2023 American Association All-Star Teams Named – East Division
American Association Daily provides insights, features, and recaps of the action from around the American Association of Professional Baseball League, as well as player and coaching profiles and transactions. In today’s edition, Robert Pannier looks at the rosters for the 2023 American Association All-Star game to be played in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, analyzing the selections.
The Lineup Is Almost Set
The American Association named their All-Star teams for the 2023 All-Star game to be held in Milwaukee with only one final player for each team to be selected by fans to complete the rosters. It is one of the deepest groups the league has ever produced, with 48 of the best players in the American Association named the team. Every club has at least two representatives, with the teams that played for the Miles Wolff Cup last season boasting the most representatives, eight.
Here is a look at the East Division roster by team.
(Starters for the East are italicized.)
Chicago Dogs: Josh Altmann, Matt Bottcher, Ryan Lidge
Josh Altmann is thriving in his first season in Chicago, hitting .285 with 12 home runs and 42 RBI in 46 games. Altmann was the Player of the Month in May and struggled through the first part of June, going on a streak where he had just two hits in 31 at-bats. He is still looking to regain his form, but a two-homer performance on the first day of July could bode well for a hot month.
Matt Bottcher was named by the American Association as the Player of the Month for June and has been red-hot of late, hitting .407 over his last seven games and .376 over his last 26. Bottcher is hitting .367 with 37 runs scored in 43 games. He has moved to the top of the Dogs order and has been spectacular in the leadoff spot.
Ryan Lidge has established himself as arguably the best catcher in the American Association over the last few seasons. This year he is the backup in the All-Star game, but is proving to be second to none, hitting .314 with 35 RBI in 39 games.
Cleburne Railroaders: José Sermo, Zach Nehrir, Mark Karaviotis, Hill Alexander, Joe Corbett
Jose Sermo is the front runner to win his second American Association MVP trophy, winning in 2018 as well. Sermo leads the league in home runs with 17 and has 46 RBI and a .276 batting average to add to his impressive resume.
Zach Nehrir is another player who has established himself as one of the best in league history. This year the outfielder started off slowly, but he has been a beast of late, hitting .309 over his last 25 games with 26 runs scored and 21 RBI. Nehrir is hitting .297 this season with 10 homers and 47 RBI. He has 43 runs scored and 12 stolen bases as well.
Mark Karaviotis is having a sensational year in his first season in Cleburne. The outfielder is hitting .298 in 46 games, homering 10 times. He has scored 32 runs and has 36 RBI to go along with 25 extra-base hits.
The three starting outfielders for the East Division team all come from Cleburne, as Hill Alexander rounds out the group. Alexander has become a real force since joining the Railroaders last year. This season he is hitting .306 with 13 home runs and 41 RBI in 47 games.
Right-hander Joe Corbett comes out of the Cleburne bullpen where he has put together a solid season, going 2-3 with a 4.50 ERA in 17 appearances. Corbett has not been scored upon in six straight appearances and eight of his last nine.
Gary SouthShore RailCats: Jesus Marriaga, DJ Wilkinson
Jesus Marriaga will be one of the starting outfielders for the East Division. The RailCats star was selected as the Player of the Month for June by This Week in the Association after hitting .353 with 27 runs scored and 27 RBI in 26 games. This season he is hitting .291 overall, scoring 29 runs and driving in 38.
DJ Wilkinson has been a surprise this season, taking over the closer’s role for Gary SouthShore and has dominated in the role, posting a 2.31 ERA to go along with six saves in 21 appearances. He has made it difficult for opponents to rally, giving up just 13 hits and eight walks in 23.1 innings while striking out 28.
Kane County Cougars: Tyler Beardsley, Daniel Bies, Jack Fox, Westin Muir
The Cougars have not gotten a lot of great offensive production this season, but this pitching staff has been spectacular, and it is not surprising that their four representatives all come from this group.
