A Look At The 2019 MLB All-Star Game Starters

A Look At The 2019 MLB All-Star Game Starters

With all the votes counted, Major League Baseball has announced the starters for the 2019 MLB All-Star Game. The All-Star game will take place on Tuesday, July 9th at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio. The reserves will be revealed on ESPN, Sunday June 30th at 5:30 PM EST. Here’s a look at the starter at each position, and a look at what they have done so far this year.

American League Starters

Catcher: Gary Sanchez (New York Yankees)

Gary Sanchez makes his second All-Star Game appearance, however this is his first time being named a starter. He has had a bounce back year after a disappointing 2018 season. In 2019, The Kraken is batting .266 with 23 home runs and 52 RBI’s. Sanchez has also had much better year behind the dish, with only 5 passed balls, compared to a league high 18 last year. Sanchez beat out the White Sox James McCann, and the Astros Robinson Chirinos. Sanchez is the first Yankee’s Catcher to be named All-Star Game starting catcher since Jorge Posada in 2003.

First Base: Carlos Santana (Cleveland Indians)

After returning to the Indians this year, Carlos Santana gets the start for his hometown Indians fans. Santana has had a solid year batting .290 with 18 home runs and 48 RBI’s. He is also second in the American League with a .411 OBP, trailing only the Angel’s Mike Trout. This will be Santana’s first All-Star game in his 10 year career, beating out the Yankees Luke Voit, and the Angels C.J Cron. Santana is the first Indians First Baseman to be named All-Star Game starter since Jim Thome in 1999.

Second Base: DJ LeMahieu (New York Yankees)

What a year for DJ LeMahieu. LeMahieu joined the Yankees club this year and has arguably been the team’s best player. He leads the American League with a .336 BA, and has hit 12 home runs with 54 RBIs, helping him to his 3rd All-Star Game spot. If LeMahieu wins the batting title this year, he will be the first player in the modern era to win both the American League, and National League batting title after he hit an NL leading .348 in 2016. The runners-up for the Second Base starter were Astros Jose Altuve, and the Angels Tommy LaStella. LeMahieu is the first Yankees Second Baseman since Robinson Cano in 2013 to be named starting Second Baseman.

Third Base: Alex Bregman (Houston Astros)

One of three Houston Astro players to be named All-Star starters, Bregman returns to the All-Star game for the second time, last year being his first, where he took home All-Star Game MVP. Bregman has been a shining light for the Astros, who have been bitten by the injury bug. He is batting .267 this year and is tied for 3rd in the AL home run race with 22 and is tied for second in AL walks with 59. Bregman beat the Royals Hunter Dozier and the Yankees Gio Urshela for the starting job. Bregman is the first Astros player to be named starting Third Baseman in the All-Star Game.

Shortstop: Jorge Polanco (Minnesota Twins)

Jorge Polanco has arrived. He is among the American League leaders with a .321 batting average, and has hit 11 home runs and 39 RBIs. Those numbers don’t say enough about Polanco, however. He has hit for the cycle this season, and is in the top 5 in doubles (22), hits (101), and total bases (164) for the AL. This will be Polanco’s very first All-Star game beating the Yankees Gleyber Torres and the Astos Carlos Correa. We have to go all the way back to 1979 to find the last Twins player, Roy Smalley, to be named starting Shortstop in an All-Star Game

Outfield: Mike Trout (Anaheim Angels)

No surprise here. Arguably the best player in the league, Mike Trout is almost a yearly shoe-in for All-Star Game starter. This is his 7th year in a row that he has been named starter, which is (no surprise) the longest active streak in the MLB. Trout is also the only player to win the All-Star Game MVP in back-to-back years. Trout is top 5 in home runs in the AL (22) , top 5 in RBIs (57), second in runs scored (63), and leads the AL in slugging percentage with a .623. This will be Trout’s 8th All-Star Game appearance.

Outfield: George Springer (Houston Astros)

George Springer is making his third straight All-Star appearance for the American League. He has had a solid 2019 campaign, hitting .315 with 18 home runs and 44 RBIs. Springer is widely considered one of the best leadoff hitters in the entire league, hitting 29 leadoff home runs since 2016. Springer joins his Astros teammate Alex Bregman, and fellow Astros outfielder Michael Brantely in the 2019 All-Star Game.

Outfield: Michael Brantley (Houston Astros)

Michael Brantley makes his return to Cleveland….as a member of the Houston Astros. Brantley has made a good impression on his new team, ranking 5th in the AL with a .317 BA and 5th in hits with 97. Brantley also has 11 homers and 43 RBIs on the year. This will be Michael Brantley’s 4th career All-Star Game appearance. Outfielder runner-ups included Yankees Aaron Judge, Red Sox Mookie Betts, Twins Eddie Rosario, Rangers Joey Gallo, Rays Austin Meadows, and the Astros own Josh Reddick.

Designated Hitter: Hunter Pence (Texas Rangers)

I remember a time when Hunter Pence was considered one of the top players in the league. Then he went away and was almost at risk of never being seen again. What a turn around for him. Pence signed with the Rangers on a minor league deal in February of this year as a spring training invitee. He made the team, and has been putting up the kind of numbers he did in Houston back in 2010-2011. He’s batting .294 with 15 homers and 48 RBIs. He beat out Red Sox slugger J.D Martinez and Twins Nelson Cruz to be named starting DH.

