Four Bulls Named to International League All-Star Team

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Four Bulls Named to International League All-Star Team

Four Durham Bulls players have been named to the 2005 International League All-Star Team. Shortstop B.J. Upton, outfielder Joey Gathright, catcher Pete LaForest and first baseman Eric Munson will all make their first all-star appearances when they represent Durham at the Triple-A All-Star Game to be played at Riley Field in Sacramento, CA on Wednesday, July 13th.

BJ Upton Eric Munson Joey Gathright Pete LaForest
Four Durham Bulls will be playing in the Triple-A All-Star game on July 13th, including (l to r) B.J. Upton, Eric Munson, Joey Gathright & Pete LaForest.

Upton, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2002 June Draft, is hitting .293 with six home runs and 34 RBI while ranking fourth in the league in hits (82) and stolen bases (20). Prior to the 2005 season, Upton was named as the No. 1 overall prospect in minor league baseball by Baseball America. He became the youngest player in the majors last season and youngest Tampa Bay Devil Ray ever when he made his major league debut on August 1st at 19 years, 11 months, 10 days old. Upton also became the first teenager to homer in a major league game since the LA Dodgers’ Adrian Beltre accomplished the feat in 1999 and joined the likes of Johnny Bench (1967), Robin Yount (1974-75), Gary Sheffield (1988), Ken Griffey Jr. (1989), and Alex Rodriguez (1995) to hit a home run in the majors as a teenager. Last season, he was the starting shortstop for the US team in the All-Star Futures Game.

Gathright, widely recognized as the fastest man in baseball, is currently ranked second in the league with 24 stolen bases while batting .303 with one home run and 15 RBI. His 43 combined stolen bases in 2004 tied for most steals among Devil Rays minor leaguers while his .331 combined batting average between Double-A Montgomery and Durham ranked as the second-highest in the organization. Gathright entered the 2005 season rated as the third-best prospect and fastest baserunner in the Tampa Bay organization by Baseball America.

Canadian-born catcher LaForest, currently tied for the league lead in home runs with 17, is making his first appearance in his fourth season as a Bull. LaForest, who is batting .279 with 39 RBI through 55 games, ranks fourth in the IL with a .605 slugging percentage. He became the first Bull in Triple-A history to hit three home runs in one game on Tuesday night in a 9-4 win over the Pawtucket Red Sox. LaForest’s 17 homers this season have already bettered his 2004 total (seven) and are six behind his career high of 23 home runs in a season (Orlando/Durham, 2002). He played with Team Canada at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, batting .308 with two home runs and seven RBI in eight games.

Munson, in his first season with the Durham Bulls, is batting .285 with 15 home runs and 44 RBI through 65 games. His 15 home runs rank fourth among International League leaders. In 2004, Munson spent his second consecutive season with the Detroit Tigers, hitting a career-high 19 home runs. His only previous Triple-A experience prior to this season came in 2002 when he led the International League in walks (77) while leading the Toledo Mud Hens in games played (136), at-bats (477), home runs (24) and RBI (84). The San Diego, CA native was the No. 3 overall pick in the 1999 June Draft after finishing his collegiate career at the University of Southern California ranked third in home runs (44), fifth in slugging percentage (.655), seventh in batting average (.356) and ninth in RBI (147).

Thanks to DBBC’s Matt DeMargel for this capcom story & these capcom photos.

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