Tyler Beardsley is fifth in the league in ERA (2.56) and is 4-2. He has allowed just 49 hits in 63.1 innings, striking out 54.
Jack Fox is third in the American Association in ERA (2.29). The right-hander led the American Association in victories last season (11) and is tied for second this year (5). Fox gave up two or fewer runs in his first eight starts this year.
Westin Muir finally lost the first game of his professional career on Friday, but is still 3-1 and has the fourth best ERA in the league (2.52). He has given up one or fewer runs in six of his first eight starts.
Daniel Bies is one of the surprise stories of 2023. He entered spring-training battling for a spot on the roster and has pitched so well that he has taken over the closer’s role for the Cougars. The right-hander has been nothing short of spectacular, posting a 0.33 ERA in 19 appearances. He has only been scored upon in one appearance this season, allowing 20 hits and eight walks in 26.2 innings.
Lake Country DockHounds: Blake Tiberi, Mike Shawaryn
Blake Tiberi will be the starting third baseman for the East Division. Tiberi has been in the American Association for three seasons now, his first with Lake Country, however. This season the infielder is having his best professional campaign, hitting .308 in the first 43 games with 25 run scored and 15 RBI.
Mike Shawaryn played for the Boston Red Sox in 2019, and is in his first season in the American Association. He tossed a no-hitter earlier this year and was selected to the All-Star team after going 3-4 with a 3.88 in eight starts. The right-hander has walked only 17 batters while striking out 40 in 48.2 innings.
Milwaukee Milkmen: Roy Morales, Bryan Torres, Cam Balego, Gabriel Cancel, Frankie Bartow, Gregori Vasquez, Christian Young, Ryan Zimmerman
The Milwaukee Milkmen have the most representatives on the East Division team, with eight selected. This does not even include that the club will be managed by Milkmen Skipper Anthony Barone.
Roy Morales will be the starting catcher and with good reason. The veteran is hitting .333 with three homers and 29 RBI in 35 games. Morales has been hammering the ball over his last 10 games, recording five multiple hit contests and is 14-43 (.326) during the span.
Bryan Torres is the other starter from the Milkmen, starting at second base for the East. He is in his second season with the Milkmen, and has established himself as one of the best players in the league, hitting .333 with 40 runs scored and 22 RBI in 43 games.
Gabriel Cancel has been a huge pickup for Milwaukee this season. He reached AAA-Omaha (Kansas City Royals) last season, and has been spectacular in his first year in the American Association, hitting .301 in 43 games. Cancel can play anywhere on the infield.
Cam Balego has arguably been the second-best catcher in the East Division this season. The problem is that the top catcher is also on the Milkmen, but Barone has figured out a way to keep Balego in the lineup, and he has been a key player for Milwaukee this season, hitting .289 with 31 runs scored and 31 RBI in 40 games.
Milwaukee has the top pitching staff in the American Association, and it is not surprising that four of the pitchers on the starting staff made the All-Star squad. It begins with Christian Young, who is on his way to the top pitcher award this year. Young is 5-3 with a 2.00 ERA, and had a 23 consecutive innings scoreless streak in June. Young has allowed more than two runs just one time this season.
Gregori Vasquez has been one of the surprise stories in the American Association this season. He had previously pitched for the Gary SouthShore RailCats and the Kansas City Monarchs, but with marginal success. This season he is leading the league in ERA (1.93), and is 3-1, allowing just six walks and 27 hits in 37.1 innings pitched.
Frankie Bartow moved out of the bullpen and into the starting rotation this season and has been spectacular for the Milkmen. The right-hander is 3-3 with a 2.92 ERA in nine starts. He has yet to give up more than three earned runs in a start this year.
Ryan Zimmerman has established himself as one of the best starters an American Association history, but this may be his best season of all. Zimmerman is 5-1 with a 3.51 ERA in nine starts. He has allowed just 39 hits in 51.1 innings, striking out 45.
By Robert Pannier