Tim Tebow stepped to the plate and — no, no this story is all about Luigi Rodriguez. The night after competing in the Home Run Derby, the Giants prospect crushed a go-ahead home run in the top of the eighth inning, giving the Western squad a 4-3 lead in the Eastern League All-Star Classic.
While the game bizarrely ended in a 4-4 tie, Rodriguez took home the highest honor, being named the BUSH All-Star MVP.
“It was a good feeling,” Rodriguez told reporters after the game about his clutch home run. “I was proud of myself.”
Who Rodriguez hit the home run off of and how he did it was just as impressive as the intense situation. Rodriguez, a left-handed outfielder, smacked a 1-0 inside fastball from lefty Caleb Frare and punched it the other way. Coming into the contest, Frare owned a 4-1 record with a 0.69 ERA out of the bullpen. He has only allowed one home run all year, to a right-handed hitter, and lefties only have 10 hits all season against him.
“Left-handed hitters just don’t hit him,” West manager Michael Ryan said of Rodriguez’s blast. “It’s fun to be on this side of it this time for once. Hopefully, he can limit that a little bit when he plays against us. It’s a special type of player.”
In 70 games with the Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels, Rodriguez is batting .305 with 10 home runs, an .861 OPS, and 13 stolen bases. The 25-year-old spent the first years of his minor league career with the Indians before signing with the Giants in February. After the 2011 season, Baseball America ranked him the Indians’ No. 5 prospect.
Back in August of 2015, he was suspended 80 games for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
The Flying Squirrels were also represented by shortstop Ryan Howard (0-for-2), Dan Slania (1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER), and Dillon McNamara (2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K). Shaun Anderson was selected to the game but is participating in the Futures Game. Caleb Simpson missed the game due to injury and was replaced.
Oh, and Tebow hit a double in his first at-bat before going 1-for-4 as the Eastern team’s DH.
Triple-A All-Star Game
With Chase d’Arnaud and Steven Duggar up in the big leagues, the Giants only had one prospect in the Triple-A All-Star Game.
Tyler Rogers was named to the game for the second straight season and didn’t allow a run to score while giving up two hits in 2/3 of an inning. Rogers, 27, is 3-1 with a 1.59 ERA for the Sacramento River Cats this season.