On Tuesday morning, the announcement was made as to who would be playing in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game on Tuesday, June 17 in Hickory, North Carolina. Four Charleston RiverDogs were chosen to play in the game, the second highest in the Southern Division. These four are pitchers Brady Lail and Caleb Smith, first baseman Mike Ford, and right fielder Aaron Judge. Ford and Judge will be starters in this year’s game.
With the draft just two days away, it’s been impressive to see what Judge, the 32nd pick in last year’s draft, has done so far this season. Judge has been on fire in Charleston, as he has hit home runs in each of his last three games, heading into Tuesday night’s action. Plus, he has 9 RBI in his last four games. He leads the team in batting average (.321), is tied for the team lead in homers with his teammate, Mike Ford (8), and is fifth in the entire league in RBI with 35.
Ford, a non-drafted free agent in 2013, had one of the better days of the season on May 25th, when he hit four home runs in one game at Hickory. Ford is hitting .301 on the season, which is third on the team behind Judge and outfielder Jose Rosario. Another aspect of Ford’s game you have to like is his plate discipline. His on-base percentage is third on the team and top ten in the league at .403.
As for the pitchers, 20-year-old starter Brady Lail, a 18th round pick in the 2012 draft, is one of three pitchers in the league with seven wins. Lail showed impressive control in the month of May, going 4-0 in five starts with a 2.33 ERA. Over those five games, he has struck out 34 batters and only walked three. He has thrown 58.2 innings and struck out 60 batters this season, leading the team in both categories.
Caleb Smith has a 2.41 ERA in 11 starts this season to go with a 4-4 record. The 22-year old and 14th round pick in last year’s draft has also been one of the pitchers in Charleston racking up the strikeout totals. His 56 K’s are second on the team, four behind Lail. Another interesting fact about Smith’s season is that he has only given up one home run this year.