Julio Rodriguez Named American League Rookie of the Year

Julio Rodriguez’s banner year is ending with an exclamation point…

The 21-year-old Dominican professional baseball player, an outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, has been named the American League Rookie of the Year in near-unanimous fashion.

Julio RodriguezIt was a fitting cap to a stirring campaign that saw J-Rod dazzle at the Home Run Derby, perform among the sport’s best players and propel the Mariners to a long-awaited trip to the playoffs.

Rodriguez received 29 of 30 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, with Baltimore Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman receiving the other. Cleveland Guardians left fielder Steven KwanKansas City Royals infielder Bobby Witt Jr. and Houston Astros shortstop Jeremy Pena finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the voting.

Rodriguez electrified the city of Seattle and captivated an entire nation of baseball fans with his youthful exuberance, pronounced swagger and wide-ranging talent. He slashed .284/.345/.509, leading all rookies in homers (28), OPS (.855) and total bases (260) while helping the Mariners clinch their first postseason berth since 2001, snapping the longest active drought among the four major North American professional sports.

Along the way, Rodriguez consistently came through in big spots, dazzling with his defense, power and speed. His 5.3 FanGraphs wins above replacement tied that of Rutschman for the rookie lead and was topped by only 21 position players throughout the sport.

Rodriguez, who added 25 stolen bases and 25 doubles, is now the fifth Mariners player to win rookie of the year, after Alvin Davis (1984), Kazuhiro Sasaki (2000), Ichiro Suzuki (2001) and Kyle Lewis (2020).

Only two other players since 1900 have accumulated at least 28 home runs, 25 stolen bases and 25 doubles in their age-21-or-younger seasons — Mike Trout and Andruw Jones.

Rodriguez is the first player ever to combine 25 home runs with 25 stolen bases in his first season in the big leagues and the third to do so while still rookie eligible, along with Trout and Chris Young, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

The Mariners envisioned Rodriguez as a potential star when they signed him out of the Dominican Republic for $1.75 million in the summer of 2017, but he profiled more as a power-hitting corner outfielder. Rodriguez worked to become a five-tool center fielder, zooming through the Mariners’ minor league system — despite losing an entire season to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 — and cracking the team’s Opening Day roster this spring.

Before the end of August, the Mariners rewarded Rodriguez with a long-term extension that will pay him anywhere between $210 million and $470 million over the life of his career, an unprecedented — and highly incentivized — contract for someone with less than a full year of major league service time.

But before all that came struggle. Rodriguez went homerless with a .544 OPS during his first month in the big leagues. But he recovered well enough to become the only rookie to make the MLB All-Star team.

“I feel like that’s when I learned the most — on the down parts,” Rodriguez said during a video conference with the media after winning the award. “That rough start to the beginning, whenever I maybe was not doing so good, all those things that happened that first year that kind of opened my eyes — I’m gonna take all that. And I know it’s gonna serve me well along my career.”

Houston Astros Rookie Jeremy Peña Named American League Championship Series MVP

He may have just missed out on the American League Rookie of the Year Award, but Jeremy Peña is celebrating another title.

The 25-year-old Dominican professional baseball player and shortstop is returning to Houston as the American League Championship Series MVP.

Jeremy Peña,Peña punctuated his epic four-game run in the Houston Astros’ sweep of the New York Yankees with his third homer of the postseason during the third inning of a 6-5 win in Game 4 at Yankee Stadium on Sunday.

The big blast spoiled an early Yanks’ lead, took the ticketed crowd of 46,545 out of it and served as the proverbial turning point in the final game of a series that was never really close.

“It’s surreal,” Peña said. “You dream about this stuff when you’re a kid, and shout-out to my teammates. We show up every single day. We stayed true to ourselves all year. We’re a step away from the ultimate goal.”

Peña finished the ALCS 6-for-17 with two homers and two doubles, good for a .353/.353/.824 (1.176 OPS) slash line.

