Despite the National League taking a 5-3 loss to the American League, Braves' closer Craig Kimbrel had one of the most dominant pitching performances of the night. Taking the mound to start the bottom of the seventh inning, Kimbrel was set to face Oakland's Derek Norris and Brandon Moss, and Detroit's Ian Kinsler. Three straight strikeouts later, and Kimbrel was walking back towards the dugout.
The Braves have a rather young core, featuring Freddie Freeman (24-years-old) Jason Heyward (24-years-old) Julio Teheran (23-years-old) and Justin Upton (26-years-old). While they are all rather talented players, they're relatively young in the grand scheme of things. Veterans such as Brian McCann and Tim Hudson departed in the offseason, leaving the team in the hands of names like Freeman and Heyward. Could their lack of an "aged veteran" actually be hurting Atlanta? Bill Shanks of The Telegraph seems to think so:
"Where are the leaders on this team? Or, maybe the more appropriate question is, "Are there any leaders on this team?" I don’t think so, and that may be the biggest problem the Braves have as we start the second part of the season Friday."
Talking Chop's Dan Simpson continues with his ranking of the prospects in the Brave's system at the midseason point. We pick it up at prospect number 20 (Johan Camargo) and ends with prospect number 16. If you want to figure out who 16 is, I suggest you give it a read.
In the 85th annual Midsummer's Classic, the American League All-Star squad emerges victorious behind the bat of Mike Trout, who would hit a double and a triple en route to being named MVP. With this being Derek Jeter's last career All-Star Game, some are considering this the "passing of the torch" from Jeter to Trout. Both players recorded two hits each, so it couldn't have made for a better narrative.
On Tuesday, Commissioner Selig appointed former MLB outfielder Billy Bean as the first Ambassador for Inclusion. In his new role, Bean will help promote and train others to support those in the LGBT community in an effort to make Major League Baseball an even more accepting sport. Selig summed up the reasoning behind the move in his press conference:
"Diversity is a hallmark of our sport, which is fortunate to have an inherent ability to bring people together," Selig said. "The people of our sport have a responsibility to act with a kind of respect and sensitivity that our game's diverse players, employees and fans deserve."
The New York Mets currently sit at 45-50, good enough for third place in the NL East. While they aren't exactly out of the race, things could change by the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline. If the Mets end up being in a place where selling veterans would be in their best interest, Bartolo Colon and Daniel Murphy could both be potential trade candidates, writes Jeff Todd of MLBTradeRumors.com.