(Trenton, NJ) (PR w/quotes added) – The Trenton Thunder, Double-A Affiliate of the New York Yankees, announced on Friday that outfielder Zoilo Almonte has been selected to the 2012 Eastern League All-Star team.
“I’m really happy for him,” said Thunder manager Tony Franklin.
“He was having a great season to begin with, but these last 3-4 weeks he’s elevated his play to the point where people couldn’t help but take notice. He’s really carried us down the stretch. It’s great to see a player on the 40-man roster do this, because it shows why he was put on the 40-man to begin with.”
After hitting .251 in 46 games following a mid-July promotion in his Double-A debut with Trenton last season, outfielder Zoilo Almonte returned to the Thunder for the 2012 campaign and is batting .283 (108-for-381) with 23 doubles, 20 home runs, 68 RBI, 61 runs scored and 15 stolen bases in 96 games while helping lead the Thunder to first place in the Eastern Division standings. Despite missing a little over a month of the season with a hamstring injury when he was placed on the disabled list on April 20th, the 23-year old is still ranked among the leaders in slugging percentage (.507-2rd), home runs (20-4th), extra -base hits (44-tied 7 th), RBI (68-8th) and OPS (.835-9th). Almonte is also tied for fifth in the league in outfield assists (10) and was named the Eastern League Player of the Week for the period of June 11th-June 17th after hitting .455 and driving in 10 runs in six games. (Statistics for games played through August 22, 2012)
“First I give thanks to God and second I need to thank all of the people closest to me in my life for their support,” Almonte said.
“I worked extremely hard every day this season and that has now paid off. I think at the end of the season people must have really noticed all the work I put in.”
The selections for the 2012 EL All-Star Team are as follows:
1B: Darin Ruf, Reading
2B: Ceasar Hernandez, Reading
3B: Debinson Romero, New Britain
SS: Niuman Romero, Erie
C: Tommy Joseph, Reading
OF: Thomas Neal, Akron
OF: Zoilo Almonte, Trenton
OF: Aaron Hicks, New Britain
DH: Chris Colabello, New Britain
Utility: Brock Holt, Altoona
RH Starter: Chris Heston, Richmond
LH Starter: Michael Kickham, Richmond
Reliever: Preston Guilmet, Akron
Almonte joins the following Thunder players who have been named to the Eastern League Post-Season All-Star team: Brandon Laird (2010), Eduardo Nunez (2009), Phil Coke (2008), Alan Horne (2007), Randy Ruiz (2006), Shelley Duncan (2005), Mitch Jones (2004), Freddy Sanchez (2002), Shea Hillenbrand (2000), David Eckstein (1999), Raul Gonzalez (1999), Dernell Stenson (1998), Adam Hyzdu (1996), Walt McKeel (1996), Carl Pavano (1996), Pork Chop Pough (1995), Nomar Garciaparra (1995), and Tony Clark (1994).
The All-Star team is voted on by Eastern League team managers, sportswriters, radio and television broadcast personnel and other members of the media.
Trenton is currently on the road at Akron to face the Aeros in a four game weekend series. The Thunder will return to action in Trenton on Monday, August 27 to face New Britain in the final four home games of the regular season. Tickets are available by calling 609-394-3300 or online at trentonthunder.com.