This year’s All-Star Game has a chance to be one of the most exciting and memorable in recent memory. With the new rules coming from last season’s CBA, more people are watching MLB than ever before.
Fans both new and old are enjoying the faster pace of play and increased action that MLB games have delivered over the first three months of the season. With the best collection of talent being in the same area, All-Star Week will be a showcase of all the great things the sport offers.
First will be the Inaugural Swingman Classic on Friday, July 7th. The extravaganza featured a matchup between 50 of the best HBCU talents across the country. This collaboration — executed by MLBbro’s biggest ambassador, Ken Griffey Jr. and the MLB Players Association Youth Development Program — was created to give these players and schools a chance to gain exposure.
“These kids at HBCU schools do not have the data, exit velocity or spins rates to give to teams,” Reynolds told reporters.
“The Power 5 schools have all of the information. You have got to give these kids the same opportunity. I do not care if you are Andre Dawson or Rickie Weeks, if you do not have the information they are looking for you are not going to get picked.”
Harold Reynolds Will Call The Game With Dave Sims, Then Manage
Reynolds will be on the broadcast crew calling the game for MLB Network Friday night.
Saturday, Reynolds will get to manage for the first time in his life when he coaches the American League team in the Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game Saturday. He will be joined by a staff of former Major Leaguers including past Mariners stars Mike Cameron and Alvin Davis.
That is just the beginning of a long stretch of appearances for Reynolds.
He will help host the 2024 MLB Draft Sunday, be on the pregame show for the Home Run Derby Monday, host the pregame Red Carpet show before the All-Star Game Tuesday and then break down the actual game when it comes to a conclusion.
This weekend will also serve as a chance to honor the generational talent that is Ken Griffey Jr. an idol to most all players. The Swingman and backwards hat are staples for baseball fans around the globe.
Griffey made the All-Star team 13 times in his career while adding 10 Gold Gloves and seven Silver Sluggers during his time in a Mariners uniform.
Reynolds, who is one of the few that got to play on the same team with both Ken Sr. and Jr. was no slouch in his own right. He won three Gold Gloves and made the All-Star team in 1987 and 1988 for the Mariners He added 250 stolen bases in his career and finished with a batting average of .258.
So Black Baseball will be represented well in Seattle, by two MLBbros who have devoted their lives to promoting, improving and cultivating the game of baseball.
MLBbro.com is always on the watch for the next Aaron Judge, Mookie Betts or Marcus Stroman to wow us with their superstar abilities.
And the next chance to peek into the future is during the All-Star festivities in Seattle at the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game on July 8th.
The All-Star Futures Game, which started in 2019 to replace the U.S. vs. The World game, will feature the top minor league players in a National League vs. American League format.
The respective rosters went public earlier this week and were announced on various Major League Baseball media platforms such as MLB Network Radio and MLB TV.
MLBbro and Seattle Mariners Icon, Harold Reynolds who will manage the American League Futures team, discussed the upcoming game on MLB TV.
Melanated Mound Marauders On Deck
Here at MLBbro.com, we’ll be keeping a close eye on two pitchers who will be part of the festivities.
J.P. Massey will be representing the Pittsburgh Pirates while Tink Hence puts his talents on display wearing the St. Louis Cardinals colors.
Seven of the players playing in the game have participated in MLB and USA Baseball development programs. MLBbro pitcher J.P. Massey played in the Breakthrough and the DREAM series.
J.P. Massey has been named the FSL Pitcher of the Month! Massey went 1-0 with a 0.72 ERA in 5 starts as he began the month with a 17.0 innings scoreless streak. Massey did not allow more than 1 run in a start in May and had three starts with two or fewer hits allowed. Congrats! pic.twitter.com/ygBdAKRFtl
Massey dominated the month allowing only two earned runs in 25 innings (0.72 ERA) while tallying 29 strikeouts for Single-A Bradenton. If you stretch his production out over the last two months, J.P. has become one of his team’s best starters with a 2.84 ERA over 44.1 innings with 52 strikeouts.
Working with former MLBbro pitcher, Marvin Freeman, Massey has changed the mechanics in his leg kick while working on five featured pitches… a four seamer, a two seamer, a curveball and a changeup. It’s a mentorship that J.P. is very excited about, he told MLB.com.
“We’re still trying to figure out the ideal repertoire and usage rate each and every outing, but [five pitches] allows me to have something that I can use against hitters,” he said. “ If I see them trying to lean towards one pitch, I can throw something that goes in the other direction. It gives me a lot of versatility while I’m on the mound.”
Couple that with wisdom from current MLBbro players Hunter Greene of the Cincinnati Reds and Triston McKenzie of the Cleveland Guardians and J.P. Massey should use the Futures game as a launching pad.
This MLBbro is considered one of the biggest prospects for the St. Louis Cardinals… period.
At #63 in the 2020 Draft, Tink Hence is the highest selection out of the state of Arkansas since 2005.
