The Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds will send four players to the 57th South Atlantic League All-Star Game, which will be played on Tuesday June 21 at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington, Kent.
Catcher Yermin Mercedes, catcher-first baseman Alex Murphy, and pitchers Garrett Cleavinger and Ryan Meisinger have been selected to represent the Shorebirds. This marks the third consecutive year in which at least three Shorebirds have been named All-Stars.
Mercedes will serve as the Northern Division’s starting catcher after posting an impressive first half offensively. He leads the Shorebirds in nearly every offensive category and his .337 batting average ranks third in the league. Signed as a free agent by the Orioles in 2014, Mercedes was the South Atlantic League’s Player of the Week for April 18-24 after hitting .520 (13-for-25) in six games. Mercedes is batting .377 (20-for-53) with runners in scoring position and .438 against lefty pitchers.
A sixth-round pick in 2013 out of Baltimore’s Calvert Hall, Murphy has been named the Northern Division’s starting designated hitter. Murphy has played in 52 games at catcher, first base and DH. He is batting .268 with nine homers and 32 RBIs. He is tied for second in the Sally League in homers and he hit six in a 10-game span from May 25-June 4. He leads the team in RBIs and has nine multi-RBI games.
Cleavinger, drafted in round three last June, has been outstanding pitching out of the Delmarva bullpen. He is tied for the team lead with five wins while posting a 1.62 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 33 1/3 innings. Cleavinger was named the Orioles’ minor league Pitcher of the Month in April after allowing just three runs in 14 2/3 innings, while striking out 21 batters. Opponents are hitting just .202 against him and his 12.23 K/9 IP ratio ranks sixth in the SAL.
Meisinger, drafted in round 11 last June, is 3-2 with three saves and a 0.70 ERA and ranks first in the league with a 14.03 K/9 IP ratio. He has struck out 40 batters in 25 2/3 innings while walking eight. Right-handed hitters have managed to hit just .131 (8-for-61) against him and he had a string of eight straight scoreless appearances from April 22-May 28.
Delmarva is 31-24 and has the only winning record currently among the Orioles’ four full-season affiliates. The Shorebirds are in third place, five games behind division leader Hagerstown.
Fans will be able to follow along with all the festivities at the South Atlantic League All-Star game on MiLB.com, theshorebirds.com and the Shorebirds’ many social media outlets.