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Two Smokies earn postseason All-Star honors

(Tennessee Smokies)  Tuesday afternoon the Southern League announced its Postseason All-Stars for the 2016 regular season. Among the 15 honorees was Tennessee Smokies’ catcher Victor Caratini, who was selected as the catcher for the squad, and infielder Chesny Young, who was chosen as the league’s utility player.

The award marks the first time since the 2013 campaign that multiple Smokies have received postseason honors when five players – second baseman Arismendy Alcantara, shortstop Javier Baez, third baseman Christian Villanueva, outfielderMatt Szczur and right-handed pitcher Kyle Hendricks – were honored by the league. Last season, catcher Willson Contreraswas Tennessee’s lone postseason honoree.

Caratini becomes the second straight Smokies’ catcher to be named to the SL’s Postseason All-Star squad. Prior to 2015, the last Tennessee player selected as a catcher on the team was Robinson Chirinos back in 2010. Entering Tuesday’s games, the 23-year-old ranks second in the league in on-base percentage (.378) and third in batting average (.294).

In 112 contests this season, Caratini has accumulated a .294 mark (118-401) with 56 runs scored, 24 doubles, two triples, six home runs, 46 RBI and 52 walks. Through Monday, the first time postseason All-Star has set career-bests in at-bats (401), runs scored (56), hits (118), total bases (164), home runs (6), walks (52) and is on-pace to set a lifetime-high in average (.294).

The Coamo, P.R. native was also named a Southern League Mid-Season All-Star earlier this season. Caratini was acquired by the Cubs in a trade with the Atlanta Braves on July 31, 2014 in exchange for former Smokies’ LHP James Russell and INFEmilio Bonifacio.

Young earns postseason honors for the second time in as many season’s after being honored as a Postseason All-Star by the Carolina League while playing with High-A Myrtle Beach in 2015. The 23-year-old is the first Smokie player to be named as a utility all-star on the postseason squad since the 2006 campaign when Jamie D’Antona received the honor. Prior to Tuesday, Young sits fourth in the Southern League in batting average (.293), fifth in hits (135) and on-base percentage (.371). The infielder also ranks fourth in the circuit with the fourth lowest strikeout-per-plate appearance ratio (8.17).

So far this season, Young has recorded a strong .293 average (135-461) with 55 runs scored, 23 doubles, two triples, four home runs, 33 RBI, 57 walks and 15 stolen bases. The right-hander swinger was named the league’s Player of the Month for April after accumulating an eye-popping .402 mark (33-82) with 13 runs scored, five extra-base hits – including two homers – nine runs batted in, 16 walks and 11 stolen bases. Young was also named the circuit’s Player of the Week for the time period between April 18-24 and was chosen to his first Mid-Season All-Star team.

Young was selected by Chicago in the 14th round of the 2014 MLB Draft out of Mercer University.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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