Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Wins First Home Run Derby Title

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is officially a home run king… 

After a four-year absence, the 24-year-old Dominican professional baseball first baseman and designated hitter for the Toronto Blue Jays has claimed his first MLB All-Star Home Run Derby title.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr.Guerrero defeated Randy Arozarena in the final to claim.

Guerrero and his MLB Hall of Fame father Vladimir Guerrero Sr., who won it 16 years ago, are the first father-son duo to be Home Run Derby champions.

In the process, a prospective three-time winner was eliminated, with Pete Alonso booted in the first round after Julio Rodriguez hit a whopping 41 home runs, the most ever in a single Home Run Derby round. J-Rod, however, was unable to secure the hometown coronation in the Emerald City, losing to Guerrero in the second round.

In all, Guerrero hit 72 homeruns across the three rounds.

Here’s a look at the round performance:

Round 1
No. 5 Randy Arozarena (24 home runs) defeated No. 4 Adolis Garcia (17 home runs)
No. 1 Luis Robert Jr. (28 home runs) defeated No. 8 Adley Rutschman (27 home runs)
No. 3 Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (26 home runs) defeated No. 6 Mookie Betts (11 home runs)
No. 2 Julio Rodriguez (41 home runs) defeated No. 7 Pete Alonso (21 home runs)

Round 2
Arozarena (35 home runs) defeated Robert (22 home runs)
Guerrero (21 home runs) defeated Rodriguez (20 home runs)

Final
Guerrero (25 home runs) defeated Arozarena (23 home runs)

 

Adolis Garcia Joins American League MLB All-Star Game Lineup as Injury Replacement

Adolis Garcia is headed to the MLB All-Star Game

The 30-year-old Cuban professional baseball player and Texas Rangers outfielder has joined the American League lineup as an injury replacement.

Adolis Garcia Garcia was named to the AL team along with Baltimore Orioles outfielder Austin Hays and Los Angeles Angels pitcher Carlos Estevez.

They take over for New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, Angels outfielder Mike Trout and Cleveland Guardians closer Emmanuel Clase.

With Garcia’s selection, Texas will become the first team in 47 years to have five position players start in the All-Star Game.

On the NL side, Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Geraldo Perdomo was named as an injury replacement for Chicago Cubs shortstop Dansby Swanson.

Estevez and Perdomo are first-time All-Stars.

Garcia joins Rangers catcher Jonah Heim, second baseman Marcus Semien, shortstop Corey Seager and third baseman Josh Jung in the AL lineup for Tuesday’s game at Seattle. The non-Rangers are Tampa Bay first baseman Yandy Díaz and outfielder Randy Arozarena, Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani and Hays.

The only other teams with five position players to start the All-Star Game were the 1939 Yankees and the 1956, 1957 and 1976 Cincinnati Reds.

Judge hasn’t played since tearing a ligament in his right big toe June 3 while crashing into a bullpen gate as he made a catch at Dodger Stadium. Trout broke his left wrist fouling off a pitch Monday and had surgery Wednesday.

Clase, who is tied for first in the major leagues with 42 appearances and ranks fourth with 24 saves, withdrew from the All-Star Game in order to spend time with his pregnant girlfriend in the Dominican Republic. He will remain with the Guardians through Sunday’s home series finale against Kansas City.

Swanson is dealing with a bruised heel and decided not to play in the All-Star Game.

Pete Alonso to Vie for Third Title at This Year’s MLB All-Star Home Run Derby

Pete Alonso is gunnin’ for a triple crown…

The 28-year-old part-Spanish American professional baseball player and New York Mets first baseman will participate in the MLB All-Star Home Run Derby on July 10 in Seattle, as he looks to win the title for the third time.

Pete Alonso“I’m stoked,” Alonso said after hitting his 25th homer Sunday night in New York’s 8-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants. “It’s a really fun event. The field is extremely talented and I think this is going to be a derby that a lot of people are going to remember for a long time.”

Alonso was selected to his third MLB All-Star team earlier in the day, and New York’s lone representative on the National League squad will take part in the derby for the fourth time.

He joins a field so far that also includes Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena, Los Angeles Dodgers star Mookie Betts, Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Seattle Mariners outfielder Julio Rodríguez.

Alonso won the competition in 2019 and 2021. Ken Griffey Jr. (1998-99) and Yoenis Céspedes (2013-14) are the only other back-to-back champions in the history of the event, which began in 1985.

The 2020 edition was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his rookie season, Alonso edged Guerrero 23-22 in the final round with just seconds to spare to claim a $1 million prize.

Two years later, Alonso hit 74 homers at Coors Field in Colorado and won the derby by edging Trey Mancini in the finals.

Last year at Dodger Stadium, Alonso topped Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuña Jr. in the first round before losing 31-23 to Rodríguez in the semifinals.

Alonso is hitting .221 with 25 homers and 58 RBIs in 76 games this season. He missed 10 games with a bruised left wrist but made a speedy return from the injury.

“I thought that the derby wasn’t necessarily the biggest priority when I was coming back from the wrist,” Alonso said. “It was trying to come back and be as productive as I can for my team. If I’m able to play a game, I’m definitely going to be able to take batting practice. So for me the biggest concern was getting back to the team. The derby for me is a happy bonus.”

Tampa Bay Rays Star Randy Arozarena to Compete in His First Home Run Derby

Randy Arozarena is preparing to take a swing at a first home run title…

The 28-year-old Cuban-Mexican professional baseball outfielder for the Tampa Bay Rays, an MLB All-Star, will take part in the 2023 Home Run Derby, Arozarena announced via social media.

Randy ArozarenaThis will be Arozarena’s first time in the Home Run Derby, and makes him the third Rays player to participate in one, after Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena.

“He’s excited about it,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “I can feel very confident in saying he will be very entertaining. I know the fans enjoy watching Randy, I enjoy watching Randy. He’s got that “It” factor, and this is just another level to it.”

Arozarena is the fourth announced participant in the eight-man July 10 contest at Seattle’s T-Mobile Park, joining Seattle Mariners‘ centerfielder Julio RodríguezToronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts.

“I feel very happy for the opportunity to participate in the Home Run Derby,” Arozarena said. “It’s always been a goal of mine, and also to be in the All-Star game itself. Everyone knows I like to hit home runs, so that is another reason why I wanted to be able to participate.”

Arozarena has 15 home runs so far this season, second on the Rays behind Jose Siri, who has 16. With Arozarena’s bubbly personality and penchant for dramatic on-field moments, Cash sees him as a perfect fit for the Derby’s big stage.

“There are some people that just have it,” Cash said. “I don’t know what it is, like you can’t pin it down. You watch him, I think every time there is a picture taken of him or he’s on TV, he’s smiling, and most of the time fans can really relate to that. I appreciate that, and then you add the component that he’s a really special talent, with speed, with power. He’s fun to watch.”

Atlanta‘s Ronald Acuña Jr., who topped all players in votes, said he will not participate for a third time.

Juan Soto won last year’s derby at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, edging Rodríguez 19-18 in the final round.

Nolan Arenado Named a Starter for His Eighth MLB All-Star Game

Nolan Arenado will be starting in yet another Major League Baseball All-Star Game… 

The 32-year-old Puerto Rican and Cuban American professional baseball a third baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals has been voted as a starter for the MLB All-Star Game in Seattle next month.

Nolan ArenadoArenado will be headed to the All-Star Game for the eighth time in his career.

The final round of voting was announced on Thursday evening and revealed three starters from the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers, while the MLB-leading Tampa Bay Rays will have two starters — Yandy Diaz and Randy Arozarena.

Arizona Diamondbacks rookie Corbin Carroll also made the team as a starter in the outfield, where he’ll join veterans Mookie Betts and Ronald Acuna Jr.

Other highlights from the second phase of voting include Los Angeles Dodgers designated hitter J.D. Martinez beating out Philadelphia Phillies DH Bryce Harper in a close vote (53% to 47%), denying Harper of the National League honor after his quick return from Tommy John surgery.

Meanwhile, Mike Trout earned his 11th All-Star appearance while Freddie Freeman is the National League‘s starter at first base in his seventh All-Star Game.

MLB’s leading hitter, Luis Arraez, also was named a starter, beating out Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies. Arraez was batting over .400 as recently as this past weekend, but saw that mark drop to .392 on Thursday.

“I almost cried there,” Arraez said after learning of his election.

Albies’ teammate, catcher Sean Murphy, won out over Dodgers backstop Will Smith to garner his first All-Star appearance.

Shohei Ohtani (DH) and Acuna were previously announced as starters after leading their respective leagues in first-round voting.

All-Star pitchers and reserves will be named on Sunday.

The game takes place on Tuesday, July 11, at T-Mobile Park.

Here are the 2022 MLB All-Star Game starters:

American League
C — Jonah Heim, Rangers
1B — Yandy Diaz, Rays
2B — Marcus Semien, Rangers
SS — Corey Seager, Rangers
3B — Josh Jung, Rangers
DH — Shohei Ohtani, Angels
OF — Mike Trout, Angels
OF — Randy Arozarena, Rays
OF — Aaron Judge, Yankees

National League
C — Sean Murphy, Braves
1B — Freddie Freeman, Dodgers
2B — Luis Arraez, Marlins
SS — Orlando Arcia, Braves
3B — Nolan Arenado, Cardinals
DH — J.D. Martinez, Dodgers
OF — Ronald Acuña Jr., Braves
OF — Mookie Betts, Dodgers
OF — Corbin Carroll, Diamondbacks

United States will Permit Cuban MLB Players like Jose Abreu to Represent Home Country at World Baseball Classic

Jose Abreu could represent Cuba in next year’s World Baseball Classic.

The United States will permit Major League Baseball players from Cuba, like the 35-year-old professional baseball player, to represent their home country in the tournament next year.

Jose AbreuThe decision announced over the weekend in a news release by the Baseball Federation of Cuba (FCB) could be a big step in once again turning Cuba’s national team into heavy hitters on an international stage.

Major League Baseball confirmed Monday that the U.S. granted the license to FCB.

It clears the way for MLB stars such as Abreu, Yordan AlvarezRandy ArozarenaYoan Moncada and Luis Robert to play for Cuba in the WBC in March if they choose to accept a potential invitation.

It’s up to each country’s national governing body to pick the players on its WBC team. Final 30-man rosters are due on February 7 for the WBC, which begins March 8 with Cuba facing the Netherlands in Taiwan.

While the sport of choice for much of Latin America is soccer, baseball dominates in Cuba. The island has gained fame around the world for its baseball talent.

But in recent years, hundreds of those players have defected from Cuba to play professionally elsewhere. Most notably, many have become United States residents and stars with major league teams in the U.S.

The defections are largely due to a not-so-uncommon geopolitical spat between the two seaside neighbors, leaving Cuban players stuck in the middle.

Cuban athletes competing on the island can’t earn a paycheck under the communist government, which prohibited professional sports following the Cuban revolution 60 years ago.

Longtime sanctions by the U.S. make it largely impossible for Cubans to play professionally for an American team without defecting. Meanwhile, Cuba historically has not allowed Cuban players who defected on their national team rosters.

The defections have taken a toll on Cuba’s performance in international baseball competitions. For example, the Cuban baseball team failed to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Games after years of previously winning medals in the sport.

In November, Cuba changed its tune and invited several top players who defected to represent the country in the World Baseball Classic, a tournament that features some of the sport’s top players competing in Japan, Taiwan and the U.S.

Weeks later, Cuban officials accused the Biden administration of blocking those players from representing Cuba.

In a statement Saturday, FCB President Juan Reinaldo Perez Pardo called the permit a “positive step,” and said the Cuban federation should have more information about the team’s WBC roster once it has more details about the license granted by the U.S.

At the same time, Perez Pardo also criticized the U.S., tweeting Saturday that “it is arbitrary and discriminatory that a permit from the government of this country (the U.S.) is needed to attend” the WBC.

Randy Arozarena Named the American League’s Rookie of the Year

Randy Arozarena is celebrating a special honor…

The 26-year-old Cuban professional baseball outfielder, last year’s breakout postseason star, has been named this year’s American League Rookie of the Year.

Randy ArozarenaThe Tampa Bay Rays outfielder beat out teammate Wander Franco and right-handed starter Luis Garcia of the Houston Astros for the honor.

Arozarena received 124 points in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, including 22 for first place. Garcia had 63 points and Franco had 30 points.

Arozarena led all rookies with a 4.1 WAR while compiling a .815 OPS. He hit 20 home runs while stealing 20 bases becoming the third rookie (Mike TroutAndrew Benintendi) in the last decade to compile a 20-20 season.

Arozarena made only one error in 119 games played in the outfield. He and first baseman Jose Martinez were acquired in January 2020 from the St. Louis Cardinals for lefty Matthew Liberatore and catcher Edgardo Rodriguez.

Arozarena was the ALCS MVP that season while hitting 11 home runs during the playoffs.

“I know I was favored to be the rookie of the year,” Arozarena said through a translator. “But for me, my mind wasn’t set on the award or winning the award. My mind and my goal was to have another good season and continue what I had done the year before.”

Arozarena is Tampa Bay’s first rookie of the year since outfielder Wil Myers in 2013.

Franco, 20, made a late season run for top rookie honors as he reached base in 43 consecutive games, tied with Frank Robinson (1956) for the longest such streak by a player 20 years old or younger. Franco only played in 70 games after getting called up from the minors in June.

Garcia, 24, was an integral part of the division winning Astros. He appeared in 30 games including making 28 starts while compiling a 3.48 ERA. He gave up just 133 hits in 155.1 innings. He led all AL rookies in innings pitched and strikeouts.

Randy Arozarena Makes MLB Playoff History by Stealing Home & Hitting Homer in Same Game

Randy Arozarena has made MLB playoff history…

The 26-year-old Cuban professional baseball outfielder for the Tampa Bay Rays – the leading candidate for American League Rookie of the Year — made history Thursday by becoming the first player in playoff history to steal home and hit a home run in the same game during Tampa Bay’s 5-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox in Game 1 of the ALDS in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Randy Arozarena

The swipe marked the first steal of home in a playoff game since 2016, when Chicago Cubs infielder Javier Baez pulled off the feat in the National League Championship Series, and the first straight steal of home in a playoff game since Jackie Robinson‘s against Yogi Berra and the New York Yankees in 1955.

“I noticed the pitcher kind of wasn’t keeping attention to me. I was able to take a big enough lead and take that base,” Arozarena said through an interpreter. “That’s the first time I’ve ever stolen home.”

Arozarena, who is still a rookie despite setting postseason records with 10 home runs and 29 hits in 20 games during the 2020 playoffs, stole home against Boston reliever Josh Taylor to make the score 5-0 in the seventh inning after drawing a walk.

Rays manager Kevin Cash said Arozarena had been asking him about stealing home for weeks. During the 2020 World Series, Rays outfielder Manuel Margot was thrown out when he attempted a similar steal off Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw, but Arozarena kept insisting.

“He’s asked me all season long, ‘Verde, verde, verde’ — green light,” Cash said. “We finally gave it to him.”

Arozarena easily beat the throw home to catcher Christian Vazquez via headfirst slide.

Arozarena ranks second for the most home runs in a 20-game postseason span, tied with Carlos Beltran and Jim Thome with 11 and trailing just Babe Ruth, who leads with 12. His 11 career postseason home runs are five more than any other rookie in MLB history, with Evan Longoria ranking second with six.

Asked about his playoff success, Arozarena said the stakes create a desire to meet the moment.

“I just focus a little bit more,” Arozarena said. “Luckily it’s happening in October, when it means it’s closer to the World Series.”

Wonderfilm Media Developing Biopic About Tampa Bay Rays’ Breakout Star Randy Arozarena

Randy Arozarena’s life story is headed to the big screen…

The 25-year-old Cuban professional baseball outfielder and Tampa Bay Rays rookie, who broke the MLB record for most home runs and hits in a single postseason, will be the focus of a biopic from Wonderfilm Media.

Randy Arozarena

Arozarena, the Rays’ breakout star, came from Cuba and fueled his team’s run to the World Series, which eventually went to the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games.

Brad Gann, the screenwriter of the Mark Wahlberg-led Invincible and a co-writer of pro surfer Bethany Hamilton biopic Soul Surfer, will write the screenplay.

Arozarena’s story is inspiring. He escaped Cuba on a makeshift boat, landed in Mexico, and started a new life there before making his way to the U.S. and eventually, his Major League Baseball debut in 2017.

Arozarena currently holds the MLB record for most home runs in a single postseason with 10. In his rookie postseason, Arozarena broke Barry Bonds’ record for most home runs as well as Derek Jeter’s record for most hits by a rookie. He was also named MVP of the ALCS.

Rays’ Randy Arozarena Breaks Record for Most Hits in Single Postseason

Randy Arozarena is breaking records like theyre going out of style

 

The 25-year-old Cuban professional baseball outfielder and Tampa Bay Rays rookie, who had already set the MLB record for most home runs in a postseason, now owns the record for most hits in a single postseason after his third-inning base hit off Los Angeles Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw in Sunday’s Game 5 of the World Series.

Randy Arozarena

 

Arozarena hit a 1-2 slider to left field for his 27th hit this postseason. He was tied with Pablo Sandoval, who had 26 hits in the 2014 postseason. The single brought home Yandy Diaz, who had tripled.

 

It was the first of Arozarena’s 27 hits with a runner in scoring position. Arozarena was previously 0-for-6 in that category.

 

“Pretty special. Pretty special,” manager Kevin Cash said after the Rays’ 4-2 loss to the Dodgers that left Tampa Bay in a 3-2 series deficit. “He wanted the ball, too. I noticed that. He asked for the ball. Congrats to Randy.”

 

After reaching first base, he signaled for someone to get the ball for him as a keepsake. Arozarena also has a record nine home runs in his first playoff experience, while Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager is right behind him with eight.

Game 6 is Tuesday at Globe Life Field.