Every minor-league player’s goal is to move up their organization’s system and reach the majors.
This season, six players with Southern Arizona ties were promoted to the big leagues, including UA product Preston Guilmet for the first time in his career.
Guilmet, who made his MLB debut with the Indians in June, was one of four players to receive a call-up last Sunday when rosters expanded to 40 across the majors.
For the players still working their way up in the minors, 17 with local ties were moved up at least one level during the season. Of those players five were selected midseason all-stars in their respective leagues.
Here is our list of choices for this season’s minor-league all-stars from Tucson:
Player of the Year
Seth Mejias-Brean • 1B, Bakersfield Blaze (Reds’ High-A affiliate)
• The UA and Cienega High alum batted .305 with 11 homers and 82 RBIs between High-A Bakersfield and Class-A Dayton. After two years of pro baseball, he holds a .307 average with 206 hits.
Dan Butler • C, Pawtucket Red Sox (Red Sox Triple-A affiliate)
• The Arizona alum hit a career-high 14 home runs and was three points shy of his best slugging percentage with a .479 mark. Butler also had a .990 fielding percentage behind the plate.
Erik Castro • 1B, Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros’ Double-A affiliate)
• The former Wildcat produced 18 homers, 65 RBIs and a .280 average in his first season in Double A. Castro was especially good in May when he hit .360 and scored 21 runs.
Robert Refsnyder • 2B, Tampa Yankees (Yankees’ High-A affiliate)
• After batting .370 to start the year at Class-A Charleston, the 2012 College World Series MVP was promoted to Tampa where he drew 78 walks, the second most in the Florida State League.
Brad Boyer • 3B, New Britain Rock Cats (Twins’ Double-A affiliate)
• The member of UA’s 2004 College World Series team hit .337 in Independent ball, helping him earn a minor-league contract from Minnesota. Boyer collected 10 hits in 11 games for New Britain.
Andy Burns • 3B, New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Blue Jays’ Double-A affiliate)
• The ex-Wildcat drove in 85 runs and stole 33 bases between Double-A New Hampshire and High-A Dunedin. He’s one of four players with Tucson ties who will be playing in the Arizona Fall League.
Stefen Romero • OF, Tacoma
Rainiers (Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate)
• The Pima College and Sunnyside High School product was particularly good in high-pressure situations this season, batting .333 with 31 RBIs when there were two outs and runners in scoring position.
Joey Rickard • OF, Bowling Green Hot Rods (Rays’ Class-A affiliate)
• The Arizona alum scored 79 runs in 127 games for Bowling Green. Rickard’s 16 hit-by-pitches were the second most in the Midwest League, while his 30 stolen bases were good for ninth in the league.
Brad Glenn • OF, Buffalo Bisons (Blue Jays’ Triple-A affiliate)
Glenn launched a combined 22 homers this year between Buffalo and Double-A New Hampshire, raising his career total to 92. The UA grad’s appearance in Triple-A was his first in five years of pro baseball.
Johnny Field • OF, Hudson Valley Renegades (Rays’ Low-A affiliate)
• Field completed his first professional season with 20 doubles for the Renegades, tying him for the New York-Penn League lead. The June draft pick out of Arizona also swiped 14 bags in 60 games.
Kurt Heyer • SP Palm Beach Cardinals (Cardinals’ High-A affiliate)
• The former Wildcat won nine games and struck out 96 in 124 innings for High-A Palm Beach and Class-A Peoria. In August, he pitched 17 consecutive scoreless innings.
Preston Guilmet • RP, Columbus Clippers (Indians’ Triple-A affiliate)
• The UA grad finished second in the International League with 20 saves and had the second-best ERA among relievers with a 1.68 mark. Guilmet also recorded 72 strikeouts in 64 1/3 innings.
Coach of the Year
Scott Erickson • Mahoning Valley Scrappers
(Indians’ Low-A affiliate)
• The ex-Wildcat helped the Scrappers’ pitching staff to a 2.96 ERA in his first season as Mahoning Valley’s pitching coach. The Scrappers also tossed their first no-hitter in six years under Erickson’s guidance.