The finishing touch featured the shortstop pummeling a middle-in slider from Nestor Cortes after the Yanks’ lefty led off the inning with walks to Martín Maldonado and Jose Altuve for a massive blast down the left-field line.

Statcast measured the homer a projected 408 feet and 104.8 mph off the bat.

With one epic swing — hands in, hips torqued — Peña tied the game at 3 after the Yankees took an early lead against Lance McCullers Jr., the first time that Houston had trailed New York at the end of an in-game inning in 11 meetings this season. The only other times they trailed were via walk-offs from Aaron Judge during a series in June.

It was an impressive sequence of making a mid-at-bat adjustment. Cortes, who exited immediately after the homer with a left groin injury, wouldn’t throw Peña a fastball, instead attempting to jam cutters and sliders inside, with one changeup way off the plate. So, on the fifth pitch of the at-bat, Peña went hunting for offspeed ahead 3-1 in a hitter’s count — and he feasted when he saw the hanging breaking ball.

Peña knew he got all of it, transferring the barrel to his right hand as he paced out of the batter’s box, watching the ball sail before pinwheeling the lumber down the first-base line and breaking into a stride. As he rounded third base and glanced to the visiting dugout, he smiled toward his teammates and broke into a shrug, akin to the one that Michael Jordan made famous during the 1992 NBA Finals.

It was also another moment illustrating how well Houston has thrived with Peña hitting behind the leadoff man Jose Altuve. When Peña hit in the No. 2 hole during the regular season, the Astros went 42-7, and they entered Sunday undefeated this postseason with Peña hitting in that spot in every game.

“Jeremy has done a lot of good things,” Altuve said. “If I start talking about him, we might be here two hours. He’s a great player and I love the way he’s handling everything.”

Altuve and Carlos Correa had a relationship that Astros manager Dusty Baker likened to Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, so the words from Altuve — the 2019 ALCS MVP — carried weight.

“I think it’s important that Carlos passed the torch to him because I’ve seen some players don’t pass the torch,” Baker said. “They pass some dynamite. But Carlos passed the torch and he was a mentor to him. This is what baseball and life is all about, rooting for somebody else, because there’s a lot of jobs out there. We wanted to keep Carlos. Carlos wanted to stay but [we] couldn’t get things together. But the organization also felt that Peña was the right guy for the job, and he’s exceeded expectations.”

Aside from Sunday, Peña also put the Astros squarely on his shoulders with a solo homer in the 18th inning of their marathon ALDS Game 3 win in Seattle, the only run of what’s easily been Houston’s most tense game in these playoffs.

Peña’s 22 homers in the regular season were tied for sixth among shortstops and ranked second among first-year players to only Seattle’s Julio Rodríguez, who was named the AL Rookie of the Year Award winner. But Peña, who is good friends with fellow Dominican Rodríguez, will probably be fine with that given that his team is headed to the World Series.

Jeremy Peña Hits Solo Home Run to Help Houston Astros Sweep Seattle Mariners for Spot in AL Championship Series

Jeremy Peña is returning to Houston a hero…

The 25-year-old Dominican professional baseball player’s solo home run off Seattle Mariners reliever Penn Murfee provided the lone tally in the Houston Astros’ 1-0 victory that clinched a spot in the AL Championship Series for the sixth consecutive season.

Jeremy PeñaThis day, two decades in the making, seemed like it was never going to end. Game 3 of the American League Division Series between the top-seeded Astros and Mariners, hosting their first postseason game since 2001, featured epic pitching, exemplary defense and, finally, in the 18th inning, the only hit that mattered.

Never before had a postseason game gone scoreless for as long as Game 3 did. Its 18 innings tied a postseason record with three other games, its 6-hour, 22-minute run time the third longest ever. The 42 combined strikeouts set a record. The four combined walks and zero errors exemplified that this wasn’t just a battle of offensive ineptitude but rather a clinic in run prevention.

It was the capper of an oxymoronic outcome: the close sweep. While Houston took all three games in the best-of-five series, comeback victories in Games 1 and 2 showed that the Mariners were no fluke. They were simply not good enough to overcome Houston’s deep pitching staff and dangerous lineup.

