Osprey Sending Five Players to Inaugural NWL/PBL All-Star Game
The Missoula Osprey are playing so well this season, they have already locked up a position in the playoffs kicking off in September. On top of that, the Missoula Osprey, will send a league-high five players to the inaugural Pioneer Baseball League vs. Northwest League All-Star Game, including starters Isan Diaz (shortstop) and Austin Byler (first base). Catcher Luke Lowery and relievers Dan Savas and Cameron Smith were also chosen. The game, will be held on August 4, 2015, will be played at Avista Stadium in Spokane, Washington.
Diaz owns the second-best batting average in the Pioneer League at .386, and has hit safely in all but three games this year, including 16 straight entering Monday’s games. Named the 27th-best prospect in the D-backs organization after the 2014 season, Diaz leads the Pioneer League in hits (51) and total bases (84), is second in extra-base hits (18), and is fifth in on-base percentage (.457). The 2014 Competitive Balance Round B selection has posted five triples to share the lead in the league, while his .636 slugging percentage ranks fourth. The left-handed hitting shortstop has also collected multiple hits in 16 of his 32 games played to lead the Osprey in that category.
Byler enters Monday hitting .337 with 30 runs scored, 15 doubles, three triples, four homers and 21 RBI. The left-handed hitting first baseman leads the Pioneer League in doubles, walks (29), extra-base hits (22) and on-base percentage (.493), while placing second in runs scored and third in slugging percentage (.654). The league-leader in OPS (1.147) also enters his next game carrying a 10-game hit streak, and has hit safely in 20 of his last 22 games with an at bat.
Lowery has averaged a home run every 15.71 at bats (4th in Pioneer League) to the tune of seven homers (tied for third). Showing a solid approach at the plate, he has also drawn 20 walks to rank fourth in the league. While he contributed a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth to defeat Idaho Falls on 7/15, his greatest feat has been a string of 12 straight plate appearances where he reached base safely from 7/18 – 7/21 (8x8, 3 2B, HR, 4 BB) – the longest streak in the Pioneer League since at least 2005.
Savas helped the Hillsboro Hops to the 2014 Northwest League Championship, but will play against a handful of Hops in this year’s All-Star game. The right-hander enters Monday ranked first in the Pioneer League in saves, converting nine in 10 opportunities so far this year for the Osprey. The Illinois State product is 1-1 with a 1.38 ERA and 14 strikeouts over 13 appearances and 13 innings on the mound.
Smith enters his next game sporting a 5-0 record with a 1.16 ERA over seven appearances and two starts for Missoula. Smith, who ranks tied for first in the league in victories, earned Pioneer League Pitcher of the Week for the week ending July 12. The Texas Tech product has pitched to a 0.93 WHIP and has struck out 36 hitters to only one walk over 28 innings of work.
Congrats to all of the Osprey staff and and players on all of their success so far, and continued success throughout the year. If you haven't been to a game yet this season, you really should go, and can get tickets here.