New Orleans Zephyrs pitchers Elih Villanueva and Chaz Roe were selected to the Pacific Coast League All-Star team released Thursday by the league.
Villanueva was picked as one of two pitchers, along with the Nashville Sounds’ Jimmy Nelson, among 12 starting players chosen by fan online voting. Roe, the Zephyrs’ closer, was selected as a reserve on the team comprised of 30 players, with each team represented. They were picked by the managers and media.
“I couldn’t be happier for both guys,” Zephyrs manager Andy Haines said. “Elih is so deserving just because of how consistent he’s been from his first start all the way to where we’re at in the season now.
“Roe got off to a little bit of a rough start, so that says a lot about him and the recognition he got in being selected.”
Villanueva is 8-5 with a 3.13 earned-run average. He is fourth in the league in wins, but was the first pitcher to reach eight, on June 18, and was tied for first as recently as June 23. His ERA was at 2.93 until Monday’s home outing against Round Rock in which he gave up three runs in three innings, throwing 83 pitches.
He is the Zephyrs’ career strikeouts leader, with 285.
“I’m in better shape than I was in last season,” he said. “Last year, I dealt with some injuries. I’ve been able to keep the ball down in the strike zone.
“I think another big reason for my success this season is that I have gotten a lot of run support from my teammates. That makes it easier.”
Roe (3-3, 3.61), who is in his first season in the Miami Marlins’ organization, converted nine of his first 10 save opportunities. During a 16-game stretch between April 16 and June 1, he allowed one earned run and 11 hits in 24 innings, compiling a 0.38 ERA. In 42 1?3 innings, he has 45 strikeouts and has stranded 12 of the 13 base-runners he inherited.
He selection marks the second consecutive season as Zephyrs closer was picked to the team. Chris Hatcher, now with the Marlins, was chosen last season.
Players such as Zephyrs first baseman Justin Bour, who was called up to the Marlins, are ineligible. Bour was batting .330, fourth in the league.
The Pacific Coast League will play the International League in the 27th annual Triple-A All-Star Game on July 16 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, N.C. The game will be broadcast on MLB Network at 6 p.m.