“We kept putting the zero up there and they kept putting the zero up there, and you think we’re going to be able to break through because we have so many times,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “It’s kind of what we’re accustomed to, playing those tight games and finding a way. … I mean, that is a big league game, with the pitching and defense that was fired out there. We just weren’t able to put anything together.”

In the game’s first half, the story centered around a pair of great starting pitching performances, by Seattle rookie George Kirby and Houston right-hander Lance McCullers Jr., who was battling an illness. Kirby threw seven brilliant shutout innings; McCullers nearly matched him with six. Each ceded to a bullpen that ranks among the best in baseball, something both showed as arm after arm entered and exited the game without allowing a run.

Seven Seattle relievers put up scoreless outings before Peña’s homer. Houston matched that number, led by Luis Garcia, the right-handed starter who finished with five shutout innings, allowed two hits and zero walks, struck out six and locked down the 18th to earn the victory.

Pena, the 25-year-old rookie who took over at shortstop upon the free agent departure of Carlos Correa, had provided the necessary run in the top of the inning. He entered the at-bat 0-for-7. He left it 1-for-8 after Murfee hung a slider, and Pena pummeled it out to center field.

“You could tell by his brightness in his eyes and his alertness on the field that he wasn’t scared and he wasn’t fazed by this,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “Boy, he’s been a godsend to us, especially since we lost Carlos, because this could have been a disastrous situation had he not performed the way he has.”

Houston’s offense, the best in the American League this season, managed just 11 hits in 63 at-bats. Seattle’s offense, which lived by the home run this season, was 7-for-60. The Mariners struck out 22 times and drew three walks. The Astros walked just once against 20 punchouts. The defense was clean, none better than when Mariners star rookie Julio Rodriguez tracked down a Yuli Gurriel shot into the right-center-field gap in the 16th to save a pair of runs.

All night, “Ju-li-o” chants permeated T-Mobile Park, which 47,690 packed to see the Mariners’ first playoff team since the 2001 group that won 116 regular-season game but lost in the ALCS. While this Mariners core is likely to return to the playoffs in the coming years, the Astros are still the team through which the AL runs.

With a thin bullpen hamstringing them in past seasons, the Astros focused on sharpening it this year and after McCullers ran out a litany of power-armed relievers who each threw a scoreless inning: Hector NerisRafael MonteroRyan PresslyBryan Abreu and Ryne Stanek. Rookie Hunter Brown put up a pair of scoreless frames. And then came Garcia’s command performance.

“This at-bat,” Pena said of his home run, “was not going to be possible if our pitching staff didn’t keep us in the ballgame. They dominated all game. Their pitching staff dominated all game.”

The game resembled another from earlier this postseason, when the Cleveland Guardians and Tampa Bay Rays were scoreless until the 15th, when rookie Oscar Gonzalez hit a walk-off home run to clinch the wild card series for the Guardians. Excellent pitching has been the key for Houston, the Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padres, all of whom have advanced. Cleveland can grab the final championship-series spot and face the Astros with one more victory against the New York Yankees.

Houston Astros’ Yordan Alvarez Launches Go-Ahead, Two-Run Homer to Lead Team to Victory Over Seattle Mariners

Yordan Alvarez has done it again…

The 25-year-old Cuban professional baseball designated hitter and left fielder hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the sixth inning off Seattle Mariners ace Luis Castillo that lifted the Houston Astros over the Mariners 4-2 on Thursday for a 2-0 lead in the AL Division Series.

Yordan Alvarez,Alvarez was the Game 1 hero with his gut-punch, three-run shot off reigning AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray with two outs in the ninth inning that gave the Astros an 8-7 win in a game in which they had trailed by four.

With Thursday’s home run, Alvarez became the first player in Major League Baseball (MLB) postseason history to hit multiple career go-ahead homers in the sixth inning or later when his team was trailing, and both of his came in his past two games, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Castillo, acquired from the Cincinnati Reds near the trade deadline and coming off 7⅓ innings of shutout ball against Toronto Blue Jays in the wild-card round, gave up an early home run to Kyle Tucker but little else as he took a 2-1 lead into the sixth.

But with two outs, Jeremy Peña singled on a blooper that fell in between second baseman Adam Frazier and center fielder Julio Rodríguez. Castillo bent down and slapped his legs in disappointment as he watched the ball drop in shallow center.

That brought up Alvarez, who hit a 98 mph pitch tailing away to the opposite field, into the short porch in left to put the Astros on top 3-2.

Alvarez, who had 37 homers in the regular season, trotted around the bases as cameras panned to his Cuban parents, who are watching their first postseason series after arriving in Houston in August. The lefty pointed to them as he reached the plate before reenacting the powerful swing that has the Astros one win away from their sixth straight AL Championship Series.

There were two outs and a runner on first in the eighth when Seattle had surely seen enough of Alvarez leaving the yard. The Mariners intentionally walked him and Alex Bregman made them pay, adding some insurance when he singled to make it 4-2.

Houston starter Framber Valdez had a solid start, allowing four hits and two runs in 5⅔ innings. He had a different look than he did in his last postseason appearance after he and fellow pitcher Luis Garcia both got hair extensions this season.

Hector Neris earned the win after getting the last out of the sixth inning to escape a bases-loaded jam. Bryan Abreu got the first two outs of the seventh before Rafael Montero came in and threw 1⅓ scoreless innings.

Ryan Pressly walked the leadoff batter in the ninth before J.P. Crawford lined into a double play. Rodríguez doubled after that, but Pressly struck out Ty France for the save. The Astros won despite issuing seven walks overall.

The Mariners will head back to Seattle for Game 3 on Saturday in a huge hole in the best-of-five series as they host their first playoff game in 21 years.

Yordan Alvarez Smashes Game-Ending, Three-Run Homer to Lead Houston Astros to Game 1 Win vs. the Seattle Mariners

It’s a smashing moment for Yordan Alvarez. 

The 25-year-old Cuban professional baseball designated hitter and left fielder for the Houston Astros smashed a game-ending, three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning off Robbie Ray, wrecking the Seattle Mariners‘ strategy of using a Cy Young Award winner in a rare relief role and vaulting the Astros to an 8-7 victory on Tuesday in their playoff opener.

Yordan AlvarezTrailing all game after a poor start by Justin Verlander, the AL West champion Astros overtook rookie star Julio Rodriguez and the wildcard Mariners at the end to begin their best-of-five division series.

Houston was down 7-5 when rookie pinch-hitter David Hensley reached with one out in the ninth as Seattle closer Paul Sewald grazed his jersey with a pitch.

Sewald struck out Jose Altuve before Jeremy Pena laced a single to center field to chase Sewald.

Mariners manager Scott Servais then made the bold move to bring in Ray, who started Saturday at Toronto in the AL Wild Card Series, for a lefty vs. lefty matchup with Alvarez. Ray, who won the Cy Young last year with Toronto, had made only six relief appearances in his career and had never earned a pro save.

Alvarez, who hit 37 homers in the regular season, sent Ray’s second pitch deep into the seats in right field to set off a wild celebration with his parents in the stands.

“I think it’s one of the most special moments that I’ve had in my career,” Alvarez said. “Having them there and just for the city of Houston they know that we’re a team that never gives up, so just being able to get that hit there was one of the most special moments in his career.”

His blast was the second walk-off home run in postseason history by a team down to its final out, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. The other was Kirk Gibson‘s walk-off home run off Dennis Eckersley to lift the Los Angeles Dodgers to a Game 1 victory over the Oakland Athletics in the 1988 World Series.

The home run had an exit velocity of 116.7 mph, the fourth-fastest of the 546 walk-off home runs in the Statcast era and the highest ever in the postseason.

Servais said the decision to use Ray was something they had thought about.

