By Josh Vitale, SunCoast Sports
PORT CHARLOTTE — The Stone Crabs are going to need to rent a bigger van.
The Florida State League announced Friday that Charlotte will have eight representatives at the 2016 All-Star Game at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers: Pitcher Brent Honeywell, catchers Nick Ciuffo and Mac James, infielder Riley Unroe, outfielder Cade Gotta, and the coaching staff of Michael Johns, Joe Szekely and Steve “Doc” Watson.
Honeywell, the Rays’ No. 2 prospect, has been sidelined since May 9 with right arm tightness, but is expected to return prior to the June 18 game. Through seven starts this season, the right-hander is 4-0 with a 1.30 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 41 2/3 innings.
Ciuffo, the Rays’ No. 26 prospect, has excelled behind the plate this season, throwing out 61 percent of would-be base-stealers and riding a recent 11-game hitting streak to a .289 batting average.
James has been just as impressive behind the plate while also playing some first base for the Stone Crabs, batting .288 with 16 RBIs while throwing out 40 percent of would-be base-stealers.
Unroe, the Rays’ No. 28 prospect, has hit leadoff in nearly every game he’s played in this season, batting .263 while leading Charlotte in doubles (9) and walks (25) while also chipping in 22 runs scored and 10 stolen bases.
Gotta, 24, has emerged as one of the Stone Crabs’ best hitters this season, ranking fourth in the league with a .313 batting average to go along with four home runs and 16 RBIs.
Johns, Szekely and Watson will serve as the South Division team’s manager, hitting coach and pitching coach, respectively, after coaching the Stone Crabs to their first-ever FSL title last season.
The exhibition will start at 7:05 at the home of the Fort Myers Miracle on June 18 and will be preceded by a home run derby.