Venezuelans Ronald Acuña Jr., Arraez lead All-Stars
Randy Arozarena earns first All-Star nod
In many ways, the first half of the Major League Baseball season has been a showcase of Venezuelans chasing history. Ronald Acuña Jr., Luis Arraez and Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani have been the biggest stories in baseball this season.
So it was no surprise to see them highlight the list of starters for the upcoming All-Star Game.
Acuña, who is on pace to become baseball’s first player with at least 30 homers and 60 stolen bases, led the majors in All-Star votes this year. Ohtani was the top vote getter in the American League.
Acuña, the 2018 NL Rookie of the Year, was elected to start by the fans for the fourth consecutive year. He missed the game in 2021 after suffering a knee injury. Arraez has flirted with becoming the first player to hit .400 in a season since Ted Williams in 1941.
The Marlins’ second baseman earned his second All-Star berth a year after making his Midsummer Classic debut with the American League.
Ronald Acuña leads Venezuelan trio
Acuña, 25, and Arraez, 26, highlight a list of three Venezuelans and seven Latinos elected to start the All-Star Game at T-Mobile Park on July 11. Braves shortstop Orlando Arcia is the third Venezuelan NL starter.
Cuban teammates Randy Arozarena and Yandy Diaz will start for the American League. The Tampa Bay Rays teammates were the only Latinos elected to start for the AL this year. Arozerena, Diaz and Arcia are first-time All-Stars.
Arozarena, who settled in Mexico and eventually gained Mexican citizenship after defecting from Cuba, has been one of the best stories in sports this year. The 2021 AL Rookie of the Year led Mexico to the World Baseball Classic semifinals.
He and Diaz are major reasons the Ryas have the best record in baseball. Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado, the son of a Cuban father and Puerto Rican mother, and Dodgers designated hitter J.D. Martinez are the two Cuban Americans in the NL starting lineup.
Arenado adds to Hall of Fame case
Martinez garnered his sixth ticket to the Midsummer Classic. With his eighth All-Star berth, Arenado has added another notch on his Hall of Fame case. The Cardinals third baseman is the only player in history to earn Gold Glove Awards in each of his first 10 big league seasons. He appears headed for his 11th Gold Glove in a row.
Martinez is one of the best stories in baseball. The 13-year veteran has earned three consecutive All-Star berths and six overall since the Astros gave up on him after his third season in the majors during 2014 spring training camp. The Dodgers’ designated hitter will make his first All-Star appearance as a member of the NL.
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