Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Five HarbourCats named to WCL All-Star team

There's a reason why Alex Real has the dirtiest uniform every night
Alex Real leads the list of HarbourCats selected for the West Coast League's All-Star game, which is set to be played at Royal Athletic Park on July 23rd. Teammates Alex DeGoti, Ty Provencher, Scott Kuzminsky and Austin Russell will also join "The Big Cat" on the North Division roster.

Real was a shoo-in to be selected. Not only is he a strong candidate for league MVP honours, but he may even have a shot at winning the Triple Crown (for leading the league in batting average, homers and RBI). Real is currently third in the league in hitting with a .390 batting average -- Kyle Knigge of the Cowlitz Black Bears leads with an even .400 mark. He's also tied for third in the league in homers (4) and tied for fourth in RBI (22). Perhaps most impressively, Real leads the league with a monstrous .610 slugging percentage and his OPS is a Barry Bonds like 1.046. Let's hope we get to see Real show off that power in the Home Run Derby, which is scheduled to start at 4 PM on July 23rd.

Both DeGoti and Provencher were expected to be named to the team; DeGoti has been the top offensive player on the team other than Real, while Provencher has been a steadying force on the 'Cats pitching staff. Kuzminsky has also turned in a very solid season so far, although a case could have easily been made for the inclusion of Bryan Conant, Ryan Keller or Will Ballowe. Unfortunately, Conant's stellar start on Sunday was likely too late to affect the selection process.

Russell was the biggest surprise of the five HarbourCats selected. His .309 batting average is 16th best in the league, but his slugging percentage is only .358 and he has knocked in only seven runs all year. His defense and base running have also been inconsistent, but you have to give him credit for holding his own against tougher competition than he normally faces in the NAIA. Given how things have transpired this summer, it's good to see a member of the Russell family get the benefit of the doubt for a change.

Roster quibbles aside, the bottom line is that fans will be in for a treat next Tuesday when the West Coast League's annual mid-season classic comes to town. Tickets are selling quickly, so you better pick yours up soon if you haven't already done so. Who knows how many future MLB players will be on the RAP field that night. Don't you dare miss it, because it might be five or ten years before you get to witness the next All-Star game in Victoria.

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