Hawaii’s MLB players head into All-Star break with season halfway over

Sports

DENVER, CO – JUNE 1: Shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa #9 of the Texas Rangers throws to first base for an out during the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on June 1, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

After the conclusion on Sunday’s games, the 2021 MLB All-Star Break is officially underway. Here are how players in the MLB with Hawaii ties performed during the first half of the season.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa, shortstop, Texas Rangers (Mid-Pacific): Kiner-Falefa was hitting .295 for the 2021 season on June 12, but that number has been reduced to .258 heading into the All-Star break. However, IKF leads the league in a number of defensive categories, including defensive runs saved (10), assists (255) and outs made (275). The Rangers are last place in the AL West at 35-55.

On Sunday, with the second overall pick of the 2021 MLB Draft, the Rangers selected Vanderbilt pitcher Jack Leiter, bypassing a bevy of options at shortstop, which appeared to be a subtle vote of confidence in favor of Kiner-Falefa.

Kolten Wong, second base, Milwaukee Brewers (Kamehameha-Hawaii and University of Hawaii): Wong, who has not played since July 1 due to a calf injury, is expected to return after the All-Star break. Wong also missed a potion of June due to injury but hit a scalding .350 for the month. The two-time defending Gold Glover is hitting .291 for the Brewers, who are leading the NL Central at 53-39.

The 2021 MLB Draft marks the 10-year anniversary of Wong being the 22nd overall selection of the 2011 draft by the St. Louis Cardinals.

Josh Rojas, utility, Arizona Diamondbacks (University of Hawaii): Rojas went 3-for-4 with a run and a walk as the Diamondbacks fell 7-4 to the Los Angeles Dodgers to close out the first half.

Rojas is hitting .256 with 10 home runs and has been one of the few bright spots for the Diamondbacks, who have the worst record in the league at 26-66 and infamously lost 24 straight road games, a steak that ended on June 26. Rojas has been a defensive stalwart as well, seeing action at right field, left field, second base, third base and shortstop this season.

Kurt Suzuki, catcher, Los Angeles Angels (Baldwin High School): Suzuki continues to play in a spot duty role for the Angels as the backup catcher to Max Stassi. Suzuki, who is hitting .219 this season, went 1-for-4 against the Seattle Mariners on Sunday as the Angels won 7-1 to improve to 45-44 heading into the break.

Kean Wong, utility, Angels (Waiakea High School): Wong was recalled by the Angels on Sunday but has not appeared in an MLB game since June 26. Wong is hitting .179 this season and has appeared defensively at second base, third base, right field and left field.

Ka’ai Tom, outfielder, Pittsburgh Pirates (Saint Louis): Tom has not played since July 1 due to a lower back strain. But before that, he was consistently receiving opportunities to play despite hitting .098 in the month of June. He is currently hitting .139. The Pirates are 34-56 at the break.

Jordan Yamamoto, pitcher, New York Mets (Saint Louis): Yamamoto has not pitched since May 23 and is out for an extended period of time due to a shoulder injury on his throwing arm. Yamamoto was 1-1 for the Mets with a 4.05 ERA at the time of his injury and was look far sharper than he did with the Miami Marlins in 2020.

The second half of the 2021 MLB season resumes on Thursday when the Boston Red Sox take on the New York Yankees.

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