July 19, 2024

MLB All-Star Game starters announced; Phillies lead with 3 selections


For the first time in more than 30 years, the bulk of the National League’s starting All-Star infield is coming from the Philadelphia Phillies.

Major League Baseball announced the All-Star Game starters Wednesday, and the Phillies lead all teams with three selections, all of them infielders: first baseman Bryce Harper, third baseman Alec Bohm and shortstop Trea Turner. The last time the Phillies had three starting All-Star infielders was 1982 when Mike Schmidt, Pete Rose and Manny Trillo represented the NL.

The Phillies aren’t alone in the familiarity. Each league’s lineup comes from only five teams: the Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, and San Diego Padres in the NL; the Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Guardians, Houston Astros, New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays in the American League. Most of the near misses also came from those teams. Of the 18 total starters, only three will be without a teammate in the lineup.

Starting lineups

Two All-Star finalists at each position were announced last week, and fans have been voting in the two-way race for the starters since Sunday. Harper and Aaron Judge of the Yankees were the leading vote-getters during phase one of voting and moved directly into the starting lineups. The rest of the All-Star starters were announced Wednesday.

National League

American League

Turner wins odd race at NL shortstop

The NL shortstop finalists were an unusual pair. Mookie Betts was vying for his eighth All-Star selection and first as a shortstop (after being a mainstay in right field). He would have been the overwhelming favorite, but he was hit by a pitch on June 15 and hasn’t played since. The starting job instead went to Turner, who might have sealed his selection with a two-homer game on Tuesday.

Turner is having a good season — second only to Betts in wRC+ among NL shortstops — but he missed six weeks with a strained left hamstring, leaving him without the overall numbers of Elly De La Cruz (Cincinnati Reds), Francisco Lindor (New York Mets), Willy Adames (Brewers), Ezequiel Tovar (Colorado Rockies) or Ha-Seong Kim (Padres). If you’re looking for potential All-Star Game snubs, NL shortstops might be a good place to start.

Ramírez is back, but now what at AL third base?

Despite finishing top 10 in MVP voting each of the past four seasons, Ramírez has not started an All-Star Game since 2018 (in that time, he’s made three teams as a backup). This season, Ramírez won the fan vote despite a deep field of viable third base candidates in the American League, beating out versatile Orioles infielder Jordan Westburg on the final ballot.

We’ll now see how much room there is for the other strong third base candidates in the American League with Westburg, Rafael Devers (Boston Red Sox), Josh Smith (Texas Rangers) and Isaac Paredes (Tampa Bay Rays) ranked in the top 17 among all position players in the league.

Harper finally an All-Star with the Phillies (probably)

Harper was announced as the NL’s starting first baseman last Thursday, the same day he suffered a hamstring injury that currently has him on the injured list. However, the Phillies have said they expect Harper to return before the All-Star break, meaning he still has a good chance to be in the NL lineup.

It would be significant because, despite excellent numbers, injuries have so far kept Harper from playing in an All-Star Game during his six years with the Phillies. He broke his thumb on a hit by pitch a few weeks before the 2022 All-Star Game.

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MVP candidate showdown goes to Henderson

The race to be the AL’s starting shortstop came down to two early MVP candidates in Henderson and the Kansas City Royals’ Bobby Witt Jr. At 23 and 24 years old, both are among the best young players in the game, and Henderson is now the third-youngest AL shortstop to win the fan voting behind only Carlos Correa (22 in 2017) and Alex Rodriguez (21 in 1997). Witt will surely make the team as a backup on the Players Ballot.

Will there also be room for another of the game’s brightest young stars: Anthony Volpe of the New York Yankees?

Kwan beats Santander for AL outfield spot

In the first round of fan voting, Judge and Soto finished first and second in overall votes among AL players. Judge was automatically plugged into the starting lineup, while Soto was an obvious favorite for another spot. That left three interesting candidates for the final spot, with Kwan, the Major League leader in batting average, beating the Orioles’ Anthony Santander and the Astros’ Kyle Tucker.

It probably didn’t help Tucker that he was hurt for much of June while Kwan was read hot, but Santander — a former Rule 5 pick — did his best to push for the spot. He hit 13 home runs in June and finished second in the majors with 26 RBIs for the month, and a strong push from Orioles fans nearly got him into the lineup. Of course, it could be easily argued that Jarren Duran of the Red Sox, who was not a finalist, was most deserving of that final spot.

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Fans get it right at second base

The second base vote was fairly close in each league, but by the numbers, the fans got it right in the end. In the AL, finalist Marcus Semien of the Texas Rangers is having another strong season, but Altuve remains the standard-bearer at the position.

In the NL, Padres second baseman Luis Arraez remains a fan favorite for his low strikeout rate and high batting average, and he got considerable support in the final round of voting — Brewers second baseman Brice Turang is also having a terrific season in the NL — but Marte is an early MVP candidate with by far the highest WAR of any second baseman in either league. This is Marte’s first All-Star selection since 2019.

A-ll Star Game by the numbers

0: The number of previous All-Star Game starts for Soto. He’s a four-time All-Star, a four-time Silver Slugger and he’s finished top 10 in MVP voting four times, but this is his first time being chosen as an All-Star starter.

1: First-place teams without a starting All-Star position player. The Seattle Mariners, leaders of the American League West, have no starting position players but have multiple possibilities for the AL pitching staff.

2: Cleveland outfielders who have won the fan vote as All-Star Game starters in the 2000s. The only one before Kwan was Juan Gonzalez in 2001.

3: Career All-Star selections for Alvarez, but this is his first start. It helps that Ohtani switched leagues.

4: Consecutive All-Star Game starts at designated hitter for Ohtani. He’s the first player ever to start four straight mid-summer classics at DH (and the second straight Dodger to start at DH after J.D. Martinez).

5: Combined All-Star selections for brothers William and Willson Contreras. This is the second for William.

6: Career fan selections for Altuve. Hall of Famers Rod Carew (6) and Roberto Alomar (9) are the only other AL second basemen to have been voted All-Star Game starters six times.

7: Career All-Star selections for Hall of Famer Scott Rolen, but only one of them was with the Phillies, meaning Rolen and Bohm have the same number of Phillies All-Star Game selections. The last Phillies third baseman to start an All-Star Game was Placido Polanco in 2011.

8: Turner’s ranking among NL shortstops in WAR, according to FanGraphs. He has all-star-caliber numbers but he missed significant time with an injury. Phillies fans, though, came out in significant numbers to get him into the starting lineup.

9: Career All-Star selections for Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero. His 25-year-old son, Vlad Jr., is nearly halfway there with his fourth straight All-Star selection.

10: Career All-Star selections for Mike Trout, the most of any active player. Harper (7), Judge (6) and Altuve (6) have the next most.

11: Players who have led the majors in fan voting multiple times since 1970, according to MLB.com. Judge is the latest (he also led in 2022), joining Ken Griffey Jr. (5 times), Rod Carew (4), Ichiro Suzuki (3), Hank Aaron (2), Johnny Bench (2), Cal Ripken Jr. (2), Ozzie Smith (2), Albert Pujols (2) and Alex Rodriguez (2).

12: The number of years since Profar made his big league debut. This is his first All-Star selection.

Next steps

  • The full All-Star rosters, with pitchers and reserves, will be announced Sunday at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN.
  • One backup at each position, plus eight pitchers, will be chosen for each league via player ballots. The league office will choose another six players for each team. Players who are hurt, or starting pitchers who pitch the last game before the All-Star break, can be replaced on the rosters.
  • The All-Star Game will be held on July 16, at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

Required reading

(Photo of Trea Turner (left) and Bryce Harper (right): Eric Hartline / USA Today)



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