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  • There are so many players having all-star caliber seasons. Here are the ones who should make it to Cleveland for the All-Star Game.
By Matt Martell
June 29, 2019

We’re less than two weeks away from the All-Star Game and the festivities have become the talk of the sport. This year was the first with the new ASG election format deciding the starters for each league, and the results of that 28-hour window for fans to vote were released Thursday night. But the rest of the rosters won’t be determined entirely until next week; the reserves and pitchers will be announced Sunday night, and thereafter, injury replacements will be selected if needed until the game on July 9.

All of the different components that go into this make it difficult to predict which players will ultimately be all-stars at Progressive Field Cleveland on July 9. Instead, thinking it would be easier, I chose to put together my own All-Star Game rosters—I was wrong. There are so many #ASGWorthy players in the league based on the seasons they’re having, and about a dozen more guys who fit the “stars” description but are having down years or missed significant time in the first half due to injury. Even with rosters of 40 players each—last year, 37 players made each ASG roster, but I rounded up—three of the top four AL MVP finishers from last season, including the winner, did not make the cut. I also left off the top three finishers in the 2017 MVP races from both leagues. Neither AL Cy Young award winner from the last two years made the team.

As the actual ASG does, I included at least one player from every team on my rosters, and I selected 15 pitchers from each league, which was the number per team last season. Additionally, I used the same starting lineups that the fans voted. Below, I’ll provide further explanation for why certain players made my rosters.

American League

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Starters (9):

C) Gary Sanchez, Yankees

1B) Carlos Santana, Indians

2B) DJ LeMahieu, Yankees

SS) Jorge Polanco, Twins

3B) Alex Bregman, Astros

OF) Michael Brantley, Astros

OF) Mike Trout, Angels

OF) George Springer, Astros

DH) Hunter Pence, Rangers

Reserves (16):

C) James McCann, White Sox

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C) Omar Narvaez, Mariners

For Narvaez, it came down to three things. One, other than Gary Sanchez and James McCann, there is little catching depth in the AL. Mitch Garver and Robinson Chirinos were the only two other catchers who could reasonably be considered for the third spot behind the dish. Two, Narvaez is slashing .292/.370/.469 with 11 homers this season. Three, the Mariners needed a representative in the Midsummer Classic, and that was a two-man race between Narvaez and DH Daniel Vogelbach. So really, it came down to Shohei Ohtani vs. Mitch Garver, who’d be the third catcher if it wasn’t Narvaez, and Ohtani is infinitely more fun of a star than Garver.

1B) Luke Voit, Yankees

Voit beats out C.J. Cron of the Twins and his new teammate, Edwin Encarnacion, for the lone AL reserve first baseman. It was a tough call, because all three players are having similar offensive seasons and don’t offer much defensively. I gave it to Voit, just because of how valuable he’s been in the Yankees’ lineup with all the injuries they’ve had this season.

2B) Whit Merrifield, Royals

2B) Tommy La Stella, Angels

SS) Francisco Lindor, Indians

SS) Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox

MI) Gleyber Torres, Yankees

Torres is on this roster as a middle infielder because he’s technically the Yankees’ starting second baseman, with DJ LeMahieu playing third. But because Didi Gregorius missed most of the first half, Torres has spent more time this year at short. Either way, there’s no denying his all-star credentials: .291 average, 19 homers, .903 OPS.

3B) Matt Chapman, Athletics

3B) Rafael Devers, Red Sox

OF) Austin Meadows, Rays

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OF) Tommy Pham, Rays

Pham made headlines earlier this month because he felt the Rays weren’t fairly represented in the ASG election primaries. He had a point. His teammate Austin Meadows isn’t the only player from Tampa worthy of a roster spot, as both he and ace righthander Charlie Morton have made my squad.

OF) Max Kepler, Twins

OF) Trey Mancini, Orioles

Yes, even the lowly Orioles get an all-star, but Mancini’s place on the roster is no participation trophy. The 27-year-old rightfielder is enjoying a breakout season, hitting .296/.354/.542 with 17 homers.

OF) Joey Gallo, Rangers

DH) Shohei Ohtani, Angels

Pitchers (15):

SP) Justin Verlander, Astros

SP) Gerrit Cole, Astros

SP) Marcus Stroman, Blue Jays

SP) Lance Lynn, Rangers

Lynn is one of the two Cy Young candidates for the surprisingly good Rangers. After a rough 2018 season that he split with the Twins and Yankees, the 32-year-old righty has returned to the dominant starter he was during his six years with the Cardinals. Lynn leads the AL in WAR, per Fangraphs, and following his eight shutout innings Friday night against the Rays, he is 10-4 with a 4.00 ERA. But Lynn’s 2.92 FIP suggests he’s been far better at preventing runs this year than what his ERA shows.

SP) Mike Minor, Rangers

SP) Charlie Morton, Rays

SP) Chris Sale, Red Sox

Remember Sale’s godawful start to the season and how everyone thought it was Apocalypse Now for the lefthander? Well, we were wrong. His 3-7 record isn’t good, but in 2019 pitcher wins don’t mean a whole lot. He ranks second among AL starters in both Fangraphs WAR and strikeouts.

