The Tacoma Rainiers had three players named to the Pacific Coast League All-Star team, and the selection means something different to each of them.
For Jesus Montero, it’s proving that his work to transform himself has paid off. For Forrest Snow, it’s about finally conquering Triple-A. Ketel Marte just wants to be healthy enough to play in the game.
Montero, 25, was voted the starting first baseman. It’s a sign that the league has noticed his transformation from overweight designated hitter to spry, power-hitting first baseman.
“It means that all of the work we’ve been putting in here in the minor leagues is working,” said Montero. “It means a lot to my family, and my wife.”
Montero is hitting .322 with 13 home runs and 61 RBI through Friday. He leads the PCL with 103 hits, and his slimmed-down physique has helped him get three triples.
Snow has spent part of each season from 2011-2014 with Tacoma, collectively posting a record of 8-9 with a 5.34 ERA over 192 innings pitched. This season, he’s 7-4 and ranks second in the PCL with a 2.24 ERA.
“I’ve become a bit smarter, my routine has become better and more consistent,” said Snow, 26. “I’m executing my pitches better, and I’m more relaxed.”
The 21-year-old Marte was the most obvious All-Star on the club, until he broke his thumb diving into second base on May 31. He has been rehabilitating at the Mariners complex in Peoria, Arizona, and the organization hopes he’ll return in time to play in both the MLB All-Star Futures Game on July 12 and the Triple-A All-Star Game in Omaha on July 15.
Marte was hitting .343 at the time of his injury, with 17 stolen bases. He still has enough plate appearances to qualify for the third-highest batting average in the league.
OKLAHOMA CITY RISES TO TOP
As the All-Star break approaches, the Oklahoma City Dodgers are clearly the best team in the PCL.
The Dodgers entered Saturday with a record of 53-27, marking the first time Oklahoma City has been 26 games over .500 since the Triple-A merger in 1998.
While top prospect Corey Seager gets a lot of attention, his keystone partner, Darnell Sweeney, has been on a tear lately.
A 24-year-old switch-hitting second baseman, Sweeney had multiple hits in five games this week, drilling three home runs. He’s hitting .295 with seven home runs and he leads the PCL with 26 stolen bases.