Baseball Factory Alumni to Participate in MLB All-Star Game
Ten Baseball Factory alumni were announced last week as players in the MLB All-Star Game. Four alumni are starting for the National League compared to one for the American League. After the final vote by the fans, six Factory alumni will play for the NL and five will play for the AL.
National League Starters
Anthony Rizzo: 1B, Chicago Cubs
The 26-year-old slugger is having the best season of his career, and that’s not because his other seasons weren’t stellar. This will be Rizzo’s third straight trip to the All-Star Game, as the slugger owns a .281/.401/.563 slash line with 20 home runs and 61 RBI, all of which are on pace for career-bests except for the batting average. Rizzo is one of seven Cubs playing for the NL and is one of five Chicago starters.
Baseball Factory first at a 2006 National Tryout in Miami, Florida. Rizzo was a part of Team One South in 2006 and also played in the 2006 Cape Cod High School All-Star Game.
Addison Russell: SS, Chicago Cubs
In only his second season in the majors, Russell will be playing in his first All-Star Game. The 22-year-old owns a .242/.338/.416 slash line with 10 doubles, 11 home runs and 48 RBI. Russell isn’t an all-star solely because of his bat, as his glove may be his best tool. Last season, had 19 defensive runs saved and this season he is one of the five best defensive shortstops in the majors. Russell is one of the four Cubs infielders who swept the starting infield slots in the All-Star Game fan voting.
Russell played in the Under Armour All-America Game in 2010.
Kris Bryant: 3B, Chicago Cubs
The 2015 National League Rookie of the Year is following his 2015 season with an even more impressive season this year. Bryant owns a .278/.370/.578 slash line and has has nearly matched his home run total from last season (26), as he leads all of baseball with 25 homers. Bryant is also on pace to eclipse his runs scored, RBI, doubles and walk totals, while striking out less than his league-leading 199 times last season.
Bryant was an Under Armour Preseason All-American in 2008.
Bryce Harper: OF, Washington Nationals
After post Ruthian-type numbers last season as the National League MVP, Harper has followed up with a tamer season and will play in his fourth All-Star Game. The 23-year-old is slashing .258/.402/.487 with 17 home runs and 48 RBI. Harper also leads the majors in walk percentage by about 2.5 percent, and the outfielder is walking more than he is striking out (66 walks vs. 55 strikeouts).
Baseball Factory coaches saw Harper at a 2008 National Tryout in Las Vegas, Nevada.
National League Reserves
Nolan Arenado: 3B, Colorado Rockies
The 25-year-old slugger, who led the NL last year in home runs (42) and RBI (130), is going to participate in his second All-Star Game in as many seasons. Arenado is slashing .290/.365/.579 with 22 home runs and 22 doubles while continuing to play Gold Glove caliber defense.
Baseball Factory coaches saw Arenado at the Ryan Lemmon Sophomore Showcase in 2007 and played at the 2007 Team One Showcase.
American League Starters
Eric Hosmer: 1B, Kansas City Royals
In the midst of the best season of his career, Hosmer will play in his first All-Star Game. In his sixth season in the majors, Hosmer is slashing .305/.363/.491 with 13 home runs, 18 doubles and 49 RBI. Hosmer is one of three Royals who will participate in the All-Star Game.
Baseball Factory coaches first saw Hosmer at a 2005 College PREP in St. Petersburg, Florida. Hosmer was also a Baseball Factory All-American in 2006.
American League Reserves
Wade Davis: RP, Kansas City Royals
After struggling to establish himself as a major league starting pitcher, Davis was moved to the bullpen in 2014. Since the move, Davis’ numbers are astonishing. The 6-5 right-hander is 18-3 with a 1.01 ERA and 11.5 SO/9 since 2014. This season, Davis has 19 saves with a 1.23 ERA in his first full season as a closer. Davis will not play in the All-Star Game, though, as he was just placed on the disabled list with a strained right forearm.
Baseball Factory saw Davis when he played in both the Team One South and Team One National Showcases in 2003.
Josh Donaldson: 3B, Toronto Blue Jays
The 30-year-old is following up his MVP 2015 season with an even more valuable 2016 season. Donaldson owns a .304/.415/.602 slash line with 22 home runs and 19 doubles. The third baseman also leads the AL in walks and is continuing to establish himself as a plus defender at the hot corner. Donaldson will be playing in his third straight All-Game Game.
Donaldson was a Baseball Factory All American in 2004.
Francisco Lindor: SS, Cleveland Indians
Lindor is continuing his success that he established as the second-place finisher of the American League Rookie of the Year award last season. Similar to Russell, what Lindor produces with the bat is icing on the cake, as he is one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball (11 defensive runs saved this season. The reason Lindor is an all-star, though, is because of the offensive production. Lindor owns a .299/.356/.450 slash line with 13 stolen bases, 42 RBI, 10 home runs and 16 doubles.
Baseball Factory coaches saw Lindor at a February 2009 National Tryout in Bradenton, Florida, and the Team One South Showcase in July 2009.
Stephen Vogt: C, Oakland Athletics
The 31-year-old backstop made his second straight All-Star Team this year. Vogt has established himself as one of the best hitting catchers in baseball over the past few seasons. This season, Vogt is slashing .267/.308/.417 with 17 doubles.
Baseball Factory coaches saw Vogt at three events in 2002: the USA Baseball Factory World Series, a College PREP in San Francisco, California, and a Sr. Arizona Tournament. Vogt was also named a Baseball Factory All-American in both 2002 and 2003.
There were two Baseball Factory alumni in both the final vote in the AL and the NL. Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun and San Francisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt were two of the five players who fans will vote in as the last player for the NL. Houston Astros outfielder George Springer Detroit Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler were two of the five players for the AL vote.
Michael Saunders won the AL final vote, and Baseball Factory alumni Brandon Belt won the NL vote.
Brandon Belt: 1B, San Francisco Giants
Through the first six years of Belt’s career he has been remarkable consistent and vastly underrated. 2016 will be his first All-Star Game, and for good reason, as this season is Belt’s best of his career. The 28-year-old is slashing .302/.407/.521 with a league-leading 27 doubles, 10 home runs, five triples and 47 RBI. Belt is walking three percent more than in any other year in his career and striking out three percent less than in any other season in his career. Belt is also on pace for his best defensive season of his career.
Baseball Factory coaches saw Belt at the 2005 Cape Cod All-Star Game.
The MLB All-Star Game will start at 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 12, on FOX.