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MLB Draft begins Sunday

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Seattle, Washington, like baseball fans everywhere, is gearing up for the arrival of the 2023 MLB Draft. From July 9-11, a multitude of talented players will have the opportunity to join various teams. Everyone is anxiously waiting to see what the next class of baseball players will bring to the field. The Draft coincides with All-Star Weekend, which begins on Friday.

New lottery underway

Despite securing the first pick in the draft as a result of their dismal 55-107 record last season, the Washington Nationals will select second. For the second time in three years, the Pittsburgh Pirates will have the honor of being the first pick after the Nationals deferred the top spot to them.

In case anyone forgot or didn't catch it, MLB made history in December with its first lottery to determine the order. The goal of the lottery was to prevent a team or teams from intentionally crashing at the end of the season in order to pick first in the Draft. This not only surpassed the existing NBA and NHL lottery systems, but also gave advantages to several teams such as the Detroit Tigers, Texas WATCH and Minnesota Twins. They saw an increase in their draft rankings that they would not have had under the old system.

This year, the Seattle Mariners were among 12 teams ineligible for the No. 1 pick lottery because of their pre-playoff ranking. They are poised to make a killing on the first day of the draft. With the coveted No. 22, No. 29 and No. 30 spots, the Mariners are the only team with three picks inside the esteemed top-30.

Although the class of 2023 is deep, it possesses certain deficiencies. For example, there isn't a left-handed pitcher who really stands out as a top prospect. According to MLB.com, the top-ranked left-hander is Massachusetts high school prospect Thomas White, who is ranked No. 24. After him, Kent State's Joe Whitman is ranked No. 37.

Therefore, there is the likelihood that the left-hander will not be chosen among the 28 selections that make up the opening round. If the prime opportunity for a left-handed player does not materialize within the top 20 selections, it would inevitably add to the list of drawbacks along with other determining factors.

All-Star Weekend is here

Seattle is also preparing for an influx of numerous people projected to attend All-Star Baseball Week. With this being Seattle's third time hosting the All-Star Game and related activities, it is estimated that more than 100,000 people will gather to participate in the festivities.

Festivities begin Friday, July 7 at T-Mobile Park, following the MLB-USA Baseball High School All-American Game. The stadium will then host a doubleheader on July 8. The day kicks off with the highly anticipated Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game, where the brightest prospects from all corners of MLB come together to dazzle the audience with their exceptional skills.

In a thrilling showdown, these up-and-coming stars will participate in exhibition games, captivating the fans who have gathered to witness this captivating spectacle. Notably, the coaching staffs of both teams are comprised of celebrated Mariners icons who have left an indelible mark on the team's history.

Legendary names such as Félix Hernández, Adrián Beltré, Dan Wilson, Jay Buhner and Mike Cameron adorn the ranks of these coaching staffs, further enhancing the appeal of this momentous meeting. Raul Ibanez led the National League team, while Harold Reynolds was at the helm of the American League team. After the conclusion of the Futures Game, the occasion moves seamlessly to the red carpet of the Celebrity Softball Game.

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