MIAMI -- The news was still sinking in for Jesus Aguilar early Wednesday evening. The 28-year-old power-hitting first baseman was headed to the MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard (Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. CT on FOX), 17 months removed from being waived by the Indians, and not even three months
MIAMI -- The news was still sinking in for Jesus Aguilar early Wednesday evening. The 28-year-old power-hitting first baseman was headed to the MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard (Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. CT on FOX), 17 months removed from being waived by the Indians, and not even three months removed from being primarily a bench player for the Brewers.
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Aguilar garnered 20.2 million votes over three days to win the National League's final roster spot via the Camping World MLB All-Star Final Vote. Not only that, he accepted an invitation to swing for the fences in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby (Monday at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN).
"I can't believe it yet," Aguilar said. "From no spot in Spring Training to the All-Star Game. It's a big step."
Aguilar entered Wednesday leading the National League in OPS and slugging percentage, tied for the league lead with 23 home runs, and tied for third with 64 RBIs. He outpaced the Giants' Brandon Belt, the Dodgers' Player Page for Max Muncy, the host Nationals' Trea Turner and the Cardinals' Matt Carpenter in fan balloting.
A former Brewers player, Seattle's Jean Segura, won the American League Final Vote.
Aguilar is the third Brewers player to make the All-Star team via the Final Vote, joining Geoff Jenkins in 2003 and Corey Hart in '08, and only the second Brewers waiver claim to become an All-Star. Closer Derrick Turnbow was the other in 2006.
"I'm incredibly proud of the fans of the Brewers -- in Wisconsin and all over the country -- that did a crazy great job of getting this done again," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "This is multiple times now they've gotten it done. For 'Agui', the front-office crew, the players -- everybody made a huge effort for a really deserving guy."
Brewers GM David Stearns declined to single out the scout or analyst who first suggested claiming Aguilar when the Indians put him on waivers just before the start of 2017 Spring Training, preferring to call it a team effort. Blocked in Cleveland, Aguilar found a similar situation with Milwaukee, but made the '17 club as a backup to newly signed first baseman Eric Thames and wound up hitting 16 home runs in 279 at-bats.
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This year, Aguilar was even further down the depth chart, since the Brewers planned to play Ryan Braun at first base to accommodate the acquisitions of star outfielders Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich. But Aguilar found an opening when Braun began to battle a series of injuries and Thames landed on the disabled list with a thumb injury that required surgery, and Aguilar seized it.
"There's a lot of stuff in my mind right now," Aguilar said. "I'm so proud of [myself]. I showed I can do it at this level. I showed it to them, to this organization. They believed in me. I just have to say thank you to the Brewers organization for believing in me. I'm going to be an All-Star guy."
He will be the 10th different Brewers player to take part in the Home Run Derby, a field led by three-time participant and 2009 champ Prince Fielder. The Brewers haven't had a Derby participant since Fielder and Rickie Weeks took part in 2011.
"They asked me if I want to do it and it was like, 'Let's do it. Let's be part of the big moment and the big show.'" Aguilar said. "I just agreed. We're going to have fun with my little kid up there and those superstars behind me. So let's do it. Why not?"
While watching the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX on Tuesday, fans can submit their choices for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet with the 2018 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote.
The 89th Midsummer Classic, at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 180 countries. FOX Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage in the United States, while ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage.
For more information about MLB All-Star Week and to purchase tickets, visit AllStarGame.com and follow @MLB and @AllStarGame on social media.
Aguilar won't need tickets. He'll be on the field.
"It's going to be hard [to sleep], especially for my family," Aguilar said. "I have a lot of support down there in Venezuela, and they're going to get crazy."
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.