Ronald Acuna Jr. Earns Second Career Silver Slugger Award

There’s certainly a silver lining for Ronald Acuna Jr. 

The 22-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball player is among four Atlanta Braves players to earn Silver Slugger Awards, which were unveiled Thursday by Major League Baseball in honor of the best offensive players at every position in each league.

Ronald Acuna Jr. 

Winning from the Braves were Acuna Jr., Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna, who each won the award for the second time, and first-time winner Travis d’Arnaud.

The Chicago White Sox led the American League with three Silver Sluggers: shortstop Tim Anderson, left fielder Eloy Jimenez and first baseman Jose Abreu, who won the award for the third time after batting .317 with 19 home runs and 60 RBIs.

It was the first honor for both Anderson and Jimenez.

Los Angeles Angels star outfielder Mike Trout received his eighth Silver Slugger Award after batting .281 with 17 home runs and 46 RBIs this season.

2020 Silver Slugger Winners

POS. AL NL
C Salvador Perez, Royals Travis d’Arnaud, Braves
1B Jose Abreu, White Sox Freddie Freeman, Braves
2B DJ LeMahieu, Yankees Donovan Solano, Giants
SS Tim Anderson, White Sox Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres
3B Jose Ramírez, Indians Manny Machado, Padres
OF Mike Trout, Angels Juan Soto, Nationals
OF Eloy Jimenez, White Sox Mookie Betts, Dodgers
OF Teoscar Hernandez, Blue Jays Ronald Acuna Jr., Braves
DH Nelson Cruz, Twins Marcell Ozuna, Braves

Minnesota Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz, New York Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu, Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez, Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez and Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Teoscar Hernandez rounded out the American League winners.

World Series champion and Los Angeles Dodgers star Mookie Betts, Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto, San Francisco Giants second baseman Donovan Solano and San Diego Padres teammates Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado completed the National League list.

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.

Miami Marlins Trade Jonathan Villar to the Toronto Blue Jays

Jonathan Villar is headed to the Great White North

The Miami Marlins have traded the 29-year-old Dominican professional baseball outfielder to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Jonathan Villar

Villar is hitting .272 with two home runs and nine RBIs. He also is tied for the National League lead with nine stolen bases.

Last season he hit a career-high 24 home runs while with the Baltimore Orioles.

Villar is scheduled to be a free agent in the offseason.

The Blue Jays (18-14) entered Monday’s games in third place in the AL East standings.

In addition to the Marlins and Orioles, Villar previously played in the MLB for the Houston Astros and Milwaukee Brewers. Prior to 2017, Villar was primarily a shortstop. 

Arizona Diamondbacks Trade Starling Marte to the Miami Marlins

Starling Marte is headed to the Sunshine State…

The 31-year-old Dominican professional baseball player has been traded from the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Miami Marlins, according to ESPN.

Starling Marte

In exchange for Marte, an MLB All-Star in 2016, the Marlins will send Caleb Smith, Humberto Mejia and a player to be named later to the Diamondbacks, according to sources.

Meanwhile, the Marlins sent outfielder Jonathan Villar to the Toronto Blue Jays, reports ESPN.

Marte is hitting .311 with 23 runs scored this season. He has a $12.5 million option on his contract for next year.

It has been a tumultuous and difficult year for Marte. His wife, Noelia, died of a heart attack in May.

That followed his trade from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Diamondbacks in January, after he had spent his entire eight-year career with the Pirates.

Marte has a career .288 batting average with 110 homers, 434 RBIs and 244 steals. He had career highs last season with 23 homers and 82 RBIs.

Marte won Gold Gloves in 2015 and ’16.

He reached the All-Star Game in 2016 but also served an 80-game suspension in 2017 after testing positive for steroids.

Toronto Blue Jays to Celebrate Tony Fernandez with Special Uniform Patch This Season

Tony Fernandez is being honored in a special way by his old team…

The Toronto Blue Jays will celebrate the late Dominican professional baseball player and Major League Baseball legend, who passed away earlier this year, by wearing a patch with his No. 1 on the left sleeve of uniform jerseys this season.

Tony Fernandez

A member of Toronto’s 1993 World Series champions who had nine RBIs in the six-game win over the Philadelphia Phillies, Fernandez had kidney problems and died on February 16 at age 57.

He is the Blue Jays’ career leader in games (1,450), hits (1,583) and triples (72). He spent 12 seasons with Toronto in four stints and had a .288 batting average and 2,276 hits over 17 big league seasons. Fernandez also played for the San Diego Padres, the New York Mets and New York YankeesCleveland IndiansCincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers. He was a five-time MLB All-Star.

“There are few players in the game who can impact a team and a fan base the way Tony did in Toronto,” Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro said in a statement. “Beyond his impressive career numbers, achievements, and accolades, Tony resonated with baseball fans because of how he played the game and conducted himself as a teammate.”

Marc Anthony’s Magnus Studios Developing Animated Children’s Series “Gloria (doesn’t) Know It All”

Marc Anthony is getting animated…

The 51-year-old Puerto Rican singer’s Magnus Studios, a division of his entertainment company Magnus Media, will develop and produce an animated children’s series aimed at children ages 4-8. 

Marc-Anthony

Gloria (doesn’t) Know It All will be produced in partnership with filmmaker and Academy Award winner Juan Jose Campanella‘s animation studio Mundoloco CGAand Lanugo Media.

The series, which will draw heavily on music and magic realism, tells the story of a 7-year-old little Alpaca sent to visit her grandparents in a magical town. 

Anthony and Magnus COO Felipe Pimento, who is also head of Magnus Studios, will act as executive producers. Anthony will also be the series’ music executive producer, supervising the creation of all original songs and music for the show.

On their end, Campanella and Mundoloco co-founder Gaston Goraliwill act as executive producer and showrunner, respectively. 

Campanella is best known for his film The Secret In Their Eyes, which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2009.

“I am thrilled to start the new year with the announcement of a project that will highlight the splendor and diversity of our Latino culture for children everywhere and I am looking forward to inspire families and young generations with this story,” said Anthony in a statement. 

Gloria (doesn’t) Know It Allwas co-created by Pimiento and Gorali with Carla Curieland Roberto Castro. Curiel and Castro, who are co-executive producers for Lanugo Media, said the story was inspired by their twin daughters Adriana and Emilia.

Gloriawill be the latest venture for an expanding Magnus Media, which also includes management, publishing and digital and video content divisions in addition to a sports unit and a talent agency. The company’s roster of acts includes Anthony, Gente de ZonaFonseca and Mau y Ricky in addition to over 60 professional baseball players, including New York Yankees pitcher Aroldis Chapman and the Toronto Blue JaysVladimir Guerrero

Francisco Liriano Signs Minor League Contract with the Philadelphia Phillies

Francisco Liriano isn’t leaving The Keystone State… 

The Philadelphia Phillies have signed the 36-year-old Dominican professional baseball left-handed pitcher to a minor league contracts with invitations to attend major league spring training.

Francisco Liriano

Liriano was 5-3 with a 3.47 ERA in 69 relief appearances for the Pittsburgh Pirateslast season. Liriano is 112-114 with a 4.15 ERA and has averaged 9.01 strikeouts per nine innings over 419 career games.

During his career, he has played for the Minnesota TwinsChicago White Sox, the PiratesToronto Blue JaysHouston Astrosand Detroit Tigers.

Liriano was an MLB All-Star in 2006, and is a two-time winner of the MLB Comeback Player of the Year Award.

Edwin Encarnacion Agrees to One-Year Deal with the Chicago White Sox

Edwin Encarnacionis headed to The Windy City…

The 36-year-old Dominican professional baseball first baseman and designated hitter and the Chicago White Sox have reached an agreement on a one-year deal for $12 million with a club option for 2021 at $12 million, according to ESPN.

Edwin Encarnacion

Encarnacion batted .244 in 109 games last season with the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees. The Yankees acquired the three-time All-Star from Seattle in June to bolster a lineup sapped by injuries. With cash from the Mariners in the trade, the deal cost New York just $8 million of the $25 million he was owed in 2020, including a $5 million buyout.

Encarnacion was leading the American Leaguewith 21 homers at the time, but a strained left oblique limited the first baseman/designated hitter down the stretch. He hit .249 with 13 homers, 37 RBIs and an .856 OPS in 44 regular-season games with New York.

He hit .308 while the Yankees pounded the Minnesota Twins in the AL Division Series, but he slumped badly in the AL Championship Series against the Houston Astros.

