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July 2012 Prospect Profile: Charleston's All-Stars

07/20/2012 9:51 AM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Mason Williams was promoted to Tampa after an All-Star nod in Charleston.(milb.com)
The Charleston RiverDogs hosted the South Atlantic League’s All-Star Game on June 19, and when it came to All-Stars in the Yankees’ Minor League system, it was Low-A leading the way there as well.

Charleston had six total South Atlantic League All-Stars, five of which were elected on the “original” roster with the sixth (outfielder Mason Williams) later added as an injury replacement – and when all was said and done, that total tied with Trenton for the most in the organization.

All six RiverDogs chosen made an appearance in the Sally spectacle, and even though the South Division dropped a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to the North, it was a pair of Baby Bombers who almost brought them to a come-from-behind victory.

The North held a 3-0 lead as Hagerstown’s Aaron Barrett took the mound for the bottom of the ninth inning, and Charleston outfielder Tyler Austin immediately greeted him with a triple to right field. Two batters later, RiverDogs catcher Francisco Arcia singled Austin home, making it 3-1 North with one out.

Arcia would move to third when Gavin Cecchini reached on an error and then scored on an RBI groundout by Harold Riggins, but Barrett would shut the door by striking out Travis Taijeron, holding on with the tying run (Cecchini) in third to get the save for the North.

Despite the loss, the game was a success for the ‘Dogs as a whole. Austin started and played the whole game in right field, going 1-for-4 with that triple and run scored, while fellow starter Gary Sanchez (who was the game’s leading vote getter) was 1-for-2 in his time behind the plate. As for the reserves, Williams was 0-for 2 after entering in the fifth inning, and Arcia was 1-for-2 with that RBI single after replacing Sanchez in the sixth.

The two Charleston pitchers selected also played well, as Bryan Mitchell needed just 10 pitches to complete a perfect fourth inning, while Pedro Guerra was called upon with two outs in the ninth and promptly struck out the only batter he faced.

Since then, three of the six Charleston All-Stars – Austin, Sanchez, and Williams – have been promoted to Advanced Class-A Tampa. Through July 15, all three were struggling a little, as Williams was hitting .182 with a home run and two RBI in 11 games for the T-Yanks, while Sanchez was at .207-2-3 with six runs scored in eight contests. Austin, meanwhile, was still on the disabled list after going 0-for-2 in his only Tampa tilt on July 3.

As for the trio still in South Carolina, two of those three have all gotten off to slow second-half starts as well. Arcia, who is now the RiverDogs’ primary catcher, was hitting .209 with one homer and seven RBI in the second half through July 15, while on the mound, Mitchell had made five starts – going 2-2 with an 8.86 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings. Guerra, however, was still pitching very well out of the bullpen, going 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA, two saves, and 15 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings over seven appearances.

Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroYES

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