This year’s MLB All-Star Week will have its fair share of UConn flavor.
Former Husky great and current Houston Astros outfielder George Springer was named a 2019 MLB All-Star Game starter Thursday night after two rounds of fan voting. Springer received 15.7 percent of the fan vote and joins the Angels’ Mike Trout and teammate Michael Brantley as the American League’s All-Star outfield starters.
Springer has been one of the hottest hitters in the majors from the get-go, hitting 18 home runs and posting career highs in batting average (.316), OPS (1.046) and isolated power (.330). He’ll likely suit up in right field for the American League when they take on the National League on Tuesday, July 9 in Cleveland.
UConn will also have some representation in the 2019 Futures Game, which puts some of the MLB’s best minor-league talent on display during All-Star Weekend. Current Mets left-handed pitcher Anthony Kay, who starred for UConn from 2014-16, was named to the National League roster as the Mets’ sole representative. Kay is fresh off of a promotion to Triple-A after going 7-3 with a 1.49 ERA with the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies and is widely considered one of top 100 prospects in all of baseball.
His pitching coach for the Futures Game will be none other than Charles Nagy, who pitched at UConn from 1987-88 and was the baseball program’s first-ever first-round draft pick. Nagy would go on to pitch in the MLB for 14 seasons before transitioning to coaching, most recently serving as the Angels’ pitching coach from 2014-18.
For the past week, UConn’s baseball future has been in question with the school’s impending move to the Big East. But as long as players like Springer and Kay and coaches like Nagy are involved at the game’s highest level, recruiting still won’t be incredibly difficult for Jim Penders and his staff.