Baseball America honors four Baby Bombers

Sanchez, three others named Baseball America All-Stars
09/14/2012 1:46 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Mark Montgomery finished the year in Trenton after a monster first half in Tampa.(Mike Ashmore)
The post-season accolades keep rolling in for Baby Bombers, as four players in the Yankees’ Minor League system were named to Baseball America’s 2012 Minor League All-Star Teams on Friday.

Catcher Gary Sanchez received the highest honor, being named as the backstop on BA’s overall Minor League All-Star squad. The 19-year-old split the season between Class-A stops in Charleston and Tampa, where he hit .290 overall, led all Minor League catchers with 18 home runs, and drove in 85.

As for the other three, pitcher Mark Montgomery, first baseman/outfielder Tyler Austin, and first baseman Saxon Butler all earned spots on the publication’s Classification All-Stars lists, which highlight the top 14 players from each class – Triple-A, Double-A, all three Class-A levels, and the Rookie Leagues – based solely on what they accomplished at that level.

Montgomery, who split the season between High Class-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, earned the lone relief pitcher spot on the High-A list thanks to his dominance of the Florida State League. While with the T-Yanks, the 22-year-old fireballer posted a 4-1 record and 1.34 ERA in 31 games, notching 14 saves and fanning a whopping 61 batters in just 40.1 innings pitched. That line earned him a nod as a Florida State League All-Star, and eventually also earned him the promotion to Trenton in mid-July.

Austin, who began the year at Low Class-A Charleston and also played alongside Montgomery with both the T-Yanks and Thunder, earned an outfield spot on the Low-A list thanks to the impressive numbers he put up in the first half of the season. During his tenure with the RiverDogs, the 21-year-old slugger hit .320 with 14 home runs, 54 RBI, 22 doubles, and a 1.002 OPS en route to being named a South Atlantic League All-Star; he was promoted to Tampa in early-July, and then joined Trenton over Labor Day weekend for the Thunder’s playoff run.

Butler, meanwhile, earned the DH/utility spot on the Short-Season Class-A list thanks to his strong numbers in Staten Island. In his six weeks with the SI Yankees, Butler, who was the organization’s 33rd-round pick in the 2012 draft, hit .296 with a team-leading 10 home runs, 36 RBI, 14 doubles, and a .990 OPS before earning a promotion to Charleston for the final month of the season.

The Yankees did not place a player on either the Triple-A or Double-A squads, which are voted on by Baseball America staff, but both contain a handful of names Yankees fans may recognize; Mets pitcher Matt Harvey and Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo among others were on the Triple-A team, while Rangers prospects Mike Olt and Jurickson Profar – both of whom are in the Majors with Texas right now – and Mets farmhand Zack Wheeler all made the cut at Double-A.

On the overall squad, Sanchez was joined by both Olt and Profar, as well as one other familiar name in Delino DeShields, Jr. Fans may remember the elder Delino DeShields as a speedy second baseman for five MLB teams in the 1990s, and like his dad, Junior, who is in the Astros system, is also a speedster – stealing a total of 101 bases (while also hitting .287 with 12 homers) between a pair of Class-A stops.

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