Florida-based talent set to shine at the 89th MLB All-Star Game
The 89th MLB All-Star Game will be held July 17 at Nationals Park in Washington, DC, featuring a multitude of Florida-affiliated talent when the first pitch is tossed at 7:30 p.m. on FOX Monday evening.
As the Sunshine State continues to produce some of the best talent in the MLB and MiLB, the many opportunities for fans to connect with their favorite teams and players continue after a successful Spring Training campaign in the Grapefruit League, an active Florida State League, Gulf Coast League, Southern League schedule, and the continual chase for division titles in each respective affiliation.
The Midsummer Classic will feature four Florida-born major leaguers that will see two individuals, Manny Machado of the Baltimore Orioles and J.D. Martinez of the Boston Red Sox, serving as starters for the American League while a total of 15 players with immediate connections back to the Sunshine State will take the field on Tuesday evening.
Joining Martinez and Machado on the 2018 squads are Florida-born natives Chris Sale (Boston Red Sox) and National Leaguers Jacob deGrom (New York Mets), and Miles Mikolas (St. Louis Cardinals).
Martinez and Mikolas make the Nova Southeastern Sharks the lone NCAA Division II program to have at least two players recognized among baseball’s elite in the last five years. Martinez will represent the American League as the starting designated hitter, following his second career selection, while Mikolas earns his first career All-Star nod after being picked as a reserve pitcher for the National League side. Six others represent Florida’s collegiate ranks. deGrom is joined by former Stetson Hatter Corey Kluber, Florida Gulf Coast’s Sale, and Florida State’s Buster Posey. Lorenzo Cain (Tallahassee Community College) and Patrick Corbin (Chipola College) round out the Sunshine State’s former student-athletes taking part in the 2018 Midsummer Classic.
Florida’s roots continue to show itself on a national stage as 10 of the previously highlighted 16 participants played their scholastic ball throughout the Sunshine State. Prep star and National League starter Javier Baez (Chicago Cubs) has shined since his time at Arlington Country Day in Jacksonville. In 2016, Baez helped guide the Cubs to their first World Series title since the 1908 season and has continued to excel on the mainstage of professional baseball. Joining Baez as former Florida-based high school talent on this year’s All-Star team are Machado, Mikolas, deGrom, Sale, Martinez, Michael Brantley, Francisco Lindor, and Scooter Gennett.
Rounding out Florida’s representation in the Midsummer Classic are Tampa Bay’s Wilson Ramos and Miami’s J.T. Realmuto. The duo will serve as reserves in the contest.
On Sunday, July 15, six Florida State League players, headlined by Taylor Trammell of the Daytona Tortugas, and one coach, Steve Singleton–hitting coach for Fort Myers Miracle, will toe the field during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game that kicks off the 2018 All-Star Weekend in the Nation’s Capital. The World versus USA formatted rosters will also feature five native Floridians, including Shaun Anderson, Peter Alonso, Bo Bichette, Ryan Mountcastle, and Brendan Rodgers, that will showcase the MiLB’s top prospects and performers this season at 4 p.m. on MLB Network.
The long-ball will be the main event on Monday, July 16 as the T-Mobile Home Run Derby will see multiple home runs knocked out of Nationals Park. The slugfest will begin at 8 p.m., live on ESPN. Joining this year’s field of sluggers from the National League are Baez, Bryce Harper (Washington Nationals), Max Muncy (Los Angeles Dodgers), Jesus Aguilar (Milwaukee Brewers), Freddie Freeman (Atlanta Braves), Rhys Hoskins (Philadelphia Phillies) and Kyle Schwarber (Chicago Cubs) while the lone representative from the American League is Houston’s Alex Bregman.
For a complete listing of all events surrounding the 2018 MLB All-Star weekend, click here.