Most Deserving AL All-Star Starters: One Month in Advance

The early votes have been tallied for this year's All-Star Game, to be played July 11th. But if we were to base the starters on purely who deserves it the most so far this season, the list in the American League would look like this, one month out from the Mid-Summer Classic:

  • Catcher: Adley Rutschman, Baltimore Orioles
  • First Base: Yandy Diaz, Tampa Bay Rays
  • Second Base: Marcus Semien, Texas Rangers
  • Shortstop: Bo Bichette, Toronto Blue Jays
  • Third Base: Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Guardians
  • Left Field: Randy Arozarena, Tampa Bay Rays
  • Center Field: Mike Trout, LA Angels
  • Right Field: Aaron Judge, NY Yankees
  • DH: Yordan Alvarez, Houston Astros
  • Starting Pitcher: Shane McClanahan, Tampa/Kevin Gausman, Toronto
  • Relief Pitcher: Felix Bautista, Baltimore Orioles
There are some pretty standard names on this list, like Trout, Judge, Bichette. But four first-time All-Stars as well, including a surprise appearance by Yandy Diaz. He's been a huge part of the Rays' offense this season with a massive OPS+ of 165. He's hitting .308 with a .402 OBP and a .978 OPS with 12 HR and 34 RBIs. 

For the longest time, third base looked like it belonged to Matt Chapman this season, but Ramirez has come on like gangbusters of late, and now holds an .850 OPS with a 136 OPS+, edging out Rafael Devers for the top spot, despite his 15 HR and 52 RBIs (his 107 OPS+ and .782 OPS holds him down a bit).

Both McClanahan and Gausman have been elite, in baseball's best division (and Gerrit Cole actually isn't too far behind), so it was tough to pick just one starting pitcher. 

The game takes place at T-Mobile Park in Seattle on July 11th; the official starters will be announced in a few weeks' time.

 Photo: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports