As the baseball world gears up for the beginning of All-Star festivities this weekend, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on throughout the day today:
1. MLB Draft kicks off this weekend:
All-Star week festivities will begin with Day 1 of the 2023 MLB draft on Sunday. This year’s draft class is headlined by a pair of LSU standouts: right-hander Paul Skenes and outfielder Dylan Crews. The next tier of prospects is made up by a trio of outfielders, with the University of Florida’s Wyatt Langford standing alongside prep bats Max Clark and Walker Jenkins. The Pirates, Nationals, Tigers, Rangers, and Twins will make the first five picks of this year’s draft. Day 1 of the draft will consist of the first two rounds, with coverage beginning at 5pm CT on Sunday. For more information on how to watch draft coverage, click here.
2. Rodon to make season debut:
Left-hander Carlos Rodon is poised to make his regular season Yankees debut today after missing the first half of the season with a forearm strain and back tightness. Rodon will take the ball for tonight’s game against the Cubs, which starts at 6:05pm CT. Rodon is currently on the 60-day injured list, meaning the Yankees will need to make both a 40-man roster move and an active roster move to accommodate him prior to the game.
Rodon’s return comes as the Yankees seek their first series win in July. The ace lefty sports a 2.62 ERA and 2.42 FIP in 310 2/3 innings of work since the start of the 2021 season with a 33.9% strikeout rate during that time. He’ll join fellow ace Gerrit Cole atop the Yankees rotation, with right-handers Luis Severino, Domingo German, and Clarke Schmidt following up the duo. Even after Rodon’s return, the Yankees will still have two of their five planned rotation members for 2023 on the shelf in lefty Nestor Cortes and righty Frankie Montas.
3. Manoah to return:
Right-hander Alek Manoah is set to take the ball for the Blue Jays against the Tigers tonight at 5:40pm CT. It will be Manoah’s first big league appearance in just over a month, coming on the heels of Toronto optioning the 2022 AL Cy Young finalist to the lowest rung of the minors after he struggled to a 6.36 ERA and 6.53 FIP across 13 starts to open the season. That brutal stretch culminated in a six-run drubbing by the Astros where Manoah threw 38 pitches and recorded just one out.
The Blue Jays are surely hoping that Manoah’s figured something out during his time away, as the 25-year-old hurler looked like one of the most promising youngsters in all of baseball entering the 2023 campaign. During the first two seasons of his career, Manoah posted a phenomenal 2.60 ERA and solid 3.51 FIP across 51 starts. Upon Manoah’s return, Toronto’s Opening Day rotation that also featured Kevin Gausman, Chris Bassitt, Jose Berrios, and Yusei Kikuchi will once again be intact.