Randy Arozarena Becomes First MLB Player to Hit Nine Home Runs in Single Postseason

Randy Arozarena is still making history…

The 25-year-old Cuban professional baseball outfielder and Tampa Bay Rays rookie has become the first player to hit nine home runs in a single postseason after taking Los Angeles Dodgers starter Julio Urias deep to right field in the fourth inning of Game 4 of the World Series on Saturday night.

Randy Arozarena

Arozarena already holds the rookie hit record for a single postseason, set in Game 3, while breaking a four-way tie for most home runs.

Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager also homered in Game 4 and has eight this postseason.

Arozarena later scored the winning run on Brett Phillips‘ walk-off single, as the Rays beat the Dodgers 8-7 in Game 4 to even the World Series at two games apiece.

Arozarena actually fell down rounding third base, but after Dodgers catcher Will Smith couldn’t handle the relay throw, the Rays’ rookie was able to make it home with the winning run.

Randy Arozarena

“All I was thinking about was just running hard,” Arozarena said through an interpreter. “Running hard as I could. Once I got to a certain spot, I saw that the ball got bobbled. I got sent home. I tripped. … I was actually trying to get back to third base because I knew we had already tied the game so, if anything, I was just trying to get in a rundown. Then, I saw the ball get past him, so I turned around and scored.”

Arozarena also holds the record for total bases in a single postseason. He singled to lead off the sixth inning Saturday night, tying Pablo Sandoval for most hits by any player in one postseason.

The 2020 playoffs featured an extra round, meaning Arozarena is playing in his 18th playoff game already.

Nelson Cruz, Carlos Beltran and Barry Bonds are the three other players — along with Seager — to hit eight home runs in a single postseason.

Ronald Acuña Jr. Receives First-Ever Silver Slugger Award

It’s a silverfirst for Ronald Acuña Jr.

The 21-year-old Venezuelan Major League Baseball baseball outfielder for the Atlanta Braves has received his first Silver Slugger Award, awarded annually to the best offensive player at each position in both the American League and the National League, as determined by the coaches and managers. 

Ronald Acuna Jr.

For the year, Acuña hit .280/.365/.883, with 127 runs (leading the National League), 41 home runs, and 37 stolen bases (leading the league). He missed the 40–40 club by three stolen bases.

Acuña’s Braves teammates Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies are among the first-time winners on the National League side, along with Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger.

First-timers for the American League are Cleveland Indians first baseman Carlos SantanaNew York Yankees infielder DJ LeMahieuHouston Astros infielder Alex Bregman and Minnesota Twins catcher Mitch Garver.

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout was awarded his seventh Silver Slugger Award after batting .291 with 45 home runs and 104 RBIs this season.

World Series champion and Washington Nationals slugger Anthony Rendon, a two-time winner, Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. RealmutoColorado Rockies shortstop Trevor StoryMilwaukee Brewers star Christian Yelich and former Arizona Diamondbacks ace Zack Greinke, who was dealt by the D-backs to the Astros at the trade deadline, completed the National League list.

Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz, a three-time winner, Astros outfielder George Springer and Boston Red Sox teammates Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts rounded out the American League winners.

Selections are based on a combination of offensive stats, including batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage in addition to the managers’ and coaches’ views of a player’s overall offensive value.

Nelson Cruz Reportedly Returning to Minnesota Twins Next Season

Nelson Cruz will likely be twinning longer…

The Minnesota Twins are expected to exercise a $12 million contract option for the 39-year-old Dominican-American professional baseball right fielder and designated hitterin the next few days, according to ESPN.

Nelson Cruz

Cruz  was seen by players and staffers as having a positive influence on the clubhouse this season. He belted 41 home runs to become just the third player in team history to reach the 40-homer mark, joining Harmon Killebrew (seven times) and Brian Dozier (once).

Despite two stints on the injured list, Cruz, who made $14 million in 2019, also had 108 RBIs and a .311

Nelson Cruz Makes MLB History with 400th Career Homer

Nelson Cruz has joined an elite group of MLB players…

The 39-year-0ld Dominican professional baseball player and Minnesota Twins slugger hit his 400th career home run, becoming the 57th player in Major League Baseball history to reach the mark.

Nelson Cruz

Cruz connected in the fourth inning on Sunday for his 40th homer of the season. He became the third player in Twins history to hit 40 home runs in a season, joining Harmon Killebrew and Brian Dozier.

“It’s nice to do it in front of the fans. I think they deserve it,” Cruz said. “They’ve been such a big influence for us as a team. They come up every day with that energy.”

