Former Mariner and Red Wladimir Balentien has 12 homers in only 45 games for the Yakult Swallows. But after a fast start that gave him those power numbers, he has slumped, going homerless in 50 straight at bats and seeing his average drop over a 100 points.
So he tweeted about it, the other night. He just picked a bad time to do it:
Former major league baseballer Wladimir Balentien has been warned by his Japanese team the Yakult Swallows for updating his twitter account during a 10-0 loss.
Balentien, who has been in the midst of a prolonged slump, tweeted “I will never give up” just before the end of Monday’s 10-0 loss to the Seibu Lions. He was sent to Yakult’s minor league team on Tuesday.
It’s unclear if the demotion was due to the tweeting or the slumping. But either way, not the kind of thing that flies in the NPB I imagine.
I would hope by now that I no longer have to preface All-Star talk with my usual “none of this matters” disclaimers, but please keep all of that in mind when I mention that Nick Markakis is leading all National League outfielders in All-Star voting.
Markakis, with 1,173,653 votes, has surpassed the slumping Bryce Harper in that category. Harper has 1,002,696 votes. The third place outfielder is Matt Kemp of the Dodgers with 925,697. Fourth place — Charlie Blackmon of the Dodgers — is like 300,000 votes back of Kemp.Yes, Markakis, Harper and Kemp may be the starting NL outfield. Brandon Nimmo — not on the ballot — should be grumpy, but he’ll get his chance I’m sure.
The thing about it: Markakis, for as unexpected as his appearance may be on this list, deserves to at least be in the top three. He’s second in WAR among National League outfielders behind Lorenzo Cain. He’s slowed down a good bit in June and he’s coming off of a 2017 season in which he had a 96 OPS+ and 0.7 WAR, but he’s having quite an outstanding season. I write that mostly so that there is a record of it come October and we’ve all forgotten it.
Seriously, though, good for Markakis, who has never made an All-Star Game. Good for Kemp too for that matter, who most people assumed was a walking — well, limping — corpse heading into this season. Good for Harper because anything that can keep up the guise of him having a good year when, in reality, he’s really not, will help his confidence as he heads into free agency.
Finally, good for the American League, who will likely get to face a far, far inferior National League team next month in Washington.
The rest of the voting: