Jose Altuve Among Seven Houston Astros Players Named as Finalists for 2021 MLB All-Star Game

Jose Altuve is one step closer to another All-Star game…

The 31-year-old Venezuelan Major League Baseball second baseman, a six-time MLB All-Star, is among seven Houston Astros players named as finalists to start in the 2021 All-Star Game.

Jose AltuveThe Astros have an MLB best seven finalists this season.

On June 23, Altuve hit his 150th career home run, doing so off Thomas Eshelman of the Baltimore Orioles.

The top three finalists for each position based on fan voting in each league, plus designated hitter for the American League, were announced Sunday.

Three teams — the Los Angeles DodgersChicago Cubs and Toronto Blue Jays — have five finalists for the Midsummer Classic, which will be played July 13 at Coors Field.

Voting on the finalists begins Monday and ends Thursday. The AL and NL All-Star starters, based on those votes, will be announced on Thursday at 9:00 pm ET on ESPN. The remainder of the All-Star teams will be unveiled next Sunday at 5:30 pm ET on ESPN.

The finalists:

Catcher:

AL:

  1. Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals
  2. Martin Maldonado, Astros
  3. Yasmani Grandal, Chicago White Sox

NL:

  1. Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
  2. Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
  3. Willson Contreras, Cubs

First base:

AL:

  1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays
  2. Yuli Gurriel, Astros
  3. Jose Abreu, White Sox

NL:

  1. Max Muncy, Dodgers
  2. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
  3. Anthony Rizzo, Cubs

Second base:

AL:

  1. Marcus Semien, Blue Jays
  2. Jose Altuve, Astros
  3. DJ LeMahieu, New York Yankees

NL:

  1. Ozzie Albies, Braves
  2. Adam Frazier, Pittsburgh Pirates
  3. Gavin Lux, Dodgers

Shortstop:

AL:

  1. Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox
  2. Bo Bichette, Blue Jays
  3. Carlos Correa, Astros

NL:

  1. Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres
  2. Javier Baez, Cubs
  3. Brandon Crawford, Giants

Third base:

AL:

  1. Rafael Devers, Red Sox
  2. Alex Bregman, Astros
  3. Yoan Moncada, White Sox

NL:

  1. Kris Bryant, Cubs
  2. Nolan Arenado, Cardinals
  3. Justin Turner, Dodgers

Outfield:

AL:

  1. Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
  2. Aaron Judge, Yankees
  3. Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins
  4. Michael Brantley, Astros
  5. Adolis García, Texas Rangers
  6. Teoscar Hernandez, Blue Jays
  7. Cedric Mullins, Baltimore Orioles
  8. Alex Verdugo, Red Sox
  9. Randal Grichuk, Blue Jays

NL:

  1. Ronald Acuna Jr.
  2. Nick Castellanos, Cincinnati Reds
  3. Jesse Winker, Reds
  4. Mookie Betts, Dodgers
  5. Chris Taylor, Dodgers
  6. Juan Soto, Washington Nationals
  7. Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies
  8. Joc Pederson, Cubs
  9. Mike Yastrzemski, Giants

Designated hitter:

AL:

  1. Shohei Ohtani, Angels
  2. D. Martinez, Red Sox
  3. Yordan Alvarez, Astros

Karamo Brown to Play in This Year’s MLB All-Star Celebrity Softball Game

Karamo Brown is gettin’ in the game…

Major League Baseball has revealed the group of celebrities that’ll participate in the 2021 MLB All-Star Celebrity Softball Game next month, with the 40-year-old half-Cuban American television host, reality television personality, author, actor, and activist making the roster.

Karamo Brown

The game is scheduled to take place on July 11 at Coors Field ahead of the 2021 Midsummer Classic.

In addition to Karamo, who appears on Netflix’s Queer Eye, is part of a roster that includes rapper Quavo and pop star JoJo Siwa, who will play alongside former MLB players like CC Sabathia, Hunter Pence and Rockies legend Larry Walker.

It’s not just baseball players, either. DK Metcalf of the NFL‘s Seattle Seahawks and Derrick White of the NBA‘s San Antonio Spurs will participate.

Here are all of the 2021 MLB All-Star Celebrity Softball Game participants:

  • Quavo (rapper)
  • JoJo Siwa (pop star and dancer)
  • Steve Aoki (Grammy-nominated DJ and producer)
  • Ross Butler (actor)
  • Noah Beck (social media star)
  • Charles Melton (actor)
  • Residente (rapper, writer, filmmaker, and activist)
  • Blake Gray (social media star)
  • The Miz (WWE star)
  • Kane Brown (country music star)
  • Karamo (television host)
  • DK Metcalf (Seattle Seahawks wide receiver)
  • I.D (musician)
  • Derrick White (San Antonio Spurs guard)
  • CC Sabathia (former New York Yankees pitcher)
  • Jennie Finch (former softball pitcher)
  • Hunter Pence (former San Francisco Giants outfielder)
  • Larry Walker (former Colorado Rockies outfielder)
  • Vinny Castilla (former Colorado Rockies third baseman)

On July 11, some of baseball’s top prospects will play in the 2021All-Star Futures Games. Following the prospect showcase, the All-Star Celebrity Softball Game will take place.

The All-Star Celebrity Softball Game will feature former Colorado Rockies star third baseman Vinny Castilla and former reliever LaTroy Hawkins serving as the managers for the teams.

Pete Alonso Ready for This Year’s Home Run Derby

Pete Alonso is ready to take a swing at the title…

The 26-year-old Spanish-American New York Mets slugger is in for this year’s Home Run Derby at hitter-friendly Coors Field.