Cruz tagged the Kansas City Royals‘ Gabe Speier for a solo drive. It gave the AL Central-leading Twins an 8-6 lead on their way to a 12-8 win and elicited a curtain call for Cruz as fans at Target Field gave him a standing ovation.

This was the fourth time in Cruz’s career that he’s gotten to the 40-homer mark. He did so in three straight years from 2014-16 with the Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners. He’s the 26th player in baseball history with four 40-home run seasons. Cruz also became the ninth Dominican-born player with 400 career homers.

“Nelly going out there and hitting his 400th home run, maybe he picked the perfect day to do it,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We’re all honored to be here and witness it and enjoy this experience with him.”

Minnesota Twins’ Slugger Nelson Cruz Hits Three Homers Against Chicago White Sox

Nelson Cruz is three times the star…

The 39-year-old Dominican professional baseball player, a slugger for the Minnesota Twins, homered three times in the first five innings against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday night, leading the Twins to a 10-3 victory.

Nelson Cruz

Cruz hit a solo drive in the first, a two-run shot in the third and another two-run homer in the fifth. It’s the first career three-homer game for the six-time All-Star, who has 385 home runs in his career.

Cruz batted again with a runner on first in the sixth and struck out swinging against Jimmy Cordero, ending the inning. He flied out to right leading off the ninth, ending the day 3-for-5 with five RBIs.

“It’s not easy,” Cruz said. “To be able to hit three is a blessing.

“The most important thing is we won and the way [Jose] Berrios pitched. At the end of the day, it’s pitching.”

Cruz went deep against All-Star Lucas Giolito on different pitches — fastball, curveball and changeup.

“He’s a good hitter,” Giolito said. “He was seeing me well.”

Cruz’s outburst followed three-homer games by New York Mets second baseman Robinson Cano on Tuesday night and St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong on Wednesday. 

According to Elias Sports Bureau research, it’s the first time in major league history there’s been a three-homer game on three consecutive days.

Cruz, who signed a $14.3 million, one-year contract with Minnesota in January, has six homers in his past four games and 25 overall this season. According to Stats LLC, he is the oldest player in major league history to hit six-plus homers in a four-game span, surpassing Barry Bonds, who hit seven in four games at age 36 in 2001.

Cruz also became the 10th player in big league history with a three-homer game after turning 39, according to Baseball Prospectus data, joining a list that includes Babe RuthStan MusialReggie Jackson, Dave WinfieldFrank Thomas and Alex Rodriguez.

“You just assume he’s done things like that,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “Those kind of nights are pretty unique and special, and when you get a chance to see them live, we all kind of enjoy them and appreciate them.”

Cruz is the only player with multiple four-game homer streaks this season. He also hit a homer in four consecutive games June 5-9, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. He is the oldest player with a three-homer game since Rodriguez did it four years ago against the Twins.

At 39 years and 24 days old, Cruz is the second-oldest player in the modern era (since 1900) with seven homers in a six-game span. Graig Nettleswas 40 years and 4 days old for the sixth game of his streak in August 1984.

Houston Astros Star Jose Altuve Wins Silver Slugger Award for Fourth Straight Season

It’s a grand slam, of sorts, for Jose Altuve

The 27-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball player, a second baseman for the World Series champion Houston Astros, is among the winners of this year’s Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Award.

Jose Altuve

The award goes to one player per league, per position and is selected by a vote of MLB coaches and managers.

Eleven of the 18 winners are under 30, including Altuve, who won for the fourth straight season.

But Altuve isn’t the only Astros player to make the list…

The 28-year-old Puerto Rican and Panamanian American baseball star, who became Major League Baseball All-Star for the first time this year, also earned a Silver Slugger Award.

Springer, an outfielder for the Astros, was named the 2017 World Series Most Valuable Player (MVP), hitting a record-tying five home runs as the Astros defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games.

All told, the eight first-time winners included outfielders Aaron Judge, Miami MarlinsMarcell Ozuna, Springer, Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez, New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez and pitcher Adam Wainwright. Like Altuve, San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey also won for the fourth time.

Outfielder Justin Upton and Seattle Mariners DH Nelson Cruz rounded out the American League winners. It was Upton’s third award and the second for Cruz.

The National League selections featured plenty of previous winners as first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado both won for the third time. Second baseman Daniel Murphy, shortstop Corey Seager and outfielders Charlie Blackmon and Miami Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton each won for the second time.

Selections are based on a combination of offensive stats, including batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage in addition to the managers’ and coaches’ views of a player’s overall offensive value.

