Saints Outfielder Harris Earns Postseason All-Star Nod, Closer Rodebaugh Named Relief Pitcher of the YearST. PAUL, MN September 2, 2016
With the Saints on the way to the playoffs for a second straight year, credit has to be given to players all over the roster for their contributions to another successful season. However, when a player elevates their production to a dominant level, they’re bound to garner the attention of the entire league and that is exactly what outfielder Alonzo Harris and reliever Ryan Rodebaugh have done this year. As a result, Harris was selected as a Postseason All-Star in the outfield and Rodebaugh was named Relief Pitcher of the Year.
In his second season with the Saints, Harris is having arguably the best year of his career, hitting .306 with 15 home runs and 58 RBI. In 89 games, Harris has slugged 16 doubles, four triples, has a .349 on-base percentage and a .488 slugging percentage. Harris leads the league in stolen bases with 41 and broke the Saints single-season franchise record for most stolen bases, which he set in 2015 with 39. He becomes the first Saints player to hit 10 or more home runs and steal 40 or more bases. It is also a career high for Harris, breaking his personal best of 40 steals set in 2012 at Advanced-A St. Lucie.
Harris has been a picture of consistency for the Saints on offense, leading the team with 37 multi-hit games. He had the second longest on-base streak in the American Association this season, reaching base safely in 37 consecutive games from June 18 to August 4. He also enjoyed a power surge during the month of June, starting on June 13, when he hit a walk-off solo home run against the Sioux City Explorers. That started a stretch where he hit five home runs in seven days.
Harris was also selected to the All-Star Game at CHS Field on August 2 and participated in the Home Run Derby, advancing to the final round.
“Alonzo had an MVP type season,” said manager George Tsamis. “He truly plays a great centerfield and came up with clutch hits all year long. You don't see .306 with 15 homeruns and 41 stolen bases every day.”
Acquired in a trade with the New Jersey Jackals before the 2015 season, Harris was an integral part of the Saints record setting team in 2015. He hit .298 with 15 homers and 62 RBI in 90 games and became just the second Saints player to hit 10 home runs and steal 30 bases in a season. Before joining the Saints, Harris helped the Jackals reach the Can-Am Championship Series in 2014. Originally a 39th round selection in the June First-Year Player Draft by the New York Mets out of McComb (MS) High School in 2007, Harris played from 2008-13 in the Mets organization and played the entire 2013 season at Double-A Binghamton.
For Harris, this is his third All-Star honor. In 2012, he was named an MiLB.com Organizational All-Star with St. Lucie in the Florida State League after he hit .287 with 23 doubles and 43 runs driven in while swiping 40 bases. He finished third in the league in stolen bases and fifth in runs score with 74. He was also named to the 2016 American Association All-Star Game, hosted at CHS Field on August 2 of this season.
Returning to the Saints for a second season, Rodebaugh has yet again been the most dominate closer in the American Association. The 27-year-old leads the league with 23 saves, is second in reliever points with 67 and tied for second in games finished with 35. Rodebaugh has converted 23 of 25 save opportunities and has not allowed a run in 28 of his 36 appearances. He did not allow a run in his first nine appearances of the season (8.1 IP) and went 15 straight appearances (15.0 IP) from June 29 to August 9 without allowing a run.
When he recorded his 20th save of the season against Fargo-Moorhead on August 6, he became just the third Saints pitcher to record back-to-back 20 save seasons. His 48 careers saves with the Saints are second most all-time, just four shy of Chris Chavez’ (2003-04) record of 51.
Rodebaugh was also selected to the All-Star Game at CHS Field on August 2 and pitched a perfect ninth inning of relief.
“Ryan dominated all season long,” said Tsamis. “He has been terrific and has led the league in saves the last two years. Ryan is so deserving of this honor.”
During his first season with the Saints in 2015, Rodebaugh established himself as the top closer in the American Association, leading the league with 25 saves. He also finished second in reliever points with 67 and fifth in games finished with 34.
Rodebaugh was selected in the 15th round of the First Year Player Draft in 2010 out of Kennesaw State University by the Texas Rangers. He pitched in the Rangers organization from 2010-14 and reached Triple-A Round Rock in 2013. This is his second All-Star honor after being named to the 2016 American Association All-Star Game.
With Rodebaugh and Harris receiving league honors, the Saints have now had 10 players named to the Postseason All-Star team.
Here is the full list of the American Association Postseason All-Star’s for the 2016 season. Each team received two votes, one by the manager and one by the general manager or media member, for a total of 24 votes.
C- Luis Alen, Lincoln
1B- David Rohm, Winnipeg
2B- Brett Wiley, Kansas City
3B- Josh Mazzola, Fargo-Moorhead
SS- Nate Samson, Sioux City
OF- Alonzo Harris, St. Paul
OF- Willie Cabrera, Winnipeg
OF- Keury De La Cruz, Fargo-Moorhead
DH- Curt Smith, Lincoln
Starting Pitcher (“Pitcher of the Year”)- Lindsey Caughel, Lincoln
Relief Pitcher (“Relief Pitcher of the Year”)- Ryan Rodebaugh, St. Paul
Defensive Player of the Year- Jose Gonzalez, Gary SouthShore