Reese Kaplan -- Forgettable Night for International League in AAA All-Star Game


For the first time the AAA All Star Game came to Southwest University Park here in El Paso and I must say that the hometown host Chihuahuas did a great job with the event.  Prior to the game they arranged for a flyover and parachute exhibition by the Navy’s skydiving team called the Leapfrogs and they gave me a kind of eerie déjà vu feeling when Mike Sergio parachuted into Shea Stadium during the first inning of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. 

This time, however, it was done with full approval and expectation by both the El Paso Chihuahuas and MiLB. There were a team of jumpers representing the Navy, but they saved the best for last when the final sailor escorted the American flag while making his descent to the playing field.

The National Anthem was performed by El Paso native Elia Esparza, veteran of NBC's "The Voice":

The game itself got off to a quiet start for the International League.  Pacific Coast League starter Jake Woodford of the Cardinals' Memphis Redbirds was masterful in his two innings of work.  He set down the six batters he faced with two strikeouts and only one loud fly ball to right field fence off the bat of former big leaguer Brandon Barnes now playing for Cleveland's Columbus Clippers.  

It felt kind of strange rooting for Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankee farmhands like Mike Ford and Ryan McBroom who were starting for the International League, but with the Syracuse Mets' representatives Dilson Herrera and Chris Mazza on the bench, it was all you could do.

The game got ugly pretty quickly for the International League as the PCL had baserunners in every inning.  The first one was Astros uber-prospect Kyle Tucker and that was followed by a 4-run 2nd inning that featured at one point four straight hits.  The International League brought in a barrage of pitchers throughout the night to try to stem the bleeding, but Mazza never made it into the game.  Dilson Herrera did get into the contest and made the most of it, delivering a hit in his single at-bat after replacing veteran second baseman and starter Ryan Goins.  

For the PCL one of the hometown heroes proved to be El Paso Chihuahuas 22 year old middle infielder Luis Urias who came into the game hitting a mere .320 with 17 HRs and 47 RBIs (which is doubly impressive when you see he's generously listed at 5'9").  Urias hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the 5th to push the lead at the time to 6-1.  

Another Chihuahua, third baseman Ty France, earned his nickname of "Long Fly Ty" when he cleared the fences with a solo shot in the bottom of the 7th for the final run en route to a 9-3 PCL victory.  The 24 year old France had performed in Monday's Home Run Derby off his first half performance that included a .379/19/55 slash line.  Is it any wonder people rank the Padres as one of the best farm systems in baseball?

The All Star Game seems to be a mix of up and coming players like Urias, those on the fringes like France and a great many veterans who have had their moments in the big leagues like Yasmany Tomas and others who at age 30 and up have likely ascended as far up the ladder as they will ever go.  

To some extent you wonder if the game might be better if it was more of a "Futures" approach with only players on Major League clubs' 40-man roster being eligible for inclusion, but then that would have meant in 2018 Pete Alonso would have been left out of the game altogether when he was playing for Las Vegas as he was not part of that red-eye shuttle group between Sin City and the Big Apple.  


Tom Brennan said...

The Mets are looking for their parachute, but no, they cannot escape the last 72 games of this season.

Dilson Herrera may not escape AAA, with or without a parachute, if he can't boost his on base % substantially either. His .249 average and .343 OBP in AAA negate his excellent 2019 power #s. Add 50 points to both his average and OBP and keep the power, and MLB folks will get much more interested.

Mack Ade said...

Reese -

I like your idea to convert this to a future game type approach, but you know there will be some 24-year old you will leave off whose manager will cry foul.

It's funny. This year's major league ASG was the first one I have ever watched... and I only watched to see what McNeil and Alonso would do.

Still, hope you enjoyed the game.

Mack's Mets © 2012