Escobar Named a Starter for the 2015 MLB All-Star Game

Alcides Escobar is having a season to remember…

The 28-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball shortstop is one of four Kansas City Royals players named American League starters for the 2015 MLB All-Star Game being hosted by the Cincinnati Reds.

Alcides Escobar

Escobar, a first year pick, will be joined by his teammates Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain (outfielders) and Salvador Perez (catcher) as Royals reps for this year’s All-Star Game.

Much was said of the potential ballot-stuffing being done by Kansas City fans, but ultimately only four players from the AL Central leaders made it to the starting lineup. Long a doormat in the AL, the Royals have more starters this season than in the previous 25 years combined.

“It’s just been the support of our fans, really, over the last two years,” said Gordon, making his third straight All-Star appearance. “Winning brings attention and that’s what we’ve been doing. I think we play with a lot of energy, a lot of fun. People have noticed it.”

While the Royals may have led the way with the most players per team, the leading vote-getter came from north of the border.

Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson set a new record for all-time single-season voting with over 14 million total votes cast. Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper led all National League selections by garnering 13.9 million votes.

Only two teams placed multiple players on the All-Star rosters, the Royals, who won the AL pennant last season, and the Miami Marlins, who entered Sunday eight games under .500 and 11 games back in the NL East.

Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon and outfielder Giancarlo Stanton were both voted to the NL squad, though Stanton won’t play in the Midsummer Classic.

Stanton, who signed a $325 million contract this offseason to stay in Miami, is on the disabled list with a broken bone in his hand. He’ll join Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera (calf) and St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday (quad) as All-Star starters who are on the DL.

The Reds will host the All-Star Game for the first time since 1988 and will be represented by Todd Frazier, who was voted the NL team’s starting third baseman.

“I was really nervous. I was excited. It was a huge comeback,” said Frazier, who went from trailing the Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter by 2.5 million votes in June to winning the starting nod by 2.1 million. “I’m pretty much on Cloud Nine.”

All-Star pitchers, reserves and the finalists for the Final Vote will be announced Monday.

Royals manager Ned Yost and San Francisco Giants skipper Bruce Bochy will helm the AL and NL teams, respectively, when the 2015 All-Star Game is played Tuesday, July 14.

“We’re going to have a blast,” Yost said. “The All-Star Game is an experience you never forget, and to do it with so many of our teammates there is really special.”

In addition to Escobar, Perez and Cabrera, other Latino players selected as All-Star Game starters are Jose Altuve, Nelson Cruz and Jhonny Peralta.

 

2015 MLB All-Star Game Starters
AL POS. NL
Miguel Cabrera, DET 1B Paul Goldschmidt, ARI
Jose Altuve, HOU 2B Dee Gordon, MIA
Alcides Escobar, KC SS Jhonny Peralta, STL
Josh Donaldson, TOR 3B Todd Frazier, CIN
Salvador Perez, KC C Buster Posey, SF
Mike Trout, LAA OF Bryce Harper, WAS
Lorenzo Cain, KC OF Giancarlo Stanton, MIA
Alex Gordon, KC OF Matt Holliday, STL
Nelson Cruz, SEA DH N/A

 

Bautista to Captain the American League’s Home Run Derby Team

It’s batter up for José Bautista

The 33-year-old Dominican professional baseball player, a right fielder for the Toronto Blue Jays, will serve as the American League’s captain for the Home Run Derby.

José Bautista

Bautista, the 2010 and 2011 MLB home run champion and a five-time Major League Baseball All-Star, will have some star power on his team. He’s selected reigning derby champ and Oakland Athletics’ star Yoenis Cespedes, the Minnesota TwinsBrian Dozierand the Baltimore OriolesAdam Jones as the top three picks for his team.

They’ll face off a Nation League team that includes captain and Colorado Rockies star Troy Tulowitzki, and his top three picks: the Cincinnati RedsTodd Frazier, the Los Angeles DodgersYasiel Puig and the Miami MarlinsGiancarlo Stanton.

An additional fifth member will be named to each team on Thursday.

“Bunch of guys with a lot of power,” Tulowitzki said of his team. “More than that, I think they’re good guys, got to know them throughout the years.”

Stanton is the only player in the National League group that ranks in the top five in the majors in home runs with 21 entering play Tuesday night, but he is the NL-leader in the category.

That means that only one member of the remaining top five home run hitters in the league will be added to Bautista’s side. He has a choice of Baltimore’s Nelson Cruz (28), the Chicago White Sox‘s Jose Abreu (27) and Detroit TigersVictor Martinez (21).

Bautista’s Toronto teammate Edwin Encarnacion is third in the league with 26 home runs, but is currently on the disabled list. Martinez might also bow out of the running as he’s been held out of recent games due to injury.

Fellow Tiger Miguel Cabrera (14) and Los Angeles Angels phenom Mike Trout (20) have already said they will not participate in the contest, which will be held Monday night on ESPN from Minnesota’s Target Field.

Stanton, Tulowitzki (18) and Frazier (17) are all in the top five in homers in the National League along with the Chicago CubsAnthony Rizzo (18) and Philadelphia PhilliesMarlon Byrd (18).

Also a possibility for the final NL spot is Tulowitzki’s teammate and former Minnesota Twinsplayer Justin Morneau. Morneau is a candidate in the Final Vote to make the All-Star team.

“If he wins that final vote, there’s possibly a chance,” Tulowitzki said. “I think it would make a storyline. Played with the Twins all those years. He’s definitely on the list if he makes the team. There are some other guys as well that have lobbied and would be good choices.”

Cruz Signs a One-Year, $8 Million Contract with the Baltimore Orioles

Nelson Cruz has eight million reasons to sing like an oriole…

The 33-year-old Dominican professional baseball star, a free agent, has agreed to a one-year, $8 million contract with the Baltimore Orioles, according to ESPN and multiple sources.

Nelson Cruz

An ESPNdeportes.com source reports that Cruz’s deal also includes $750,000 in incentives. If the deal is completed, Cruz would become the Orioles’ primary designated hitter.

Cruz is one of several free agents whose signability has been hurt this offseason because they turned down qualifying offers from their previous teams, meaning the club signing them would lose a top draft pick.

However, the Orioles surrendered their first-round pick earlier this week when they signed pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez. So signing Cruz would only cost Baltimore a second-round pick — the 55th overall choice in the 2014 draft.

The Orioles also had previously lost a “competitive-balance pick” between the first and second rounds, because they included it in last July’s trade with Houston for pitcher Bud Norris.

Cruz also has been linked to the Seattle Mariners, New York Mets and his former team, the Texas Rangers. Meanwhile, the Orioles have been talking to both Cruz and free agent first baseman Kendrys Morales, but have zeroed in on Cruz in recent days.

Cruz batted .266 with 27 home runs and 76 RBIs in 109 games with the Rangers last season before serving a 50-game suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal.

A two-time All-Star outfielder, Cruz has 157 career home runs and would bolster a Baltimore lineup that already features Chris Davis, Adam Jones and Manny Machado.

Cruz, who has spent the last eight seasons with the Rangers, is one of seven right-handed hitters in baseball who have hit at least 20 home runs in each of the last five seasons.

Nelson Cruz Leads Rangers into the World Series

Move over Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson! There’s a new “Mr. October” in Major League Baseball… And his name is Nelson Cruz.

The 31-year-old Dominican slugger has been named this year’s American League Championship Series (ALCS) MVP after helping propel his Texas Rangers into their second consecutive World Series with his “big boomstick!”

With his two-run homer against the Detroit Tigers in Game 6 on Saturday night, the Rangers outfielder elevated his ALCS totals to six home runs and 13 runs-batted-in (RBIs)—both major league records for a postseason series.

“It was fun to watch,” says last year’s American League MVP Josh Hamilton of Cruz’s remarkable play. “It’s one thing to be in the stands. But when you’re down here on the field with him, you can see the intensity, see the focus. To watch him do that was incredible.”

But that’s not all…

  • Cruz hit the first game-ending grand slam in postseason history.
  • He became the first player with extra-inning homers in two games of one series.
  • He became the first player to hit six homers in two postseasons (and he did it in back-to-back years).
  • He became the franchise’s career postseason home run king.

“It was his series,” says Rangers first-base and outfield coach Gary Pettis. “What can you say? He did it all. He played defense. He swung the bat. He drove in runs. We’re glad he’s on our team.”

Before Cruz’s record-breaking six homers, the record of five homers in a single postseason series was held by Reggie Jackson, Ken Griffey Jr., Juan Gonzalez and Chase Utley. Meanwhile, players Bobby Richardson and John Valentin held the previous RBI record at 12.

“Right now, I’m just enjoying it,” Cruz said. “After the season, hopefully I’m going to sit down and relax and reflect on it and make sure I realize what happened.”

But right now, Cruz is preparing for the World Series!

“We wanted to do this again and we have,” says Cruz. “Now we want to go all the way.” 

The Rangers now await the winner of the National League Championship Series between the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals.