Not interested in tonight’s big college football game between LSU and Alabama? Fortunately there’s also some baseball on the tube. Some of the game’s best prospects will be on hand for tonight’s Rising Stars Game in the Arizona Fall League, which will be broadcast live on MLB Network and MLB.com at 8 p.m. ET.
The main attraction will be 2010 No. 1 overall pick Bryce Harper, who has made a mockery of AFL pitching in recent days, but tonight’s game is also a showcase for the first two picks of this year’s First-Year Player Draft. The hard-throwing Gerrit Cole, who was selected first overall by the Pirates in June, will make the start for the East team while Mariners prospect left-hander Danny Hultzen gets the call for the West.
Below are your lineups for tonight. Some other names of note include Angels’ outfielder Mike Trout and Royals’ prospect outfielder Wil Myers.
Rising Stars East lineup: RF – Robbie Grossman (Pirates), CF – Mike Trout (Angels), SS – Junior Lake (Cubs), 3B – Nolan Arenado (Rockies), DH – Bryce Harper (Nationals), C – Derek Norris (Nationals), 1B – Ben Paulsen (Rockies), 2B – Brian Dozier (Twins), LF – Tim Wheeler (Rockies)
Rising Stars West lineup: CF – Kevin Mattison (Marlins), SS – Nick Franklin (Mariners), RF – Wil Myers (Royals), 3B – Mike Olt (Rangers) , DH – Michael Choice (Athletics), 1B – Joey Terdoslavich, LF (Braves) – Jaff Decker (Padres), C – Christian Bethancourt (Braves), 2B – Christian Colon (Royals)
Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius had another fantastic night last night. He went 3-for-3, hitting a home run for the fourth game in a row, had an RBI single and reached base safely in all five of his plate appearances in New York’s 7-4 win over Minnesota.
For the year that gives Gregorius a line of .372/.470/.833, putting him atop the American League in average, slugging, OPS, and OPS+. He also leads the league in total bases (65) and RBI (29). He leads all of baseball in fWAR at 2.2, edging out Mike Trout despite the fact that Trout has played in two more games. He’s second behind Trout in homers with nine.
After last night’s game he insisted that he is not a home run hitter:
“I do have a lot of home runs, but it’s not like I am going out there to try to hit them . . . I’m not a power guy like Judge and Stanton, who hit 50 to 60 and up. Those are the guys who actually hit home runs. One year, let’s say, I hit five — then you ask me where that part went . . . if they go out, they go out. I’m just mostly trying to barrel it up and get a good swing . . . I try to hit line drives and if you check most of my home runs they were line drives,” he said. “It’s not like I am going up to hit deep fly balls.”
Given that he hit 25 homers last year and 20 the year before, he’s being a bit modest, even if he’s not likely to keep up this torrid pace. That modesty is not stopping some people from getting a bit carried away, of course:
We’ll forgive Bob for the hyperbole. Didi has been fun to watch.