2017 West Virginia Black Bears All-Stars

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

All-star nods rack up for the Pittsburgh Pirates short-season affiliate the West Virginia Black Bears. Five West Virginia Black Bears will represent the south division in The New York Penn League all-star game.


A pair of hurlers will represent West Virginia.  Right handed pitcher Adam Oller and Left hander Ike Schlabach.  Oller was drafted in the 20th round last season. After pitching for Bristol, we was assigned to West Virginia for 2017. So far for the Black Bears Oller has gone 3-2 with a 1.24 ERA. used primarily in the bullpen this season, as 12 of his 13 appearances have come out of the bullpen, despite making nine starts in 13 games pitched in with Bristol in 2016.

In 29 innings Oller hasn’t allowed a home run. He converted the lone save opportunity he attempted. The nod is well deserved and Oller may find himself getting watched a bit more closely to see if he can make it to top prospect status.

Ike Schlabach came to Pittsburgh in the 19th round of the 2015 draft. He struggled the previous two seasons in the Gulf Coast and Appalachian leagues with ERAs over five.  This season seems to be a steady improvement. The ERA is down to 3.04. The batting average against him went from close to .290 to .212.  His walk numbers are down and his strikeout numbers are hanging steady.

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Schlabach is a starter, making ten of them. Included in that ten starts was a complete game. Good to see improvement this season, but it may not be enough to make it to Pittsburgh some day.


Deon Stafford will represent from behind the plate. The catcher is hitting .276 this season with four home runs and 25 RBI’s. A round five pick of the Pirates, Stafford is looking solid in his debut season of professional baseball. Stafford adds depth to the catcher position, which is needed in the Pirates system.


Right fielder Bligh Madris will play in the game. Madris is hitting .296 with three homers and 22 RBI. The round nine pick in 2017 is adapting well to the professional game.


Tristan Gray will represent the West Virginia infield. The second baseman is hitting .286 with four homers and 25 RBI. Gray was a round 13 selection in the 2017 draft. He seems to be adjusting to professional baseball with ease and helps to make the 2017 draft class look good initially. Gray could be valuable depth and may surprise people and become a Max Moroff, or Eric Wood type player. One where the expectations weren’t there, but they quietly climbed the ladder and became players the big team is watching.

Five players is a good showing from the Black Bears in an all-star game. The matchup takes place tonight at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium, in New York hosted by the Tri-City ValleyCats.