National League Starters

Catcher: Willson Contreras (Chicago Cubs)

This is Willson Contreras’ break out year. Kind of funny to say, since he is the National League starting Catcher for the second year in a row, but the numbers do not lie. Contreras is batting .300 on the year, hitting 17 home runs and 48 RBIs. He has a .586 slugging percentage, and a .981 OPS, both of which are good enough to be top 10 in the National League. Contreras beat out Braves Brian McCann, and Brewers Yasmani Grandal. As stated earlier, he is making the second straight start at Catcher for the NL.

First Base: Freddie Freeman (Atlanta Braves)

The closest vote in this year’s All-Star game was between Freddie Freeman, and the Pirates Josh Bell. Freeman has always been a great hitter, and this year proves no different. He is tied for second in the NL with 100 hits, tied for 6th with 22 home runs, and tied for 3rd with 63 RBIs. Josh Bell has 94 hits, 22 home runs, and leads the NL with 70 RBIs. Josh Bell also has the 3rd best Slugging Percentage in the National League with a .646. This one was a toss up, and in my opinion it probably should’ve went to Bell. Cubs Anthony Rizzo is also a runner up. Freeman is making his 4th All-Star appearance and has started in back to back years at first base. 

Second Base: Ketel Marte (Arizona Diamondbacks)

Making his first All-Star game appearance is the D-Backs second baseman Ketel Marte. Marte has been putting up career numbers this year, hitting 20 home runs (highest of his career) 51 RBI’s (8 less than the his current season high) and has the 5th best batting average in the NL, batting .320. Marte also leads the NL in hits with 102. Marte beat out Braves Ozzie Albies, and Brewers Mike Moustakas. Jay Bell in 1999 is the last D-Backs second baseman to be named starter of an All-Star Game.

Third Base: Nolan Arenado (Colorado Rockies)

Earlier I said Mike Trout is arguably the best player in MLB today. He is, but in my opinion, Nolan Arenado is second on that list. Arenado is making his 5th straight All-Star appearance and the third straight start at third base. Another excellent year for the Rockies star, he’s batting .313 with 19 homers and 62 RBIs. Arenado isn’t only great at the dish, he’s a walking web gem in the field, and has won 6 straight Gold Gloves at third base. Arenado beat out Braves Josh Donaldson, and Cubs Kris Bryant.

Shortstop: Javier Baez (Chicago Cubs)

Javier Baez could really be the starter at short, third or second. That’s evident in his first All-Star Game last year, where Baez started at Second Base. This year? Still a starter, but at shortstop now, the first player in MLB history to make back to back All-Star games at different positions. An exceptional year by the NL MVP runner up from a year ago, Baez is batting .286 with 19 home runs and 52 RBIs. He also ranks 9th in the NL in hits with 90. El Mago beat out Rockies Trevor Story, and Braves Dansby Swanson. Addison Russell is the last Cubbie to be named starting Shortstop in the All-Star Game in 2016.

Outifled: Chrisitian Yelich (Milwaukee Brewers)

Can you believe at one time the Miami Marlins had Giancarlo Stanton, Marcel Ozuna, J.T. Realmuto and Christian Yelich ON THE SAME TEAM?! Man what a cluster….nevermind. Either way, Chrisitian Yelich has jumped onto the baseball scene and has no intention of slowing down any time soon. The NL MVP from last year is 3rd in NL batting average at .335, first in home runs with 29, tied for 3rd in RBIs with 63, and leads the NL in slugging percentage with a .719. Oh yeah, he also is second in stolen bases with 17. Forget Bert Kreischer, Christian Yelich is the real machine. Yelich will be appearing in his second straight All-Star game

Outfield: Cody Bellinger (Los Angeles Dodgers)

Christian Yelich is on a tear and is looking to capture back-to-back NL MVP titles. Cody Bellinger may have something to say about that. Bellinger lead the National League with a .356 batting average, is second in hits with 100, and is right on Yelich’s heels with 27 home runs. The 2017 NL Rookie of the Year is making his second All-Star appearance, and I have to be honest, and outfield of Bellinger, Yelich, and this next guy, is absolutely frightening.

Outfield: Ronald Acuna Jr. (Atlanta Braves)

The youngest starter in the 2019 MLB All-Star game is 21 year old Ronald Acuna Jr. Last years NL Rookie of the Year will be making his first All-Star game appearance, and it’s well deserved. On a roster full of amazing young talent, Acuna has had an impressive sophomore campaign, hitting .287, with 19 home runs and 51 RBIs. Acuna also has 11 stolen bases on the year. As I said, this outfield is scary, and I for one cannot wait to see them play together. Runner-up include Rockies Charlie Blackmon, Braves Nick Markakis, Cubs Jason Heyward, Cubs Kyle Schwarber, Cubs Albert Almora Jr. and Dodgers Joc Pederson.

All in all, I expect this to be a pretty fun All-Star Game. I’m in the minority when I say I actually liked when the All-Star Game decided home field advantage in the World Series, but the game really hasn’t suffered in my opinion. As I said earlier, I feel Josh Bell should’ve gotten the start over Freddie Freeman, and I think we can all agree that Anthony Rondon is probably the biggest snub this year, but it’s almost certain that he will be a reserve. One thing I find hilarious, is the absence of the two biggest free agents this year, Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. The Padres and Phillies spent all that money on these guys and they probably won’t even be reserves as both are having down years production wise.

I hope you all enjoy the 2019 MLB All-Star Game, because it’s shaping up to be a good one.

Photo Source: MLB.com

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