Mariners All-Stars: Edwin Díaz, Mitch Haniger, Nelson Cruz headed to D.C.

Jul 8, 2018, 4:56 PM | Updated: 5:02 pm
Mariners, Edwin Diaz...
Edwin Diaz, on pace to challenge the MLB saves record, is one of four Mariners All-Stars. (AP)

Off to one of the best starts in team history, it only makes sense that the Mariners will have a healthy representation in the MLB All-Star Game on Tuesday, July 17.

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League-leading closer Edwin Díaz highlights a trio of Mariners – so far – that will make the trip to Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. He will be joined by breakout outfielder Mitch Haniger and designated hitter Nelson Cruz. It is the first All-Star nominations for Díaz and Haniger and the sixth for Cruz.

Shortstop Jean Segura is one of the Final Vote nominees to make the AL team.

Díaz (2.35 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 75 strikeouts in 46 innings) was the easiest choice of the Mariners’ All-Stars. He may end up challenging a record this season, as his MLB-best 35 saves puts him on pace for 62. The MLB saves record is 62, set by the Angels’ Francisco Rodriguez in 2008. The 24-year-old Díaz, the winner of the American League’s Reliever of the Month award for both April and June, should easily reach 50 saves, which is notable because he has a well-publicized wager with Mariners manager Scott Servais. Should Díaz reach the mid-century mark, Servais will get the same haircut as his closer (as seen here).

Haniger, 27, is tied for second in the American League in RBIs (62). He is hitting .271 with 17 home runs, 45 runs scored, a .357 on-base percentage and .847 OPS. Acquired along with Segura in a trade with Arizona prior to the 2017 season, Haniger has been a revelation for the Mariners considering he had just 34 games of MLB experience prior to coming to Seattle. He has established himself as the Mariners’ starting right fielder and assumed the No. 3 spot in the lineup after Robinson Canó’s suspension.

Cruz, who turned 38 last week, makes his sixth All-Star team thanks to a late push. Various injuries slowed Cruz early this season, but the slugging DH picked up steam in June, hitting .326 with a 1.114 OPS, 11 home runs and 24 RBIs for the month. He earned AL Player of the Week honors for June 19 through June 24 for hitting .500 (12 for 24) with three homers and eight RBIs over that stretch. His 22 homers this season leads the Mariners and is tied for sixth in the AL. He is hitting .267 with a .909 OPS and 53 RBIs.

There are a pair of notable snubs for the Mariners, however, in Segura and pitcher James Paxton. Segura is second in the AL with 115 hits and third in batting average at .330, while Paxton is tied for fourth in the AL in strikeouts and threw a no-hitter in Toronto earlier this season. They could still find their way to D.C. as injury replacements, or in Segura’s case with the Final Vote.

The All-Star festivities begin Sunday, July 15 with the Futures Game which features the top prospects in the minor leagues. Seattle’s Kyle Lewis will play for the US team. The Home Run Derby will take place July 16.

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