“It was something going into the series where we were at, looking at our rotation, where we were going to head, and talking with Robbie about using him out of the bullpen as a bullet, so to speak, for that type of scenario,” he said. “You know, bringing in a lefty against Alvarez, although Alvarez is one of the better hitters in the league.

“But we talked about it coming into the series. We talked about it pregame today. I looked at it in the seventh inning and said, ‘Hey, this could happen.’ So that was the plan going in.”

Houston skipper Dusty Baker, who managed Servais while with the San Francisco Giants, refused to second-guess his former player.

“If he gets him out, then it looks great … next time Robbie Ray could win, but today we won,” Baker said.

The Mariners jumped on Verlander for six runs in just four innings to build a 6-2 lead early. Yuli Gurriel hit a solo homer in the Houston fourth before Eugenio Suarez‘s solo shot in the seventh extended Seattle’s lead to 7-3.

A two-run homer by Alex Bregman off Andres Munoz cut the lead to 7-5 in the eighth inning to set up the dramatic finish.

Julio Rodriguez Agrees to Massive Long-Term Deal with Seattle Mariners that Could Max Out at $470 Million

Julio Rodriguez has finalized a historic payday…

The 21-year-old Dominican professional baseball player, nicknamed “J-Rod,” has finalized a massive long-term extension deal with the Seattle Mariners that guarantees him $210 million and could max out at $470 million, which would be the richest deal in American sports history, sources told ESPN on Friday.

Julio RodriguezThe Mariners announced the deal on Friday before Rodriguez’s at-bat in the sixth inning of Seattle’s 3-2 win over the Cleveland Guardians, and he received a standing ovation from the crowd of 39,870. In a news release announcing the agreement, the team called it a “historic day for Julio and Mariners fans.”

“This is a great day for my family and me,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “I have always wanted to spend my whole career here, in Seattle, with this team and with these fans. I want to win here, in Seattle. That was what I told my agents, and what I told [president of baseball operations] Jerry [Dipoto]. I am so happy to be here.”

The base deal is for $120 million and lasts through the 2029 season, sources said.

Following the 2028 season, the Mariners can exercise an option for an additional eight or 10 years, depending on where Rodriguez finishes in MVP voting in the preceding seasons.

If the Mariners turn down the option, Rodriguez can exercise a five-year, $90 million player option after the 2029 season or hit free agency just shy of his 30th birthday.

The Mariners’ option is where the potential money can grow into a historically large figure. If Rodriguez maxes out his MVP escalators, Seattle’s option would be for 10 years and $350 million, taking the total value of the deal to $470 million through 2039. The lowest level would be for eight years and $200 million on top of the original $120 million, keeping Rodriguez tied to the Mariners through 2037.

“Julio is among the most exciting players in the game and has only scratched the surface of what’s to come,” Dipoto said in a statement. “We feel the uniqueness of this deal befits the person. His infectious personality and ability on the field are only surpassed by his character away from it. We are thrilled that generations of Mariners fans will have the privilege of watching him play in T-Mobile Park for many years to come.”

Rodriguez, a powerful and fast center fielder, became one of the most exciting players in baseball when he made the Mariners’ Opening Day roster. His dynamic skills and big personality endeared him to a Seattle community that hasn’t seen the Mariners make a postseason in two decades.

With an MLB All-Star Game selection, an epic Home Run Derby performance and a .267/.326/.467 line with 20 home runs and 23 stolen bases, Rodriguez has made perhaps an even bigger impact than anticipated.

“He’s learned a lot over the last 4½, five months about Major League Baseball and things he needed to work on and continue to improve upon,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said Friday. “Really good teammate. I mean, you can go on and on describing where he’s at. But there’s a lot of baseball, really good baseball ahead of him, and I know that’s what excites me and the organization.”

Signed as an amateur out of the Dominican Republic for $1.75 million in July 2017, Rodriguez was seen by scouts as a prototypical corner outfielder who could hit for power. What he has blossomed into, particularly over the past two years, is a true five-tool player with elite speed and the range for center field without sacrificing any of the power that remains one of his calling cards.

The Mariners broke camp with Rodriguez in center field. He struggled in April, striking out 30 times in 73 at-bats without a home run. Since then, Rodriguez has been one of the top players in baseball and the best on a Mariners team that is 69-57 and 2½ games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles for the final American League wild-card spot.

His deal, which was first reported by MLB.com, guarantees him the most money for a player with less than one full year in the major leagues. San Diego signed Fernando Tatis Jr. to a 14-year, $340 million contract after his second season, and the Tampa Bay Rays guaranteed $182 million over 11 seasons to shortstop Wander Franco last winter.

Rodriguez is seventh this season in Baseball-Reference wins above replacement and 16th in FanGraphs’ version. Provided he finishes high in MVP voting in future seasons, his deal is likelier to resemble that of Tatis.

While the 10-year version of Seattle’s option would necessitate consistently high MVP finishes, an eight-year, $280 million version — which would guarantee Rodriguez $400 million — is very attainable.

The potential record-setting nature of the $470 million ceiling could soon be eclipsed. Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani is set to reach free agency after the 2023 season. A year later, Padres star Juan Soto, who turned down a guaranteed $440 million from the Washington Nationals before they traded him, could be a free agent right after he turns 26.

Seattle Mariners Acquire Luis Castillo in Trade with Cincinnati Reds

Luis Castillo is heading west…

The Seattle Mariners, looking to end a postseason drought that stretches to 2001, acquired the best arm on the trade market on Friday night in a deal for the 29-year-old Dominican professional baseball pitcher from the Cincinnati Reds.

Luis Castillo“He’s one of the best pitchers in the game — he’s really established himself as a dominant starter,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “We’ve got a chance to do something really big here this year. You have to step out and take a chance once in a while if you ultimately want to get the reward, take a little risk. Dominant starting pitcher, and I’m anxious to meet him.”

Minor leaguers Noelvi Marte, Levi Stoudt, Edwin Arroyo and Andrew Moore are headed to Cincinnati, the teams announced.

Marte, a shortstop, is the highest rated of the group, with ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel ranking him the 12th-best prospect in baseball ahead of the season.

“We felt this was the best return we could get for Luis,” Reds general manager Nick Krall said.

The Mariners, led by star rookie Julio Rodriguez, are 54-47, 12 games behind the first-place Houston Astros in the AL West. They are in the second of three AL wild-card spots, a half-game in front of Tampa Bay (53-47) and two games ahead of Cleveland (51-48). Seattle won its final 14 games before the MLB All-Star break, one short of the longest winning streak in team history and the best run by any club heading into the break since 1933. But the Mariners are 3-5 since, following an 11-1 loss at Houston on Friday night.

Now, they’ve added the best available arm ahead of the Tuesday trade deadline, one who will join an already-solid rotation that includes Robbie Ray and Logan Gilbert.

It’s a massive pickup for a Mariners organization that has not reached the postseason since 2001, the longest active drought among the four major North American pro sports leagues (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL).

Castillo is 4-4 with a 2.86 ERA in 14 starts for the Reds this season, striking out 90 and walking 28 in 85 innings. His fastball averages 97 mph. He has a career 3.62 ERA in six seasons, all with Cincinnati.

“It has been a beautiful experience,” Castillo said through an interpreter. “To have my name in the fans’ mouth and having them cheer me on, it is something I will treasure forever.”

Castillo won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2023 season, so the Mariners would have him for at least the rest of this year and all of next.

Castillo has bounced back from a career-worst season in 2021, when he lost 16 games and walked a league-high 75 batters. His changeup has been his best pitch for most of his career, but this year, he is actually throwing his four-seam fastball more, and doing so with a lot of success. Opponents have whiffed on 39% of their swings against his four-seamer, the highest rate of Castillo’s career and the highest of any pitcher in the majors (minimum 300 four-seamers thrown).

Castillo has a 1.38 ERA in four starts against the AL this year, second to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw (0.69) among qualified pitchers.

The Reds have been moving veteran players for prospects since the end of the lockout earlier this year. In March, they traded Eugenio Suarez and Jesse Winker to the Mariners, and Thursday, they traded outfielder Tyler Naquin and reliever Phillip Diehl to the New York Mets.

They’re getting a haul from Seattle in this trade, with Marte and Arroyo ranked among the team’s top 10 prospects ahead of the season by ESPN’s McDaniel.

Marte, 20, has spent the year for High-A Everett, hitting .275 with 15 home runs and a team-best 62 runs scored and 55 RBIs to go along with 13 steals entering Friday.

McDaniel ranked Arroyo, also a shortstop, as Seattle’s eighth-best prospect entering the season. The 18-year-old has spent the season at Single-A Modesto, hitting .316 with 76 runs, 67 RBIs, 13 home runs and 21 steals.

Stoudt, a 24-year-old right-hander and a third-round draft pick in 2019, is 6-6 with a 5.28 ERA in 18 starts for Double-A Arkansas this season.

And Moore, 22, has a 1.95 ERA in 25 relief appearances at Modesto this season.

“Noelvi Marte has a chance to be an impact middle of the order bat who can play shortstop,” Krall said. “Edwin Arroyo same thing — he has power/speed combo, who can play shortstop. Levi Stoudt has a chance to be a major league starter. Andrew Moore just started to pitch. He was drafted last year. He has explosive, explosive stuff. His fastball is up to 102 with a plus slider.”

Cincinnati infielder Brandon Drury also could be moved before the Tuesday deadline, along with several Reds relievers.

Francisco Alvarez Headlines Roster for MLB’s Futures Game at Dodger Stadium

Francisco Alvarez’s future(s) looked bright…

The 20-year-old Venezuelan professional baseball catcher and New York Mets catching prospect headlines the rosters announced on Thursday for the 2022 SiriusXM Futures Game at Dodger Stadium on July 16.

Francisco AlvarezAlvarez, the No. 9 prospect on ESPN’s preseason top 100 list, is hitting .272/.364/.540 with 18 home runs and received a promotion to Triple-A earlier this week after bashing several mammoth home runs for Double-A Binghamton.

Mets fans are calling for his promotion to the majors given that the team’s catchers are hitting just .195 with two home runs. While installing a rookie at catcher on a first-place team in the middle of the season is unlikely, the Mets could also use Alvarez at designated hitter, where J.D. Davis and Dom Smith have delivered subpar production.

With many of the preseason’s top prospects already in the majors — including Julio RodriguezBobby Witt Jr.Adley Rutschman and Riley Greene — Alvarez has ascended to ESPN’s top spot of those still in the minors.

The overall top performer in the minors so far might be Baltimore Orioles shortstop Gunnar Henderson, who is hitting .298/.429/.548 with 13 home runs and 15 steals between Double-A and Triple-A and has made a huge leap from his preseason ranking of No. 96.

Other top prospects to watch in the game, to be played on July 16 at 7 p.m. ET, include Cardinals power-hitting third baseman Jordan Walker; Pirates catcher Henry Davis, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 draft; and Rangers right-hander Jack Leiter, the No. 2 in last year’s draft.

The game will be divided into American League and National League rosters.

American League pitchers: Bryan Bello, Red Sox (recently promoted to majors); Taj Bradley, Rays; Hunter Brown, Astros; Ky Bush, Angels; Wilmer Flores, Tigers; Emerson Hancock, Mariners; Jack Leiter, Rangers; Ricky Tiedmann, Blue Jays; Ken Waldichuk, Yankees; Yosver Zulueta, Blue Jays

American League position players: C Yainer Diaz, Astros; C Dillon Dingler, Tigers; C Shea Langeliers, A’s; SS Gunnar Henderson, Orioles; 3B Curtis Mead, Rays; 3B Jhonkensy Noel, Guardians; 1B Nick Pratto, Royals; SS/CF Ceddanne Rafaela, Red Sox; IF Spencer Steer Twins; SS Anthony Volpe, Yankees; OF Denzel Clarke, A’s; OF Oscar Colas, White Sox; OF Jasson Dominguez, Yankees; OF George Valera, Guardians; OF Matt Wallner, Twins

