Double-A Affiliate Northwest Arkansas sends six to Texas League All-Star Game

The Texas League (AA) announced their selections for the 2012 All-Star Game to be held on June 28 at ONEOK Field in Tulsa, Okla.  The North Division All-Star Team includes six Northwest Arkansas Naturals, including four players who will serve as starters. 

First baseman John Whittleman, designated hitter Christian Colon, and outfielders Yem Prades and Carlo Testa were selected to start the game for the North Division.  Colon, who was chosen as the designated hitter despite playing at both shortstop and second base for Northwest Arkansas, will not participate due to a toe injury.  Colon was replaced on the squad by Naturals infielder Mario Lisson.  In addition, left-handed starter Justin Marks and right-handed reliever Patrick Keating will represent the Naturals in Tulsa.

Whittleman, 25, is batting .254 with 17 doubles, 11 home runs and 33 RBI in 64 games.  Signed as a minor league free agent on October 24, 2011, Whittleman has 53 walks while posting a .405 on-base percentage and a .502 slugging percentage.

The 23-year-old Colon, the Royals’ first-round selection (fourth overall) in 2010, is batting .290 with seven doubles, two triples, five home runs, 24 RBI and 28 runs scored in 60 games. 

Lisson, 28, is hitting .252 with 11 doubles, seven home runs and 30 RBI in 48 games.  He was originally signed by the Royals as a non-drafted free agent on April 1, 2002.

Prades, 24, has compiled a .274 average with 12 doubles, three homers and 16 RBI in 54 games.  Born in Havana, Cuba, Prades was signed by the Royals as a non-drafted free agent on March 17, 2011.

The 25-year-old Testa is batting .276 with nine doubles, three triples, eight home runs and 30 RBI in 55 games.  He was the club’s 18th-round selection in 2008.

Marks, 24, was acquired along with Royals starter Vin Mazzaro from the Oakland Athletics for outfielder David DeJesus on November 10, 2010.  The 6-foot-3 left-hander is 3-3 with a 3.49 ERA in 13 starts.