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Mississippi products earn MLB All Star...

Mississippi products earn MLB All Star honors

By: James Bryan Harrell - July 7, 2023

Atlanta Braves third baseman Austin Riley walks to the dugout during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins Saturday, July 1, 2023, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Alex Slitz)

Austin Riley, Justin Steele, and Brent Rooker – all with Magnolia State ties – are having big seasons on the major league diamond.

A few days ago, Major League Baseball released the final rosters for the 2023 All-Star game. Some names, like Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuna Jr., were obvious selections. However, along with these league standouts are three Mississippi products who were selected to play in the Midsummer Classic. 

Brent Rooker, Austin Riley, and Justin Steele are all relatively young in their MLB careers. Yet, they have performed extremely well to this point in the season. 

Brent Rooker, who was a part of the Mississippi State Baseball team, was selected as the backup DH for the American League. Rooker was drafted in 2016 out of Mississippi State after a monster season that saw him win National Player of the Year and the offensive Triple Crown in the SEC. In 2023, as a member of the Oakland Athletics, Rooker has posted career numbers. To this point, Rooker holds a .240 batting average with 14 HRs and 42 RBI. This is his first All Star selection.

Austin Riley played high school baseball in Mississippi. He was selected as a backup infielder for the National League team. As a player for Desoto Central High School in Southaven, Riley was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for Mississippi in 2014. He was drafted to the Atlanta Braves in the first round of the 2015 MLB Draft. This season for the Braves, Riley has amassed 16 HRs and 44 RBI behind a .268 batting average. This is his second consecutive All Star selection. 

Justin Steele, who was highlighted in a Magnolia Tribune column last week, is in the midst of a breakout season as a starting pitcher for the Chicago Cubs. The George County product out of Lucedale currently holds a 2.56 ERA through 16 starts this season – the third best in the National League. Steele has been dominant, building up a 9-2 record as a starter. This is his first All Star appearance.  

The MLB All Star game is scheduled to take place next Tuesday, July 11 at T-Mobile Park in Seattle. Be sure to tune in to check out some of the Magnolia State’s best products at the major league level. 

About the Author(s)
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James Bryan Harrell

James Bryan Harrell writes about Mississippi sports and culture for Magnolia Tribune. JB is a native of West Point and is a senior at Vanderbilt University, where he is majoring in communications.
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