Over the past year, Ender Inciarte has been accurately described as one of baseball’s top defensive outfielders and the consistent catalyst of a much-improved Braves offense. Now the Venezuelan center fielder can also be referred to as an All-Star.
Inciarte learned of his first career All-Star selection just before recording three hits and adding yet another highlight catch to his collection during Sunday afternoon’s 4-3, 12-inning win over the A’s at the Oakland Coliseum.
“I was very surprised, I really wasn’t expecting that,” Inciarte said. “I never thought about it the whole time. I can’t express with words how happy I am for this opportunity.”
Inciarte was one of seven National Leaguers who were chosen by Major League Baseball to round out the roster. He was the only Braves player selected to participate in this year’s Midsummer Classic.
“What a great opportunity for him to go showcase his skills and experience that,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “I couldn’t be more proud of him.”
Inciarte has significantly contributed to the success of the Braves, who have won 11 of their past 15 games and played just one game under .500 through this season’s first 81 games. The 26-year-old center fielder has hit .307 with a .353 on-base percentage. He ranks third in the Majors with 103 hits, and his 2.1 fWAR ranked sixth among qualified NL outfielders entering Sunday.
While the offensive contributions have significantly enhanced his value, Inciarte makes some of his most significant contributions on the defensive end. Such was the case when he raced into shallow center field to make a sliding catch with the bases loaded and one out in Sunday’s win. He quickly rose to his feet and prevented the A’s from attempting to score what would have been the winning run.
“That inning, the sun wasn’t bothering me too much unless it was to my right side,” Inciarte said. “That pitch, I came a couple steps closer. I just wanted to catch it and throw it back to home as quick as I could. We ended up holding up the runners and getting the out, and we got the win, which is the most important thing.”
Inciarte captured his first Gold Glove Award last season when he made an MLB-high 11 five-star catches (catch probability 0-25 percent) per Statcast™. This year, he leads the league again with three 5-star outs and ranks second with 10 4-star outs (catch probability 26-50 percent).
“This is what I’ve been dreaming for my entire life, and now making it happen,” Inciarte said. “Hopefully it’s going to be more than one time, but it’s so big for me, and I’m very excited to go and hopefully have a great time.”
On Tuesday, July 11, at 6:30 p.m. CT, tune in to the 2017 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2017 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote. The 88th All-Star Game, in Miami, will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International’s independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.