Short-Season Teams Produce Four All-Stars

Four Cubs prospects between Class Low-A Boise and the Mesa Cubs were named to All-Star teams on Thursday, the league's president Bob Richmond announced.

Richmond is president of both the Arizona and Northwest League's. Two players from the Hawks and two from the Mesa squad were given honors.

At Boise, first baseman Russ Canzler made the cut despite not being named an all-star at his position. The 20-year-old is batting .272 with a Hawks franchise record 16 home runs and was selected to the all-star team as a designated hitter. He's hit 21 doubles and driven in 58 RBIs. Canzler leads the Northwest League in homers, doubles and RBIs.

"The ball has always come off his bat pretty good," Hawks manager Steve McFarland told Inside The Ivy of Canzler last month. "For his first time out of Mesa, he's having a pretty good year. His power numbers are up. He's starting to show the power that everybody thought he was going to have, plus the ability to drive in runs."

Canzler was a 30th-round draft pick from Hazleton Area High School in Pennsylvania in 2004.

Joining Canzler is left-hander Jeremy Papelbon, the Cubs' 19th-round draft pick from North Florida this past June. The brother of Red Sox reliever Jonathan Papelbon and twin brother Josh, 23-year-old Jeremy is 4-0 with three saves and a 1.49 ERA in 17 appearances. He has held opposing batters to a .168 average against in 42-plus innings.

"He's been very competitive," McFarland said of Papelbon. "Pitching out of the bullpen, he throws a lot of strikes, goes right after the hitters and shows a lot of poise. He pitches with a lot of confidence."

The Hawks swept last place Spokane on Thursday night for their fifth consecutive win atop the Northwest League's Eastern Division standings. With second place Tri-City dropping their third straight, the Hawks' magic number to clinch the division is down to one game as they now hold a six-game lead with only six remaining contests – all against Tri-City.

In Mesa, infielder/catcher Blake Parker and pitcher Taylor Parker were named all-stars for the Arizona Rookie League.

The former Parker was drafted from Arkansas in the 16th round this past June and hit .262 in 39 games for Mesa. He totaled two home runs, 13 doubles and one triple while driving in 18 runs, and was promoted to Class-A Peoria last week.

The latter Parker was drafted in the 21st round from Missouri and appeared in 14 games with the Mesa squad, making eight starts and going 2-2 with a 2.35 ERA overall. He whiffed 39 and walked 19 in 53 2/3 innings and posted the league's fourth best ERA for a minimum 50 innings total.

Mesa's season ended on Wednesday with the team finishing 21-34 overall.

Yakima's Cyle Hankerd and Peoria Padres outfielder Cedric Hunter were named MVPs of the Northwest and Arizona Rookie League's, respectively.

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