The Home Run Derby was the headliner, but the All-Star Break can hardly be considered the latter word of its title these days. With the MLB Draft in full swing and a bevy of news, in part stemming from All-Star Game Media Day, we’ve got links for you right here.
In Mariners news:
- Julio Rodríguez had his national welcoming party last night, as the 21-year-old absolutely shone, driving 81 home runs as he defeated reigning two-time Home Run Derby winner Pete Alonso before falling in the finals to Juan Soto. National Media noticed, with Fox Sports highlighting Julio’s night, and The Athletic calling it a changing of the guard.
- A few of the NBA’s biggest stars had their eyes on Julio as well.
I see the kicks, J-Rod! Good luck tonight https://t.co/y9jDhfUYsx— Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30) July 18, 2022
- So you might be interested in Juan Soto, eh? Baseball America ($) looked into which clubs - purely based on prospect capital - would be capable of acquiring the 23-year-old star.
- There’s no better barometer for when the Seattle Mariners have captured the fervor of the region than when they are opening up the upper deck in right field once more. Oh, and Friday night’s game is now already sold out.
HEADS UP: The Mariners have opened Sections 306-310 (right field upper deck) for Friday night's game against the Astros, as the team attempts to extend their winning streak to 15 games.— Joe Veyera (@JoeVeyera) July 18, 2022
They're $22 each (plus fees), and I assume they'll go quickly. https://t.co/oCO2m5xxux
- Some nice kudos for RHP Emerson Hancock for his lights out performance at the MLB Futures Game on Sunday.
- Prospects Live dug into a number of players they see as well-suited to thrive in the systems they were selected by, including M’s RHP Walter Ford.
- Good news for the M’s as they made another batch of selections on day two of the MLB Draft, including several young pitchers. Keep track of the rest of the draft with our Draft Tracker.
Mariners amateur scouting director Scott Hunter said they have an agreement already in place with Tyler Gough for signing a contract. Most of their draft picks are expected in Arizona this week.— Curtis Crabtree (@Curtis_Crabtree) July 18, 2022
- Complex league games are rarely if ever publicly filmed, so we’re reliant on clips posted by players to track progress. Here’s former top international signee Juan Querecuto slinging the ball as he makes his conversion from SS to pitcher.
Around the League:
- The Angels placed Mike Trout on the injured list with what they’re calling “rib cage inflammation”, using the All-Star Break to give their star just a couple more days missed. Correspondingly, they’ve brought back Phil Gosselin from waivers from the Braves.
- That said, Mike Trout committed to playing in the World Baseball Classic next spring and will be the captain for Team USA, gracing the tournament with his presence after opting out in 2017.
- In other WBC news, Team France has secured a future Hall of Famer for their squad - in the dugout at least - as Bruce Bochy will manage their club.
- Despite being arguably the face of the franchise for the best team in the National League, at least on the position player side, Mookie Betts still struggles at times with his self-belief, from Jorge Castillo at the L.A. Times.
- Understandably but disappointingly, Shohei Ohtani will not pitch today at the All-Star Game, choosing to prioritize pitching in the second half opener for Anaheim.
- The progression of investigation of MLB’s antitrust exemption continues.
News: The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has sent a letter to commissioner Rob Manfred asking for information about Major League Baseball's antitrust exemption, the latest step in the committee's inquiry into the exemption. Manfred has been asked to respond by July 26. pic.twitter.com/IQKbj3uDZH— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) July 18, 2022
- Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times profiled baseball in Southern California, one of the nation’s primary hotbeds for both fandom and talent.
- FanGraphs posted their recap of day one of the draft, with some positive kudos for the M’s selections.
- Not a... great look for the Oakland Athletics here. Begrudging kudos to the Astros, however.
.@Athletics All-Star pitcher Paul Blackburn was set to fly commercial from Houston to LA. The Astros found out & offered him a ride on their charter: “It shows within Baseball it’s like a brotherhood. Everyone respects each other..I’m greatly appreciative of their organization” pic.twitter.com/uH5ejNLL87— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) July 19, 2022
- The Cincinnati Reds released UTIL Taylor Motter from their Triple-A affiliate.
- Over at the Houston Chronicle, Chandler Rome interviewed All-Star LHP Framber Valdez about how his consistent work with a sports psychologist has transformed his performance.
- The San Francisco Giants didn’t take the day off, making a few moves involving former Mariners.
Per Giants: The Giants and Guardians made a trade today, with LHP Alex Young joining the Giants organization in exchange for cash considerations. Young has been optioned to Triple-A Sacramento.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) July 18, 2022
In addition, LHP Aaron Fletcher cleared waivers and has been outrighted to Sacramento
Hearing Giants might be signing catcher Andrew Knapp and sending him to Triple-A Sacramento. Switch-hitter, played for Phillies, Pirates and Mariners, good working relationships with pitchers, played for Kapler in Philly, .404 OBP in 2020, Seattle recently DFA'd him.— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) July 18, 2022
- The Texas Rangers have a deal with one of the biggest names - and surprises - of the draft in RHP Kumar Rocker.
sources confirm that Kumar Rocker will sign with the Rangers for an under slot $5.2 million, as @JonHeyman reported.— kennedi landry (@kennlandry) July 18, 2022
This gives Texas some wiggle room on Days 2, especially with some guys who may be falling for signability issues.