Long Beach didn’t have a representative in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game last night for the first time in 13 years, but there are enough MLB players with local ties to theoretically field an All-Star team— if a few players were flexible with positions.
There has been more than one elite MLB pitcher from a local school for more than a decade, but this year the relievers are posting the better statistics. Pitchers usually don’t stay in All-Star games for more than one or two innings anyway, so Team Long Beach would be in good shape.
A pair of former Dirtbag pitchers have been reliable out of the bullpen. Jared Hughes has pitched 50 innings for the Cincinnati Reds with a 1.44 ERA, six saves, nine holds and 39 strikeouts, and Shane Carle has pitched 49 innings for the Atlanta Braves with a 2.76 ERA, 11 holds and 38 strikeouts.
Hughes, 33, signed a two-year deal worth $2,125,000 per year in the offseason to spend the next two seasons in Cincinnati. He spent his first six seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates after the Tampa Bay Rays selected him in the 16th round of the 2003 MLB Draft. Hughes has a 2.68 career ERA with 276 strikeouts.
Carle, 26, was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 10th round of the 2013 MLB Draft and made his debut with the Colorado Rockies last season. He won a job with the Braves during spring training, and led all MLB relievers in wins above replacement early in the season.
Last year, Jason Vargas extended the 12-year Long Beach and 10-year Dirtbags streak in the All-Star Game with his first career selection, but the left-handed starter has struggled since joining the New York Mets in the offseason. Vargas is currently on the disabled list with an 8.60 ERA.
The local infield would be full of Lancers. Lakewood alum Travis d’Arnaud is the only option to play behind the plate, but the New York Mets catcher is currently on the disabled list with a tear in his elbow’s UCL. His six years in the MLB have been full of injuries, but d’Arnaud played a career-high 112 games last season with 16 home runs. He’s had 15 at-bats this season.
Fellow Lakewood alum and former Dirtbag Matt Duffy could be in the running for the MLB comeback player of the year at third base for the Tampa Bay Rays. Duffy is returning from heel surgery that kept him out all of last season, and ranks fifth in the American League with a .317 batting average.
J.P. Crawford is still working his way back from the disabled list after fracturing his hand in June. This first full season on the senior circuit has been a tough one for the Philadelphia Phillies shortstop with multiple DL stints. Crawford, 23, was drafted straight out of Lakewood High as the 16th selection in 2013. Crawford has hit .202 with 14 RBIs in 57 games played in the MLB.
Chase Utley, who announced last week that he would retire from baseball at the end of the year, is one of the best second basemen to ever play the game. The Long Beach Poly alum is a .276 career hitter with 259 home runs and 1,025 RBIs in 15 years as a pro. Utley, 39, has played 60 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers this year.
Former Dirtbag Evan Longoria is in his first season at third base for the San Fransisco Giants, but he could play first base for the LB All-Stars. Longoria, 32, is currently on the DL after hitting just .246 with 10 home runs in the first half of the season. He should return in early August.
Wilson High alum Aaron Hicks has made a lot of history this season for the New York Yankees. The switch-hitting centerfielder joined Lou Gehrig (1927) and Mark Teixeira (2010) as the only Yankees to have a three-home run game against the Red Sox. He is the only Yankees leadoff hitter to ever hit three home runs in a game, and he also has hit two inside-the-park home runs this year. Hicks, 28, is the first Yankee to hit multiple inside-the-park homers in a single season since Mickey Mantle hit three in 1958. The last time an MLB player hit three in a season was 1987.
Hicks has 16 home runs, 44 RBIs and a .491 slugging percentage in 76 games for the Yankees this season.
Khris Davis, who was born in Lakewood, is one of the top 25 outfielders in the league. Davis, 30, has 21 home runs and 64 RBIs for the Oakland A’s this season.
Justin Turner, who was born in Long Beach, could also play some outfield. The Los Angeles Dodger has been struggling with injury this year after making the All-Star Game last season because of the fan vote. Turner, 33, is hitting .258 with five home runs and 19 RBIs in 48 games this season.