The All-Star break is upon us, as the major leagues and the upper-level minor leagues get three days off this week.
The Triple-A All-Star Game has become a marquee event in minor league baseball, held annually on the day after the Major League All-Star Game. Triple-A teams vie to host the game, which this year will be held Wednesday in Reno.
A recent report from the Reno Gazette-Journal projects that out-of-town visitors will bring an economic boost of more than $1 million to Northern Nevada, while 2014 all-star host Durham, N.C., anticipates $3.3 million in visitor spending.
The Reno event includes a two-day Fanfest, featuring several former major league stars as autograph guests (JT Snow, Steve Finley, Jack Clark and Robb Nen), a Home Run Derby on Monday, and the nationally televised game Wednesday (6:05 p.m. PDT, MLB Network).
The Tacoma Rainiers are sending two players to the game: outfielder Carlos Peguero and reliever Brian Moran. Peguero was hitting .270 with 14 home runs and 58 RBI as of Saturday; Moran had a 2.54 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 46 innings from the Rainiers bullpen.
The Mariners have three players participating in the Double-A Southern League All-Star Game on Wednesday in Jacksonville, Fla.: outfielders Julio Morban (.297-5-32) and James Jones (.265-5-40, 22 SB), as well as pitcher Roenis Elias (5-8, 2.87 ERA). Taijuan Walker was named an honorable mention All-Star since he had a 2.46 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 84 innings with Jackson before his Tacoma call-up on June 22.
NO DERBY FOR PEGUERO
Peguero is known throughout the Pacific Coast League for his tape-measure home runs, but Tacoma’s slugger was left out of the Triple-A All-Star Game Home Run Derby.
The PCL and the International League each selected three hitters to compete for the derby crown. For Peguero, his omission came down to numbers and a little local favoritism.
“It’s a simple process,” said PCL director of baseball operations Dwight Hall. “It’s largely based on the number of home runs hit by the All-Stars at the time of the announcement. We look at the stats.”
Among PCL All-Stars, Peguero was tied for third in home runs with 14 as of Saturday behind Memphis’ Brock Peterson (22) and Fresno’s Johnny Monell (15).
The fact Reno is the host also played a part in Peguero being left out.
“The other variable that Triple-A baseball deems worthy of contention is to have a contestant from the home club,” said Hall. “It helps the atmosphere.”
That meant that Reno third baseman Matt Davidson was given the third and final slot.
Since the selections were made, Davidson has hit two home runs, tying Peguero.Mike Curto is the radio broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers.