MANKATO, MINN.—When the best players across the Northwoods League convene upon Carson Park in Eau Claire, Wis. for the annual All-Star festivities, the event will have a distinct Mankato flavor. The Mankato MoonDogs are proud to announce that a total of six MoonDogs were selected on Friday to represent the North Division in the 19th Northwoods League All-Star Game.
The MoonDogs’ six All-Stars are the most of any team in either division of the Northwoods League. The Waterloo Bucks, Wisconsin Rapids Rafters and the Madison Mallards all came in second with five selections each.
Mankato is no stranger to sending players in large numbers to the All-Star game, as their 2012 roster had five All-Star selections, along with four in 2011.
The All-Star rosters were selected in a vote by the coaches and media of the16 member teams of the Northwoods League.
The 2013 Mankato MoonDogs All-Stars are:
Cameron Giannini (JR, RHP, Southern Mississppi)- Giannini quickly established himself as the ace of the MoonDogs’ pitching staff, and has the stats to prove it. The six-foot-three-inch right-hander is tied for the Northwoods League lead with five wins and is second on the MoonDogs and eighth in the league with a 2.25 ERA over 46.1 innings pitched. His durability on the mound, with six of his last seven starts lasting five or more innings, can be attributed to his ability to throw strikes, as Giannini currently paces the entire Northwoods League with 50 strikeouts.
Jess Amedee (SO, RHP, Texas-Arlington)- If the North Division All-Stars will be looking to hold on to a lead at the end of the All-Star Game, they will no doubt be looking toward Jess Amedee to get the job done. Amedee is second in the NWL with eight saves and leads the MoonDogs with a 1.32 ERA in 16 appearances and 20.1 innings pitched. The six-foot-one-inch Fort Collins, Colo. native has tossed 34 strikeouts to only ten walks and 16 hits allowed.
Timothy Arakawa (SO, OF, Oklahoma St.)- The speedy Honolulu, Hawaii native has quietly built himself an impressive stat line in the first half for the MoonDogs. Through 43 games, the outfielder is among the Northwoods League leaders in a variety of areas, including runs scored (4th-37), hits (5th– 58), and stolen bases (2nd- 24). Arakawa is also leading the MoonDogs and fifth in the league with a .352 batting average, mostly through playing in the lead-off slot.
Chase Simpson (SO, 2B, Wichita St.)- One of two returning MoonDogs from 2012, Chase Simpson makes his first trip to the All-Star Game. The slugger from Flower Mound, Texas is always a threat in the batters’ box, racking up 43 hits and a team-leading 29 runs batted in through 41 games this summer. Simpson has made the biggest impact with his power however, as he has compiled nine doubles, two triples, and seven home runs, which was near the top of the Northwoods League standings throughout the First Half.
Matt Wollenzin (JR, C, Austin Peay St. Univ.)– Also set to make the trip to Eau Claire is MoonDogs catcher Matt Wollenzin, another one of the key reasons that Mankato leads the Northwoods League with a .422 slugging percentage. Splitting time this summer with Matt Jones (Southern Illinois), Wollenzin has batted his way to a .318 average which is good for fifth on the MoonDogs roster. Through 21 games, eight of Wollenzin’s 21 hits went for extra bases; four being home runs (including a ninth-inning grand slam on July 2 against Waterloo). His .561 slugging percentage is third-best on the MoonDogs.
Jonathan Rodriguez (JR, OF, Oklahoma City)– Rounding out the MoonDogs representing Mankato in the All-Star Game is Jonathan Rodriguez. The six-foot outfielder from Anaheim, Calif. is second on the MoonDogs with 27 runs batted in through 38 games this summer. Rodriguez is adept at not only bringing runs home but also reaching base himself, as he is second only to Arakawa with 44 hits, ten being for extra bases.
The Northwoods League All-Star festivities begin on Monday, July 22 with a celebratory banquet at the Plaza Hotel & Suites, sponsored by Visit Eau Claire and the Plaza Hotel & Suites. Tickets are available to the public for $50 each, and the event includes a full banquet meal including an appearance by former Minnesota Twins manager Tom Kelly, beginning at 6 p.m.
All-Star day at Carson Park includes a fan fest at 4 p.m., the Home Run Derby which will begin at 6 p.m. and the 19th annual All-Star Game which will begin at 7:35 p.m., which will conclude with a fireworks extravaganza. For ticket information visit the Eau Claire Express website at www.eauclaireexpress.com.
Great seats are available to all remaining Mankato home games, on sale at the MoonDogs office located at 1221 Caledonia Street in Mankato, as well as over the phone at 507-625-7047. To stay up to date, Like the MoonDogs on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter (@MoonDogsBall), or visit the website at www.mankatomoondogs.com.