliever Al Alburquerque, a seven-year MLB veteran, has gone 3-0 with a 0.75 ERA and holds the ALPB’s longest stretch of consecutive outings without allowing an earned run at 25 straight and counting.  

Carlos FrancoThird baseman Carlos Franco of Gastonia (left) is the only player on the Mid-Season All-Star team to repeat from 2022. Franco ranks among the top four in the ALPB with a .374 average, 17 home runs and 59 RBI this year after earning the honor at York last season. Franco will play the second half of the season with Tabasco in the Mexican League. Also representing the Honey Hunters is outfielder Zach Jarrett, who hit .283 with 17 homers and 54 RBI during the first half of the season, and DH Braxton Davidson, who hit .281 with 12 homers and 29 RBI while splitting time between DH, first base and right field in the first half.

Thomas DillardJoining Long, Jr. and Franco in the infield is first baseman Thomas Dillard of Lexington (right) and shortstop Trent Giambrone of York. Dillard leads the league with 23 homers and 61 RBI for the Counter Clocks. Giambrone is tops among ALPB shortstops with 14 homers and 50 RBI while also hitting .289 in the first half.

Alongside Jarrett, the Atlantic League managers chose outfielders Bobby Bradley of Charleston and Leobaldo Cabrera of Spire City to the All-Star squad. Cabrera’s 22 homers are second in the ALPB while he ranks third in the league in extra base hits and total bases. Bradley joined the Charleston Dirty Birds this spring and has slammed 20 homers while posting a .588 slugging percentage.

Spire City’s Jose Marmolejos was voted as the utility player on the All-Star team. The MLB veteran is hitting .320 for the Spire City Ghost Hounds with 13 homers and 25 RBI while spending time at first base, left field and DH.

The final two starting pitchers on the club are righty Nick Raquet of York and lefty Mitch Lambson of Southern Maryland. Raquet helped the Revolution tie for the North Division first half title while going 8-5 with a 3.52 ERA. He shares the league lead with eight wins while leading all hurlers with 92 innings and ranking second with 79 strikeouts. Lambson went 6-0 with a 2.23 ERA in eight starts in the first half for the Blue Crabs before moving to the Wei Chuan Dragons in the Chinese Professional Baseball League. 

2023 Ballpark Digest Atlantic League Mid-Season All-Star Team

C          Beau Taylor, High Point
1B        Thomas Dillard, Lexington
2B        Shed Long, Jr., High Point*
SS        Trent Giambrone, York
3B        Carlos Franco, Gastonia
OF       Bobby Bradley, Charleston; Leobaldo Cabrera, Spire City; Zach Jarrett, Gastonia
DH       Braxton Davidson, Gastonia
UTIL     Jose Marmolejos, Spire City
SP        Mickey Jannis, High Point, Stephen Woods, Jr., Long Island
SP        Nick Raquet, York; Mitch Lambson, So. Maryland
RP       Ryan Dull, High Point; Al Alburquerque, Long Island
Managers: Wally Backman, Long Island; Jamie Keefe, High Point

*Unanimous selection