With one of the top farm systems in minor-league baseball, the Mariners had their three top prospects selected to participate in the 2021 All-Star Futures Game, the annual kickoff to All-Star Game festivities.
The rosters for the seven-inning game, which will be played Sunday, July 11, at Coors Field in Denver, were announced Wednesday morning.
Outfielders Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez and right-handed pitcher Emerson Hancock — all obvious choices — were named to the American League roster.
“I think it’s great,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “It’s a great experience for those players. I think we could have had more than three, quite frankly. We’ve got some other guys who are having great years as well. But certainly those guys are at the top of the list as far as our prospect rankings goes. I’m excited for them. It’s a great opportunity to get to be a part of the All-Star festivities and go into Coors Field and play on the big stage and the game will be on TV so everybody gets a chance to see them play.”
Major League Baseball, working with MLB Pipeline, Baseball America and the 30 major-league teams, selected the 25 players currently on each team. Each MLB team is represented and players from all player development leagues were eligible to be selected.
Kelenic and Rodriguez are rated as the No. 4 and No. 5 prospects in MLB Pipeline’s Top 100, while Rodriguez was ranked No. 3 and Kelenic No. 4 in Baseball America’s Top 100.
This will be Kelenic’s second time playing in the Futures Game. He was selected for the 2019 game in his first season with the Mariners following the offseason trade with the Mets.
Kelenic, who turns 22 on July 16, obviously would’ve preferred to still be playing with the Mariners after making his MLB debut May 13. But after posting a .096/.185/.193 slash line with two doubles, two home runs, six RBI in 23 games, including a brutal 0-for-39 stretch, he was optioned back to Class AAA Tacoma. Since being sent down, Kelenic has a .288/.372/.603 slash line with three doubles, a triple, six homers, 18 RBI, 10 walks, 14 strikeouts and four stolen bases in 18 games and 86 plate appearances.
After helping the Dominican Republic earn a berth in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, Rodriguez, 20, was promoted to Class AA Arkansas on Monday. He made his debut Tuesday night, collecting an infield single and a run-scoring double for the Travelers in five plate appearances.
In 28 games with the Everett AquaSox, Rodriguez posted a .325/.410/.581 slash line in 134 plate appearances with eight doubles, two triples, six homers, 21 RBI, five stolen bases, 14 walks and 29 strikeouts.
Hancock was taken No. 6 overall in the 2020 draft out of the University of Georgia and is one of 29 first-round choices playing in the game. He is ranked as the No. 23 overall prospect by MLB Pipeline and No. 49 by Baseball America.
After being drafted, Hancock, 22, spent the 2020 season working out at the Mariners’ alternate training site. He made his professional debut for High-A Everett this season. In seven starts for the AquaSox, he’s posted a 2-0 record with a 2.42 ERA. In 26 innings, he’s struck out 25 with 11 walks while allowing 16 hits.
The game will be televised on MLB Network and streamed live on MLB TV. First pitch is set for noon PT.
Marco Gonzales was reinstated from the paternity list following the birth of his daughter, Grace Linda. To make room for Gonzales, infielder Donovan Walton was optioned back to Class AAA Tacoma. Gonzales will be reinserted into the rotation and start Saturday night against the Rangers. The Mariners’ probable pitchers for the weekend series with Texas are:
- Friday — Logan Gilbert
- Saturday — Marco Gonzales
- Sunday — Chris Flexen
Servais said he is holding out hope that Hector Santiago’s 10-game suspension for having an “unknown foreign substance” on his glove is at least reduced despite the appeal being adjudicated by arbiter John McHale, who isn’t an independent third party and is actually employed by MLB.
As to when the team might find out McHale’s ruling, Servais said he hoped within a week.
“I think we’re probably looking in the next five or six days,” he said. “Maybe we’ll find out a little bit more about the timing of it and how it’s all gonna play out.”