National League pitchers: Andrew Abbott, Reds; Mike Burrows, Pirates; Cade Cavalli, Nationals; Kyle Harrison, Giants; Antoine Kelly, Brewers; Bobby Miller, Dodgers; Erik Miller, Phillies; Eury Perez, Marlins; Jared Shuster, Braves

National League position players: C Francisco Alvarez, Mets; C Diego Cartaya, Dodgers; C Henry Davis, Pirates; C Logan O’Hoppe, Phillies; 2B Darren Baker, Nationals; SS Elly De La Cruz, Reds; SS Ezequiel Tovar, Rockies; 3B Miguel Vargas, Dodgers; 3B/2B David Villar, Giants (recently promoted to majors); 3B Jordan Walker, Cardinals; SS Masyn Winn, Cardinals; OF Corbin Carroll, Diamondbacks; OF Jackson Chourio, Brewers; OF Pete Crow-Armstrong, Cubs; OF Robert Hassell III, Padres; OF Zac Veen, Rockies.

Juan Francisco Leads Dominican Republic to Country’s First-Ever Baseball Olympics Medal

2020 Tokyo GamesJuan Francisco is the Domincan Republic’s new hero…

The 34-year-old Dominican former professional baseball first baseman homered to help give the Dominican Republic a four-run, first-inning lead, then hit a tie-breaking, two-run double off Seunghwan Oh in a five-run eighth inning to help lead his team to a 10-6 victory over South Korea to claim the bronze in men’s baseball at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Juan Francisco

Melky Cabrera had four hits for the Dominicans (3-3), who won a baseball medal for the first time, and the country’s first-ever team medal.

South Korea (3-4), the 2012 London Games gold medalist, took a 6-5 lead in a four-run fifth inning against five pitchers. Kang Baek-Ho hit a go-ahead single.

Oh (2-1), a 39-year-old right-hander who pitched in Major League Baseball blew a save for the second time in the tournament.

Kansas City farmhands Jeison Guzman and Erick Mejia singled in the eighth, Seattle Mariners prospect Julio Rodriguez walked and Oh threw a wild pitch that tied the score.

Dominican Republic Baseball

Francisco, a six-year big league veteran whose last major league at-bat was in 2014, had struck out in his three previous plate appearances and nine times overall. The 34-year-old doubled to the left-center gap for an 8-6 lead, and Boston Red Sox prospect Johan Mieses followed with a long two-run homer to left.

Francisco hit .208 (5 for 24) with two homers and five RBIs during the tournament, the last for baseball in the Olympics until at least 2028.

Cristopher Mercedes (1-0), who pitches for the Central League‘s Yomiuri Giants, threw 3 1/3 shutout innings through the eighth as the fourth reliever out of the Dominican bullpen.

Jumbo Diaz, four years removed from his last big league appearance, relieved with two on in the ninth and got three straight outs for the save.

Rodriguez, a 20-year-old at Double-A Arkansas, put the Dominicans ahead 2-0 on an afternoon of intermittent rain when he sent a 0-1 pitch well over the left field wall. Francisco drove the next pitch in the last row of the right-field seats for his second Olympic homer and a 3-0 lead.

Mieses walked, and that was it for South Korea starter Kim Min-woo, who allowed four runs, three hits and a walk in one-third of an inning. Charlie Valerio added a sacrifice fly.

Dominican starter Raul Valdes, a 43-year-old left-hander who was the oldest player in the tournament, gave up five runs and nine hits in four-plus innings. Valdes’ last big league appearance was for Houston in 2014.

Rodriguez was hit on the right hand by a pitch from Park Se-Woong in the sixth but stayed in the game.

Jhan Marinez‘s first attempt to relieve was foiled when the bullpen cart started to the mound when he had just one leg on it, causing him to stumble. He got back on and walked his only batter.