Kelenic, J-Rod, Hancock make Futures Game

June 30th, 2021

SEATTLE -- The Mariners will be well-represented at this year’s SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, as outfielders and and right-hander were selected on Wednesday to take part in the July 11 event at Coors Field in Denver.

Seattle’s three representatives are tied with the host Rockies for the most of any organization, and it perhaps shouldn’t come as much surprise given that Seattle’s farm system has ascended to No. 3 in all of baseball, per MLB Pipeline.

“I think we could have had more than three, quite frankly,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “We've got some other guys who have had great years as well. But certainly, those guys are at the top of the list as far as our prospect rankings go, and we’re excited for them. Great opportunity to get to be a part of the All-Star festivities and now go into Coors Field and play on the big stage.”

The Mariners’ three Futures selections equal their highest total in the 23-year history of the game. They also sent three to the event in 2019 (Kelenic, Evan White and Justin Dunn), ’13 (Taijuan Walker, Ji-Man Choi and Brad Miller) and '04 (Félix Hernández, Jeremy Reed and Shin-Soo Choo).

Kelenic, Rodríguez and Hancock will all be on the American League roster as part of a change in 2019 from the U.S.-vs.-World matchups in years past. There was no Futures Game in ’20 due to the pandemic.

This will be the second Futures Game appearance for Kelenic, who represents an interesting selection given that he’s already been in the Majors this season, and very well could return soon. MLB Pipeline’s No. 4 overall prospect, and the Mariners’ No. 1, Kelenic played in 23 games for Seattle before being sent back to the Minors for a mental reset on June 7. In his three weeks in the big leagues, the 21-year-old hit .096/.185/.193 with a 14 wRC+ (league average is 100).

Since returning to Triple-A Tacoma, Kelenic is hitting .288/.372/.603 (.975 OPS) with six homers and 18 RBIs in 18 games, and he’s been on a particular tear over the past week, going 11-for-24 with three homers and more walks (five) than strikeouts (four) over 30 plate appearances.

Rodríguez has been arguably the hottest prospect in baseball this season, and his selection to the Futures Game has only compounded his international recognition gaining more traction. On Saturday, MLB Pipeline’s No. 5 overall prospect helped the Dominican Republic secure a berth in the Tokyo Olympics slated for next month, and on Monday, he earned his much-anticipated promotion to Double-A Arkansas after leading the High-A West League in batting average (.325), slugging percentage (.581) and OPS (.992) over 28 games with Everett.

Hancock, MLB Pipeline’s No. 23 overall prospect, will get the chance to pitch on his most prominent stage yet after being selected with the No. 6 overall pick in last year’s Draft. The 22-year-old has a 2.42 ERA, 25 strikeouts, 11 walks and zero homers allowed in 26 innings over seven starts with Everett this season, his first as a pro after spending last year exclusively at the alternate training site due to the Minors shutdown.

“Those guys are all legit prospects, there's no question about it,” Servais said. “They’re very talented. I got a chance to be around those guys in Spring Training and certainly Jarred for a little part of the season. I'm excited about their future and what they can do for us here in Seattle.”

The Futures Game has been a showcase event of more prospect talent on one field at one time than any other baseball event of the year. It’s essentially an All-Star Game for the top wave of talent coming. Fans can catch all of the action live on MLB Network and MLB.TV.