Despite getting the “Byron Buxton” treatment in 2021 and being limited to eight appearances in the Florida Complex League and a pitch limit with Single A Palm Beach, Tink emerged as a superstar when he finally got his chance on the mound.
This season, the MLBbro is 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA and a 46-to-12 strikeout to walk ratio in 11 starts as of Friday (June 30) for the High-A Peoria Chiefs.
Like Massey, Hence has a cache of pitches to showcase in this event. He has a mid-90s fastball, a vicious curve, a changeup and a slider that gives batters three off-speed pitches to figure out in less than two seconds.
Hopefully the Futures game will allow the Cardinals to give this guy more time on the mound to perfect his craft. Right now, that’s the only thing holding him back. MLB.com believes that this guy can be an ace pitcher in the majors based on their review…
“The stuff needs to hold up into the fifth and the sixth innings — and over 100-plus frames overall — before Hence could be considered a potential ace, but the individual pieces are there.”
Check out these two MLBbros in training in the Futures Game on Saturday, July 8th at 7pm EST.
Before he became an Emmy award-winning broadcaster for MLB Network, MLBbro Harold Reynolds was a slick-fielding, base-stealing force, who led the league in stolen bases in 1987 and was the first Mariners’ second baseman to win a Gold Glove.
Our undisputed MLBbro MVP Aaron Judge was the story of Major League Baseball taking us on a magical ride where he overtook Roger Maris’ American League home record tallying 62 dingers. Judge’s accomplishments which almost landed him baseball’s vaunted “Triple Crown” got him the AL MVP in landslide fashion.
What you are witnessing here is the physical aspect of Aaron Judge’s game, what is shown on game day. What gets ignored at times is the mental aspect of the game of baseball that our MLBbro is starting to master. Not since Derek Jeter, have we seen a player in a Yankees uniform be able to focus on a game with distraction behind the scenes.
It’s amazing looking back now that Aaron Judge might not have been in New York!
After the New York Yankees rebuffed Judge’s request to get a deal done before Opening Day with a final offer of $213.5 million over seven years before the arbitration phase, it would have been easy for our MLBbro to be distracted at the plate and fall into a slump, shut down and distance himself from the franchise and teammates or just demand a trade like superstars from other sports have done. But look at where things are with Aaron Judge today after showing the blueprint of what professional superstars should do.
He ended up signing the largest free agent contract in baseball history at nine years and $360 million guaranteed.
He’s now the captain of the New York Yankees.
More importantly he has the chance to cement his legacy as not only one of the greatest Yankees of all-time but players of all eras.
But to accomplish the last part of this list, Judge needs to continue the work he has done and build on that. Our MLBbro’s preparation principles are second to none and he showed recently to Harold Reynolds, former MLBbro player and now broadcaster for the MLB Network.
MLBbro.com studied deeper into the conversation breaking down the preparation of Aaron Judge to not only get ready for the game, but to sharpen the mechanics to make sure that the swing and body movements at the plate are always in sync.
Aaron Judge’s pre-game preparation in the batting cage.
Baseball players grew up on working out in a cage before every game or to practice. During the interview, our MLBbro does not over do. Instead he does other things to practice his hand-eye coordination.
Aaron uses a baseball batting tee to start his workouts. With the tee, it enables him to go back to the basics working on his mechanics of his swing while monitoring his body movement while the ball is not moving.
The position of the tee is moved to numerous areas to emulate the type of pitches he would get in a game.
First the tee is in the middle of the plate for a fast ball. This position also allows Aaron to get a feel on how his body is progressing preparing for a game and make adjustments based on the opposing pitchers.
Aaron has a diagonal system with his tee work, so he will move the tee to the right to keep his head down through the contact to finish the swing. In the cage, he’s working on his opposite field hitting. The discipline also helps him if he gets jammed on an inside pitch.
Then he takes that momentum and adds movement to the baseball with side tosses. This exercise locks in his hand eye coordination. Aaron’s goal for this exercise is to in his words…”take the head off of the second baseman.” In other words, guiding pitches on the outside corner and away to become a better opposite field hitter.
Judge’s meticulous exercises at the tee led to an adjustment to his bat positioning that has cut down his strikeout totals. He used to be vulnerable to quick inside pitches due to holding his hands high around his head leading to a longer swing.
Now he has lowered his hands to hear the chest area so his swing is quicker and smoother to be able to pull the ball even when the pitch is inside. He eliminated a step to get to the ball quicker. In a game that is getting faster and faster, this adjustment is huge.
The entire mindset of Aaron Judge when it comes to hitting is the target is at the second baseman with the goal of placing the ball in the New York Yankees bullpen. Then he adjusts accordingly on the pitching situation
Now that you have seen all of the work behind the scenes in the offseason to the first part of the season, his reward came in like 15 minutes of game time in the first game?
ALL RISE! 👨⚖️
Aaron Judge hits the first home run of the 2023 season! 🔥