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Bautista & Kimbrel headline 6 MLB All-Stars from the NJCAA
 July 15, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS – The tradition of NJCAA alumni playing in the Midsummer Classic will continue Tuesday as six former student-athletes will be at Target Field for the 85th MLB All-Star Game. For the  first time in three years, the National League roster will not carry the most former NJCAA players as the American League matches their three All-Stars with NJCAA roots.

Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel (left) from Wallace State (Ala.) will be in the bullpen for the NL. Making his fourth straight appearance in the All-Star Game, Kimbrel has a 2.04 ERA with 60 strikeouts in 2014 and has recorded 27 saves in 31 opportunities. In 2011, Kimbrel was named NL Rookie of the Year after setting a new MLB rookie-mark with 46 saves. In his sophomore season at Wallace State, Kimbrel boasted a 9-3 record to go along with a 2.89 ERA and 123 strikeouts for the season.

Former Chipola (Fla.) star Jose Bautista is set to start in his fourth straight All-Star Game after making the team for the fifth consecutive season. The lone starter on either roster from the NJCAA, Bautista will lead the AL one day after captaining the team in Monday’s Home Run Derby. The Toronto Blue Jays right fielder hit 10 homers in the opening round and totaled 14 for the evening after being eliminated in the third. This season, Bautista is batting .292 with 17 home runs and 52 RBIs.


Joining Bautista on the AL roster is fellow Blue Jay and former Jefferson (Mo.) pitcher Mark Buehrle (right). Making his fifth All-Star Game appearance – and his first since 2009 – Buehrle is 10-6 in 19 starts this season with a 2.64 ERA and 73 strikeouts. Despite playing in his 14th season in the majors, Buehrle has found the fountain of youth and is on pace to have the best statistical year of his career at age 35.

Colorado Rockies right fielder Charlie Blackmon has made a name for himself in the Mile High City with his spectacular offensive numbers. Before his transition to the outfield at Georgia Tech however, Blackmon was the ace pitcher for former NJCAA member Young Harris (Ga.). He led the Mountain Lions to back-to-back Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA) titles in 2005 and 2006, while earning MVP honors in the 2005 conference tournament. Blackmon earned a spot on this season’s NL roster with his clutch hitting for the Rockies. He’s batting .306 with 14 home runs and 52 RBIs on the year.

Outfielder Hunter Pence – from former NJCAA member Texarkana (Texas) – joins Blackmon and Kimbrel on the NL roster after a spectacular first half of the season with the San Francisco Giants. Batting .297 this year, Pence has compiled 20 doubles, 12 home runs and 33 RBIs. In his lone season at Texarkana, Pence hit for a .395 average with 12 home runs, 50 RBIs and earned All-Region 14 honors.

Ian Kinsler from Central Arizona was a late addition to the AL roster due to an injury suffered by his Detroit Tigers teammate Victor Martinez.


Photos courtesy of Toronto Blue Jays and Pouya Dianat/Atlanta Braves.



























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