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Four BlueClaws honored as All-Stars, Manager Legg offers his thoughts

The Lakewood BlueClaws will have four representatives when the Class A South Atlantic League holds its 55th annual All-Star Game on June 17th in Hickory, NC.

Standout performers for the BlueClaws all season, J.P. Crawford, Willians Astudillo, Samuel Hiciano and Cody Forsythe were selected to represent the team.

Crawford, a shortstop, was the Phillies top draft choice a year ago when he was selected 16th overall. Through 49 games, the lefty batting 19-year-old has posted a .319 average along with three homers, 17 RBI and 10 steals.

Astudillo, a Venezuela native, currently sports an 18-game hitting streak and is batting .341 with two homers and 32 RBI this year. The 22-year-old plays first base and catcher.

Hiciano, the Claws' left fielder, is batting .273 with six home runs and 24 RBI. The 20-year-old is a native of the Dominican Republic.

Forsythe, last year's 25th round draft pick by the Phillies, has been excellent as Lakewood's closer this season. The 23-year-old lefty has posted a 2-0 record along with eight saves and a 1.83 ERA while striking out 18 and walking four in 19 2/3 innings.

The South Atlantic League All-Star Game, which dates to 1960, will be held at Hickory's LP Frans Stadium for the second time, and first since 1994. The Hickory Crawdads are the Class A full-season affiliate of the Texas Rangers.

The BlueClaws also had four representatives in the Sally League All-Star Game when they hosted the event at Lakewood's FirstEnergy Park last year.

I spoke with BlueClaws manager Greg Legg about each of his All-Stars. The skipper had the following to say...

(Crawford)'s had a pretty good first half for us. Defensively, offensively, played all around, started to show leadership qualities for us. Well deserved. Somebody told me he got the most votes. I don't know. But, well deserved. I think he's only gonna get better as time goes on.

Hiciano, kind of was Mr. Consistency for us. No matter what, he just kept playing and banging out some hits. Works his butt off defensively. Worked his butt off, where they recognize him a little bit there. Solid first half, you know.

Astudillo started the year on the bench. We put him in there to DH a game here and there and he starts driving in runs and you say, "Well, shoot. Let me play him at first." And he keeps hitting, so you say, "Let me see if he can catch." And he's caught pretty good too. So, he's kind of a unique player. He has a great feel for the game. He has the ability to barrel up the ball every night at least twice, sometimes three times. And his catching, through the work of Ernie (Whitt) and Les (Lancaster) and himself, he's always catching bullpens, even when he starts game at first. I gotta tip my hat to him for all the work he's done to get better behind the plate. We knew the bat was there, everybody knew that.

Forsythe, the (second) game he pitched for us wasn't pretty, but after that, he's just been lights out. And we've put him in some of the worst positions you could possibly put a guy into, and he's came through every time for us, so when I heard he was on (the All-Star) team, that probably made me happier than the other three, because he did it the hard way. Kind of like Astudillo.

I'm proud of all of them. Well deserved by all of them.


In other All-Star news, Class A Advanced Clearwater first baseman Art Charles was named a Florida State League All-Star as well. The 23-year-old sports a .246 average with three homers and 19 RBI. Charles was acquired in a trade with Toronto for Michael Schwimer last year.

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