When we last checked in this morning, Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas and Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez were in the lead for the Final Vote for the 2015 All-Star Game. Both have held on and won the spots for their respective leagues, Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY reports.
Boy, do people in the midwest show up to vote.
Moustakas, 26, is on the All-Star team for the first time in his five-year career. He enters play Friday batting .301/.357/.436 with seven home runs and 31 RBI in 321 plate appearances. He joins teammates Wade Davis, Kelvin Herrera, Salvador Perez, Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, and the injured Alex Gordon on the American League All-Star roster.
Martinez, 23, is also a first-time All-Star. He’s 10-3 with a 2.52 ERA and a 113/43 K/BB ratio in 107 1/3 innings over 17 starts and one relief appearance. He joins teammates Trevor Rosenthal, Michael Wacha, Yadier Molina, Jhonny Peralta, and Matt Holliday on the National League All-Star roster.
The Atlanta Braves selected high school pitcher Carter Stewart with the number eight overall pick in the 2018 draft. Then, after the draft, they gave Stewart a below-slot signing bonus offer, claiming that they found problems with his wrist in his post-draft physical. Stewart ended up rejecting the offer and the MLBPA filed a grievance against the Braves on Stewart’s behalf.
The grievance sought to make Stewart a free agent it was considered a long shot at the time of its filing and, in fact, the grievance was rejected. Stewart, unable to attain free agency, enrolled at Eastern Florida State College, a two-year school that would’ve made him eligible for the 2019 draft.
Now, Ken Rosenthal reports, Stewart has pulled a crazy Ivan and is heading to Japan, having signed with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League. The terms of the deal aren’t known, but Rosenthal says Stewart was looking for a $7 million guarantee.
It’s a fascinating turn of events for Stewart who, this time last year, was considered perhaps the best amateur pitcher in baseball. Being lowballed and having his health questioned by the Braves may have been a wakeup call to Stewart, however, about his chances of finding a quick path the bigs in the U.S. If the shine did come off of his prospect status in the past year here, there’s every reason to believe that $7 million and a path to the bigs in Japan is a much better deal than several million less and a path to the bigs in America.
He’ll be worth watching over the next few years, that’s for sure. Both for his own sake and to see if, in this era of Major League Baseball’s capping of amateur bonuses and teams’ habit of manipulating service time, going overseas becomes more attractive to American high schoolers and college players.