SP) Matthew Boyd, Tigers

SP) Jose Berrios, Twins

SP) Jake Odorizzi, Twins

SP) Lucas Giolito, White Sox

RP) Liam Hendriks, Athletics

RP) Ken Giles, Blue Jays

For what it’s worth, Giles was a likely all-star candidate anyway. But I included him on the roster because more than anything I want him to be batterymates with Sanchez. We all remember Giles’s legendary right hook when he punched himself in the face after allowing a go-ahead three-run homer to Sanchez last year while he was pitching for the Astros.

RP) Brad Hand, Indians

RP) Aroldis Chapman, Yankees


National League

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Starters (8):

C) Willson Contreras, Cubs

1B) Freddie Freeman, Braves

2B) Ketel Marte, Diamondbacks

SS) Javier Baez, Cubs

3B) Nolan Arenado, Rockies

OF) Ronald Acuna Jr., Braves

OF) Christian Yelich, Brewers

OF) Cody Bellinger, Dodgers

Reserves (17):

C) Yasmani Grandal, Brewers

C) Carson Kelly, Diamondbacks

Fun (or not so fun) fact: More players (3) that the Cardinals traded away from their 2018 roster made my all-star teams than guys currently playing for St. Louis. Kelly was included in the Paul Goldschmidt trade, and his problem with the Cardinals was that he was sitting behind future Hall of Famer Yadier Molina. The 24-year-old is slashing .282/.362/.540 in his first year as an everyday catcher.

1B) Josh Bell, Pirates

1B) Pete Alonso, Mets

1B) Anthony Rizzo, Cubs

1B) Rhys Hoskins, Phillies

Incredibly, there are five legitimate all-star worthy first basemen in the NL. Freddie Freeman was voted as the game’s starter by the fans, but you could make a solid case for both Josh Bell and Pete Alonso to start. At least one of the two behind them, Anthony Rizzo and Hoskins, were going to make this roster, but choosing one over the other is perhaps more difficult than picking Freeman over Bell and Alonso. So, since I rounded to 40 players, it was a no-brainer to take them both, too.

2B) Mike Moustakas, Brewers

2B) Max Muncy, Dodgers

SS) Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres

Sure, he missed some time with an injury, but there isn’t a more electric rookie in the league than Tatis. Yes, that includes Vladimir Guerrero Jr. The combination of speed, power and defense makes Tatis a must-watch player and a definite future superstar. There’s no better place for him to jumpstart his stardom than at the ASG.

3B) Anthony Rendon, Nationals

3B) Kris Bryant, Cubs

3B) Manny Machado, Padres

OF) Jeff McNeil, Mets

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OF) Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals

One of two Cardinals to make my NL roster, Ozuna left Friday night’s game with injuries to his third and fourth fingers, which he suffered diving back into first base. The extent of his injuries are not yet known, but it looked painful.

OF) Charlie Blackmon, Rockies

OF) Juan Soto, Nationals

OF) Garrett Cooper, Marlins

Cooper’s inclusion on this list is funny to me. I covered him during his brief tenure with the Yankees in 2017 and watched him drop bombs in batting practice. Still, I thought he was more of a great BP hitter than future all-star. The one player per team quota definitely helped Cooper make the cut, but his .323/.387/.503 slashline definitely shows he’s not out of his league being there.

Pitchers (15):

RHP) Mike Soroka, Braves

RHP) Brandon Woodruff, Brewers

LHP) Cole Hamels, Cubs

Hamels is the NL’s equivalent to Justin Verlander, a former great pitcher who resurrected his career after being traded midseason. Hamels was the Cubs’ best pitcher down the stretch last season, and that dominance has carried over into 2019. He left Friday’s start with a left oblique strain and has been placed on the injured list. In all likelihood, he will not pitch in the ASG.

RHP) Zack Greinke, Diamondbacks

RHP) Walker Buehler, Dodgers

LHP) Hyun-jin Ryu, Dodgers

RHP) Jacob deGrom, Mets

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RHP) Max Scherzer, Nationals

RHP) Stephen Strasburg, Nationals

RHP) Zach Eflin, Phillies

The Phillies’ best pitcher this year is Eflin, not Aaron Nola, who finished third in the 2018 Cy Young race. Eflin is 7-7 with a 3.26 ERA in 15 starts this season.

RHP) Luis Castillo, Reds

LHP) Josh Hader, Brewers

RHP) John Gant, Cardinals

As much as everyone would want to see Jordan Hicks unleash his 103-mph heater in Cleveland, the Cardinals’ closer tore his UCL and underwent Tommy John surgery this week. However, Gant, not Hicks, has been the most consistent pitcher for St. Louis this season. The righthander is 7-0 with a 2.34 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP across 42 1/3 innings this year.

LHP) Will Smith, Giants

RHP) Kirby Yates, Padres

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