Encarnacion has averaged 37 homers and 106 RBIs since 2012 and helped slug the Toronto Blue Jaysto back-to-back appearances in the ALCS in 2015 and 2016. His 239 homers in Toronto ranks third behind Carlos Delgado(336) and Jose Bautista(265) on the Blue Jays’ career list.

His three-run drive in the 11th inning to beat the Baltimore Oriolesin the wild-card game in the 2016 playoffs gave Toronto one of its most indelible moments since Joe Carter‘s World Serieswalk-off handed the Blue Jays a second consecutive title in 1993.

Through his 14th season, Encarnacion has a career .263 average with 414 home runs and 1,242 RBIs for Cincinnati Reds, Toronto, Cleveland Indians, Seattle and the Yankees.

Houston Astros’ Yordan Alvarez Named American League Rookie of the Year

Yordan Alvarez has slugged his way to the top…

The 22-year-old Cuban Major League Baseball player and Houston Astros slugger has capped off his meteoric rise by becoming the franchise’s third Rookie of the Year winner and second since the club moved to the American League.

Yordan Alvarez

Alvarez was a unanimous selection of the award’s 30 voters. Baltimore Orioles pitcher John Means finished second, with Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe third, Chicago White Sox outfielder Eloy Jimenez fourth and Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Cavan Biggio fifth.

Alvarez began the past season with Triple-A Round Rock after entering the year ranked as the 34th-best prospect by Baseball America and Houston’s eighth-best prospect by ESPN‘s Keith Law. He provided an early glimpse of things to come by hitting three homers for Round Rock in his second game of the season. By the end of April, Alvarez had mashed 12 homers, hit .354 and driven in 30 runs in just 22 games, spurring calls for a promotion to the big league club.

That call finally came in early June. In his big league debut against the Baltimore Orioles on June 9, Alvarez homered off of Dylan Bundy. He never stopped hitting, finishing with 27 home runs in 87 games, tying the mark for most home runs by a rookie who played in 100 games or fewer. He served as Houston’s designated hitter in 74 of his 87 outings and helped the Astros win the ALpennant.

Across two levels this season, Alvarez hit .324 with a .690 slugging percentage, 50 home runs and 149 RBIs in 143 games. His 1.067 OPS in the MLB was the highest ever for a rookie with at least 350 plate appearances.

Alvarez’s consistency was remarkable: He had an OPS of 1.140 at home and .985 away, 1.083 against righties and 1.038 against lefties and at least .999 in each of the four months in which he appeared in the majors.

“The humility he has in handling success at this level, and the coverage that he’s getting and all the attention, he’s just been very humble,” Astros manager AJ Hinch told ESPN during the season. “He’s also hungry to learn. He’s a quiet man by nature, and his demeanor is very low-key. But he’s always in tune with other players and other people and the information.”

Hinch also tweeted congratulations to Alvarez after he was announced as the winner on Monday.

An imposing 6-foot-5, Alvarez hit a 474-foot homer off Texas Rangers‘ Mike Minor on July 19. In early September, he homered into the third deck at Minute Maid Park, a shot so prodigious that the Astros wrapped the seat in vinyl to commemorate it.

After going just 1-for-22 during Houston’s six-game win over the New York Yankeesin the AL Championship Series, Alvarez rebounded to hit .412 with a home run during the Astros’ seven-game loss to the Washington Nationals in the World Series.

The Los Angeles Dodgers signed Alvarez out of Las Tunas, Cuba, on June 15, 2016. The Astros acquired him six weeks later in exchange for reliever Josh Fields. As Alvarez began to make his way through the Houston organization, his offensive reputation began to spread through one of baseball’s most bountiful farm systems.

“When he was brought over to the States, we started to hear some chatter from the backfields that, at one point, I think he hit a car with one of his home runs,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow told ESPN this season. “It was one of those things where if you’re around and you have a half day to go watch the back field, find this guy and watch him hit. Because it’s pretty special. It snowballed from there.”

Shortstop Carlos Correa was the Astros’ last AL Rookie of the Year winner, taking the honors in 2015. The only other Rookie of the Year recipient in franchise history was Hall of Famefirst baseman Jeff Bagwell, who won the award in 1991, when the Astros were in the National League.

Pete Alonso Defeats Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in a Battle of Rookies to Win Home Run Derby

Pete Alonsois officially a home run champion…

The 24-year-old part-Spanish American professional baseball player, a first baseman for the New York Mets, outslugged the Toronto Blue Jays‘ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in a battle of rookies to win the Home Run Derby at Cleveland’s Progressive Field on Monday night.

Pete Alonso

Guerrero had broken the Derby’s single-round record in each of the first two rounds, but after surviving an exhausting duel with Joc Pederson of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the semifinal round, Guerrero didn’t have enough to beat Alonso in the final.

The Blue Jays rookie, trying to follow in the footsteps of his Hall of Famefather, who won the event in San Francisco in 2007, went first in the final, and after initially struggling to duplicate his earlier pace, he picked it up after calling a second timeout and finished with 22 home runs.

Alonso, unique in the competition in sending most of his hits toward center field, then followed with 23 to spare to end it with plenty of time. 

He became the first Met to win the event since Darryl Strawberrywas a co-champion in 1986.

“That was a blast. Oh my god, that was a blast,” Alonso said after his win. “I’m gonna remember that for the rest of my life.”

With the win came a cool $1 million bonus to supplement Alonso’s base salary of $555,000. 

He said he would donate 10% of his winnings between two charities, the Wounded Warriors Projectand the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

“I have the utmost respect for the people that put their lives on the line every single day — and I just wanna show my gratitude, because a bad day for me is a lot different than a bad day for the servicemen and women that serve this country,” Alonso said.

Guerrero has eight major league home runs in his rookie year, and he hit 44 total homers in the minors. But at the Derby, he hit 91.

The biggest drama of the night came in the semifinal round, when he needed three tiebreakers to eliminate Pederson 40-39.

Before this year’s Derby, only six players had hit 40 home runs in an entire event, much less a single round.

“I feel bad for him,” an exhausted Pederson said after his final swing. “He’s gotta keep hitting; I’m toast.”

Pederson, who lost in the final as a rookie in 2015, now has the most combined home runs at the Derby all time, with 99, while Guerrero — in his first appearance — tied the previous record of 91 held by Todd Frazier, who also competed twice.Guerrero did have the honor of hitting the longest homer of the night, 488 feet, in the second round. That netted him a $100,000 bonus to go with his $500,000 for finishing second, which more than equals his season’s salary of $468

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to Make Major League Debut with Toronto Blue Jays

Vladimir Guerrero Jr.is ready to make his debut…

The 20-year-old Dominican professional baseball third baseman, widely considered one of the top prospects in baseball, will be called up by the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday and is expected to make his major league debut, manager Charlie Montoyoannounced.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Guerrero, the son of Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero, was No. 2 on ESPN insider Keith Law‘s 2019 top prospects list. The Jays have yet to announce a corresponding roster move.

“It’s going to be a great moment. I get goosebumps just thinking about it,” Montoyo told ESPN’s Marly Rivera. “We have been talking about this for a long time, and it’s just so exciting that the moment is finally here.

“I am so happy. This was such an important moment, not only for the city of Toronto and for the Toronto Blue Jays but for our entire baseball community, that the No. 1 prospect in baseball will debut Friday. He is so talented, that the sky is the limit for that young kid. In my case, personally, I am just excited to see him play every day and see what he can do.”

Guerrero’s father, who played the first eight seasons of his 16-year career with the Montreal Expos, took to Twitterto celebrate the news.

“My son! The country that saw you as a child will now see you turn into a big one. Working hard everything can be done. I’m proud of you,” he wrote. T

Toronto will host the Oakland Athleticson Friday for the start of a three-game series, with right-hander Mike Fiers scheduled to start for the A’s and Marcus Stromantaking the hill for the Blue Jays.

Montoyo told Rivera that he hasn’t decided where he’ll slot Guerrero in the lineup.

Guerrero hit .381 with 20 homers and 78 RBIs in 95 games while rocketing through four levels of minor league ball last season.

There was a possibility that he could make the Blue Jays’ big league roster out of spring training, but a strained oblique early in spring camp ruined any chance of that.

Guerrero has continued to perform this season with Triple-A Buffalo, hitting .367 with three homers and eight RBIs in eight games, including a home run in Wednesday’s game.

Montoyo told Rivera that it will be his job as manager to ease the amount of pressure on Guerrero.

“The great thing about this kid is that he’s so humble, he’s so unique,” Montoyo said. “He acts and plays like he’s been in the big leagues for a long time, and it will be an easy transition for him.”