Read our story on the voting format, which includes two stages of fan voting to determine the All-Star starters.
It’s an eternal honor to be selected for an All-Star game. Once you make it to one, you can call yourself an All-Star forever. Forever! Brad Boxberger? All Star. Matt Kaps? All Star. Cesar Izturis? All Star. If I ever made an all-star team, I would put it in every autograph I gave for the rest of my life.
Some players make All-Star Games careers: Albert Pujols made it to 10, Mike Trout to 9, Justin Verlander to 8. But to make it once is a great achievement – and something you always have.
This year there are 10 players who have had remarkable careers in the major leagues, are having a good enough season to be worth considering, and have never made it to an All-Star game before to have. (We’re leaving out for now players who are just starting out in the big leagues and are sure to be nominated for many Midsummer Classics, like Julio Rodríguez or Wander Franco.) Maybe this is the year, maybe not. But these are the 10 with the best chances of finally getting their first.
Andrew Benintendi, LF, Royals
There has to be a royal somewhere in the squad and if it’s not Bobby Witt Jr (who should have plenty of opportunities down the line) then how about Benintendi? He’s off to a great start, hitting well over .300 with a strong OBP, and he’s one of the few veterans on this team to live up to Royals expectations. Of all the young Red Sox phenomena from back then, Benintendi is the only one who hasn’t made an All-Star game yet. (Even Jackie Bradley Jr. did one in 2016.) This could be the last best chance he gets.
Byron Buxton, CF, Gemini
While Buxton still feels like a phenomenon – that’s what happens when you’ve played 92+ games in a season just once in your career – this is actually his eighth year in the big leagues. If he’s healthy, he’s an MVP candidate, but that’s a big if. A big slump in the second half of May marred Buxton’s gaudy numbers, but he bounced back in June and still looks of All-Star caliber. And he’s healthy now, all things considered. Or at least as healthy as he gets.
Kole Calhoun, RF, Rangers
Since leaving the Angels after the 2019 season, Calhoun has spent a few years in Arizona and joined the Rangers this year. He’s been doing what he usually does: hitting some home runs, playing some decent right field (did you know he won a Gold Glove Award in 2015?), and generally staying under the radar. But he was one of baseball’s top hitters in the month of May, and his typical numbers are looking better in this offensive environment. This is his 11th season: if he doesn’t make it this year, he probably never will.
Carlos Carrasco, SP, Mets
Carrasco is one of those pitchers who certainly feels like he’s made an All-Star Game before, but he never has. (He didn’t even make it in 2017 when he finished fourth in AL Cy Young Award voting.) He’s been the constant for a Mets rotation in flux, making every start and currently leading the major leagues in wins, which is impressive even if you don’t really like winning. (He’s four wins away from career 100.) Considering what Carrasco went through, seeing him field in the All-Star Game would be one of the most inspirational stories of the season.
CJ Cron, 1B, Rockies
Cron has always, always, from his early years in Anaheim – trailing Trout and Pujols in that lineup – to Tampa Bay and Minnesota and Detroit and now to Colorado. He has found a true home with the Rockies and has a real shot at becoming the club’s first player to hit 45 home runs since Todd Helton in 2001. In a stacked first base position, Cron excels at his strength.
Max Fried, SP, Braves
Fried may still be underestimated as a starter, despite a career 3.24 ERA for the Braves and a top-five finish at the NL Cy Young Awards in 2020 (when he went 7-0). With a career-low FIP (2.91), Atlanta’s ace was a lifesaver for the slow-starting defending champions. The left-hander has already won a World Series clincher, so an All-Star Game appearance is the next logical step.
Joe Musgrove, SP, Padres
Remember when the big debate between Blake Snell and Yu Darvish was which Padres pitcher would win the Cy Young Award? Well, it’s actually Musgrove who’s been the star since those three pitchers arrived last season, and he’s now looking like a front-runner for that honor in 2022. Musgrove is the San Diego kid who gave the franchise its first no-hitter and has just kept getting better. He’s 7-0 with a 1.50 ERA this season, so just forget about being named to the All-Star team — Musgrove should probably start this game.
Brandon Nimmo, CF, Mets
Is there a more underrated player in baseball than Nimmo? The guy has a career .390 OBP and plays absolutely decent midfield for a New York team. Injuries have been a problem for him but he has been healthy this year and comes to base as usual while setting up center plus 3 outs above average. The All-Star Game will be packed with Mets this year, but it would be good to make room for Nimmo, who is more than expecting it.
Martin Perez, SP, Rangers
Did you know Perez was a teammate of Michael Young? This is a guy who’s been with Rangers for a while. Sure, he made stints in Minnesota and Boston in 2019-21, but his return to Arlington this year was a resounding success. His 1.56 ERA is incredible (and mostly helped by his peripherals), and keeping the ball in the ballpark was key. He has only given up one homer in 69 1/3 innings. He is older and wiser now and has never been so good. Some of us are late bloomers, you know?
Julio Urías, SP, Dodgers
Urías, who’s only 25, is sort of in his seventh year with the majors. That’s absurd! He’s taken on pretty much every role the Dodgers have asked him for, and he’s excelled in all of them. Three years ago he had 29 appearances and four saves; last year he won 20 games. He also has a sub-3.00 ERA this year. Urías probably would have made the All-Star Game if there had been one in 2020, so while it’s remarkable to say about someone who’s only 25, Urías is overdue.