Myrtle Beach, SC - From the Myrtle Beach Pelicans
MYRTLE BEACH, SC - With just hours ticking down before first pitch of the 15th anniversary of the California-Carolina League All-Star Game, each manager has had the pleasure of filling out their lineup cards and choosing a starting pitcher.
Myrtle Beach Pelicans and Carolina League All-Star manager Rocket Wheeler selected Kinston Indians left-hander T.J. McFarland to toe the rubber in the top of the first inning while San Jose Giants and California League All-Star manager Bryan Harper has tabbed right-hander Craig Westcott to take the ball first for the Cal League.
McFarland comes into the All-Star break as the Carolina League leader in ERA with a 1.98 mark and a perfect 4-0 record at his home field of Grainger Stadium. The southpaw has been death on lefties all season long, holding them to a paltry .194 batting average. Spending the beginning of the season piggybacking off top prospect Nick Hagadone, McFarland allowed just two earned runs in his first five outings spanning 25 2/3 innings, and has continued his sterling run of success up to the All-Star Break. In his final start before the break, McFarland tossed a six-inning complete game against Lynchburg while whiffing a season-high eight in the process.
Westcott, a 30th round selection of the 2009 draft by the San Francisco Giants has shot out of the gate with one of the best performances by any starting pitcher in minor league baseball. Holding a perfect 5-0 record through his first 12 starts, the right-hander has racked up a league leading 1.55 ERA, good for sixth in all of minor league baseball. His .235 batting average against ranks fourth in the California League, and Westcott has held right-handed batters to a microscopic .192 batting average. Westcott started strong this season for the first-place Giants by not allowing an earned run over four starts in the month of April. He's lasted at least five innings in all but two starts as well this season.