MIDLAND, Mich. – After what has already been a historic start to the season, the Great Lakes Loons are proud to announce five players have been selected to the 2019 Midwest League All-Star Game to be held in South Bend, Ind., June 17-18.
Outfielder Niko Hulsizer and infielders Miguel Vargas and Dillon Paulson will be joined by pitchers Austin Drury and Jose Chacin as they represent the Los Angeles Dodgers at one of Minor League Baseball’s premier showcases. Hulsizer and Vargas were also named starters.
It’s the most Loons players named to the MWL East roster since seven traveled to Fort Wayne, Ind., in 2010 when Christian Lara and Jerry Sands headlined the group, and Sands was named the game’s MVP after hitting a two-run home run.
Hulsizer, 22, has been one of the best power hitters in the MWL this season crushing 13 home runs and driving in 44 runs. He ranks second in both of those categories behind fellow all-star Will Benson of the Lake County Captains. He also trails only Benson in slugging percentage (.592), on-base plus slugging (.977) and total bases (106). Drafted by the Dodgers in the 18th round out of Morehead State, Hulsizer is expected to be a participant in the Home Run Derby, something he’s familiar with after winning the 2017 College Home Run Derby.
Every player will go through slumps throughout a season, but for Vargas, those have been few and far between. The 19-year-old has taken off in his second season as a professional hitting .316 (4th) with a .405 on-base percentage (3rd), leading the team in both categories. The young Cuban had a 16-game on-base streak throughout most of April accruing a staggering .493 OBP during that stretch.
Much like his infield mate, Paulson was scorching hot during a 16-game run. The 21-year-old drew 22 walks and had an OBP of .526 during that time. His OBP was 48 points higher than any other player in the MWL and was the second highest in all of MiLB during that stretch. Plus, he’s the second player in franchise history to hit two grand slams in one season (Nick Akins, 2011).
Drury, 21, had himself one heck of a month of May to earn his spot on the all-star team. Coming exclusively out the bullpen, the lefty tossed 13.1 innings allowing just one earned run. He had an impressive 18 K/3 BB ratio with a 0.68 ERA.
Chacin has been a utility arm for the Loons this season making 10 appearances, with six of them being starts, logging a healthy 45.2 innings to this point this season. The 22-year-old is in his fourth professional season with the Dodgers.
The Loons have been a powerhouse offensively to the tune of 308 runs, tops in the MWL. They are on pace (137 games) to score 767 (5.6/game) runs this season, which would be 55 more than the Loons highest scoring season of 2010 (140 games). They also went an eye-popping 22-7 in the month of May this year. It’s the second time ever the franchise as won 22 games in a month (24; July 2010) and the second time ever with 12 road wins in a month (12; July 2010).