The Midwest League’s Western Division All-Star Team will feature three Clinton LumberKings this season. Clinton is the Miami Marlins Single-A affiliate.
The Clinton LumberKings may be the new kid on the block in the Miami Marlins minor league organization, but that does not mean they aren’t making a name for themselves in a short amount of time.
Clinton (Iowa) is Miami’s Single-A affiliate and replaced the Greensboro Grasshoppers after the 2018 season.
"Per Erik Oas of the team’s public relations department, “The Midwest League’s Western Division All-Star Team will feature three Clinton LumberKings this season; outfielder Jerar Encarnacion and pitchers Chris Vallimont and Humberto Mejia. Encarnacion will be the only Clinton starter when the league’s best talent meets on Tuesday, June 18th in South Bend, Indiana for the 55th annual Midwest League All-Star Game at Four Winds Field.”"
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Vallimont is someone we here at Marlin Maniac have highlighted for his success on the mound this season. He was named the Midwest League Pitcher of the Week for May 20-26.
The big (6-foot-5, 220 pounds) is one of the young arms the team is banking on to make an impact in the process of this reorganization of the minor league system. The 22-year-old is from Erie, Pennsylvania and was drafted by the Miami Marlins 5th round of the 2018 MLB Draft out of Mercyhurst College.
Per the team’s website, he was named the LumberKings Opening Day starter and has not missed a start for Clinton this year.
Encarnacion is someone to watch for in the future. Since arriving in Clinton, he has been a steady performer since Opening Day.
"“Encarnacion, 21, has been among the league leaders in most major offensive categories,” Oas added. “At the time of being named an All-Star, he was ranked second in the league in hits (64), fourth in total bases (100) and RBI (39), and seventh in batting average (.314).In addition to being a force in the middle of the LumberKings order, Encarnacion has been the everyday right fielder starting in 54 of the LumberKings 55 games.”"
Vallimont may have received more headlines this half of the season, but Mejia has been almost as proficient on the mound for Clinton. He owns a 5-0 record and 2.29 ERA at the time of his All-Star selection. The Marlins have solid pitching depth on all three levels of their minor league system.
"“The Midwest League All-Star break begins with the conclusion of the first half on Sunday, June 23rd,” Oas wrote. “The three LumberKings will be part of the Western Division All-Stars who fell in last year’s meeting in walk-off fashion in Lansing.”"