12 Jul

star trekkin’

Buckle up. Lots of All-Star stuff coming in the next few days. The HBCU Swingman Classic is set for tonight (7 p.m., MLB Network) at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. Jackson State had a bunch of offensive standouts this past season, and several are in the game: Joseph Eichelberger (.375 hitter), Robert Tate Jr. (.352, .458 OBP), Lenny Montesano (11 homers, 16 doubles) and Rodney Hibler Jr. (34 steals). Tigers pitchers Christian Womble and Isaiah Williams are also on the rosters, along with Mississippi Valley State’s Dreylin Holmes and Alcorn State’s Garrett Palladino. … On Saturday, there is a high school home run derby competition at Globe Life in which Jacob Parker of Purvis will compete. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound lefty hitter has slugged 24 homers the past three years at Purvis. Later Saturday (3:10 p.m., MLB Network), former Magnolia Heights star Cooper Pratt is slated to play in the All-Star Futures Game. Shortstop Pratt, a second-year pro and the state’s Gatorade player of the year in 2023, is Milwaukee’s No. 4-ranked prospect and is batting .295 with 19 bags at Low-Class A Carolina. … Sunday brings the first day of the MLB draft (4 p.m., ESPN) from Fort Worth, Texas. If Baseball America’s mock draft is accurate, four Mississippi-connected players could be chosen among the first 26 picks. Among them are three of the last four Gatorade state players of the year — Konnor Griffin, Dakota Jordan and Jordan Montgomery — plus Mississippi State switch-pitcher Jurrangelo Cijntje. Montgomery and Cijntje reportedly will attend Sunday’s event; Griffin is having a watch party at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. Expect several more players from the state to be called on Monday and Tuesday as the 20-round draft continues. … MLB’s Home Run Derby is set for Monday, though, regrettably, there is no Austin Riley, Brent Rooker or Hunter Renfroe in the field. … On Tuesday, it’s the main event, the 94th All-Star Game, with Ocean Springs High product Garrett Crochet (Chicago White Sox) and ex-MSU standout Jordan Westburg (Baltimore) suiting up for the American League squad.

07 Jul

star gazing

Garrett Crochet, the Ocean Springs High product who leads the American League in strikeouts, was justly rewarded with a spot on the American League All-Star team. Crochet is 6-6 with a 3.08 ERA and 146K’s for the Chicago White Sox. The rosters were announced Sunday on ESPN; there will be changes before the game is played on July 16 at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. Also making the AL team was former Biloxi Shuckers pitcher Corbin Burnes, now with Baltimore. He is 9-3, 2.32. Former Mississippi Braves star Freddie Freeman, of the Los Angeles Dodgers, made the National League roster as a reserve. Ex-M-Braves catcher William Contreras, now with Milwaukee, previously was voted in as a starter by fans. … The full list of Home Run Derby (July 15) participants has yet to be revealed. It would be a treat to see Nathaniel Lowe of the hometown Texas Rangers, Brent Rooker, Hunter Renfroe or Austin Riley in the derby. Each of those Mississippi products has light-tower power. … Magnolia Heights High product Cooper Pratt is slated to participate in the July 13 All-Star Futures Game for minor league prospects at Globe Life. He is No. 4 on Milwaukee’s chart. … The All-Star festivities get started on July 12 with the HBCU Swingman Classic. The Magnolia State will be well-represented with six Jackson State players and one each from Mississippi Valley State and Alcorn State on the rosters. This is the second annual all-star game for players from NCAA Division I historically black schools. JSU’s Joseph Eichelberger, Robert Tate Jr., Lenny Montesano, Rodney Hibler Jr., Christian Womble and Isaiah Williams are joined on the rosters by Valley’s Dreylin Holmes and Alcorn’s Garrett Palladino. Former big leaguers Ken Griffey Sr. and Lloyd McClendon will manage the two teams. … Of note: The only other time the Texas Rangers hosted the All-Star Game was 1995, when former Mississippi State standout Buck Showalter managed the AL team in a 3-2 loss at The Ballpark in Arlington. He was manager of the New York Yankees, who had the best record in the AL when the 1994 season was halted by a players strike.

08 Jul

a certain symmetry

In the Texas Rangers’ final game at their former stadium, Globe Life Park, Lance Lynn beat the New York Yankees with a fairly dominating performance. It seems appropriate that the former Ole Miss standout would be picked for the first start at the Rangers’ new stadium, Globe Life Field, when their 2020 season begins on July 24. In a rehearsal for that plum assignment on Tuesday, Lynn worked six shutout innings in an intrasquad game, recording eight strikeouts and no walks while yielding just two hits. “It gets me ready for what I want to do to be ready for Opening Day and be full-go with no restrictions,” he said in an mlb.com piece. “I am right where I want to be.” In his first year with Texas in 2019, the right-hander went 16-11 with a 3.67 ERA and finished fifth in the American League Cy Young voting. At 6 feet 5, 250 pounds, he is a hard-throwing horse. He worked over 200 innings for the Rangers last year and finished fourth in the AL with 246 punchouts. A first-round supplemental draft pick by St. Louis in 2008, he left Ole Miss as the school’s all-time strikeout leader. In an eight-season MLB career – during which he has won a World Series ring and made an All-Star Game – the 33-year-old Lynn is 98-68 with a 3.59 ERA. Lynn is expected to get a couple more intrasquad starts before the July 24 main event against Colorado. “He’s in a great spot to let him hit the ground running and let him go,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward told the Dallas Morning News.