Pete Alonso

Alonso won the contest the last time it was held, in 2019, edging fellow rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at Cleveland’s Progressive Field for his first derby title.

“I’m all-in,” Alonso said Thursday afternoon from Wrigley Field, where the Mets finish up a three-game series with the Chicago Cubs. “I’m ready. If I get invited, I’d love to do it. I’d love to defend my title.”

Last year’s Home Run Derby was canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic. The 2021 edition will take place July 12 at Colorado’s Coors Field after Major League Baseball moved the All-Star Game and related festivities from Atlanta.

Alonso committed to the derby the day after hitting a monster home run that landed on the street beyond the left-center-field bleachers at Wrigley Field. It was measured at 429 feet.

“I’m very happy that ball went far,” Alonso said. “I think Statcast kind of stumped me. I think that ball did not go [only] 429 feet, but that’s what the computer says, and I think the computer is wrong.”

Alonso’s longest home run of his career was measured at 485 feet. He thinks Wednesday’s long ball was closer to that figure than 429 feet.

“If that ball went 429 feet, that’s the shortest ball that’s ever left this stadium,” Alonso said. “I’ve hit plenty of balls here that have gone 430 feet, but if a ball leaves the stadium, there’s no way that ball went only 429 feet.”

Alonso has three home runs this season entering Thursday night’s game against the Cubs. He led the majors with 53 in 2019, his rookie year.

He enjoyed Wednesday’s homer as much as any he has hit.

“That was one of my favorite home runs I’ve hit,” he said. “That’s top five for me.”

Dereck Rodriguez Agrees to Minor League Deal with Colorado Rockies 

Dereck Rodriguez has a new deal…

The 28-year-old Puerto Rican baseball pitcher, the son of MLB Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez, has signed a minor league contract with the Colorado Rockies that includes an invitation to spring training.

Dereck Rodriguez

Rodriguez appeared in 51 games over three seasons with the San Francisco Giants. He compiled a 12-15 record with a 4.27 ERA before being designated for assignment by the Giants on August 26. He was claimed five days later off waivers by the Detroit Tigers before recently becoming a free agent.

Rodriguez made his major league debut at Coors Field on May 29, 2018. He allowed four runs, one earned, over 3⅓ innings. He also had an RBI double off Kyle Freeland.

Rodriguez was originally a sixth-round pick by the Minnesota Twins in 2011.

Ubaldo Jimenez to Appear at the Colorado Rockies’ Spring Training

Ubaldo Jimenez will be attending spring training…

The 36-year-old Dominican baseball player will return to the mound for the Colorado Rockies in spring training after being signed to a minor league contract with the team.

Ubaldo Jimenez 

The hard-throwing right-hander with the distinctive delivery was one of 21 players to receive a non-roster invitation to spring training from the Rockies on Wednesday. The list also includes catcher Drew Butera and infielder Chris Owings.

Jimenez hasn’t pitched in the majors since September 22, 2017, with the Baltimore Orioles. He was originally signed by Colorado as an amateur free agent while a teenager.

Jimenez became a fan favorite at Coors Fieldafter bursting on the scene in September 2006. The affable pitcher tossed Colorado’s only no-hitter on April 7, 2010, against the Atlanta Braves. He wound up 19-8 with a 2.88 ERA that season and finished third in the National League Cy Youngvoting.

His 19 wins remain a single-season Rockies record.

Jimenez was dealt to the Cleveland Indiansin July 2011, where he spent two more seasons before signing a free-agent deal with Baltimore prior to 2014.

He’s 114-117 over his career with a 4.34 ERA. Jimenez has struck out 1,720 in 1,870 innings.

Colorado’s pitchers and catchers are scheduled to have their first workout February 12. The first full-squad workout is set for February 17.

Gonzalez Receiving Interest from Washington Nationals, St. Louis Cardinals & San Francisco Giants

The future looks bright for Carlos Gonzalez

The 30-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball player, an outfielder for the Colorado Rockies, is reportedly getting interest from the Washington Nationals, St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants, according to ESPN.

Carlos Gonzalez

Gonzalez started the season on a slow start in 2015, hitting .219 with four home runs through May, but belted 27 home runs in the second half and finished with a .271/.325/.540 batting line with 40 home runs. After an injury-plagued 2014, that strong second half rebuilt his trade value, and now the Rockies are listening to offers.

With two years left on his contract at $17 million in 2016 and $20 million in 2017, Gonzalez could be an attractive, shorter-term outfield option for those teams wary of giving $100 million-plus to Justin Upton or Yoenis Cespedes or betting an Alex Gordon to remain productive into his mid-30s.

Gonzalez would be an obvious fit for all three teams that have shown interest: The Nationals are currently counting on Jayson Werth, coming off a .685 OPS season, and Michael Taylor, who posted a .640 OPS as a rookie; the Cardinals just lost Jason Heyward and could use a power bat, and they could put Gonzalez in right field and play Stephen Piscotty at first base; the Giants are looking for a left fielder.

Gonzalez’s value is also very difficult to peg. He played just 180 games in 2013 and 2014 combined, and everyone is going to point to his home/road splits: Over the past three seasons, he has a .952 OPS at Coors Field, .780 on the road. If teams are going to discount Gonzalez because of that, are the Rockies better off just hanging on to him? There’s also the possibility that those splits are overblown, that if Gonzalez is traded then what I call the “Coors Effect” will go away and the splits will normalize. The bigger concern may be that Gonzalez hasn’t hit lefties well in recent seasons, including 2015, when he had a .530 OPS against them.

Still, he’s a 30-homer bat if he stays healthy and a capable defender in a corner outfield position. If I’m one of those teams above, I like the idea of trading prospects for Gonzalez rather than spending big money on one of the free agents.