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Rob Carr / Getty Images
It’s time to make our final 2022 MLB All-Star Game picks before the full American League and National League rosters are announced Sunday night on ESPN.
In the past, we’ve made our selections based solely on who is most deserving, with our final round of merit-based picks released July 2.
Now it’s time to pivot our focus to predicting who will actually make the team as opposed to simply who is most deserving, which is not always one and the same.
With the AL and NL starters announced Friday afternoon, 18 of the 64 spots have been filled. Keeping in mind the rule of one representative for each team and the roster construction of 20 position players and 12 pitchers for each league, we gave our best guess for who will fill out the other 46 slots.
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Aaron Judge (Justin K. Aller / Getty Images)
AL Starting Lineup
1. DH Shohei Ohtani, LAA
2. CF Mike Trout, LAA
3. RF Aaron Judge, NYY
4. 3B Rafael Devers, BOS
5. LF Giancarlo Stanton, NYY
6. 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr., TOR
7. 2B Jose Altuve, HOU
8. SS Tim Anderson, CWS
9. C Alejandro Kirk, TOR
SP Justin Verlander, HOU
-The starting lineups for each team were announced Friday afternoon, so there’s no predicting to be done here in terms of who makes the cut, but we can take a crack at guessing what the batting order will look like.
-There is still the matter of naming a starting pitcher, and it looks like a two-man race between Shane McClanahan (16 GS, 9-3, 1.74 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 133 K, 98.1 IP) and Justin Verlander (16 GS , 11-3, 2.00 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 98 K, 103.1 IP). Track record, a good narrative with his stellar return from Tommy John surgery, and the fact that Houston’s Dusty Baker is managing the AL squad might be enough for Verlander to outweigh McClanahan’s superior numbers.
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Julio Rodriguez (Alika Jenner / Getty Images)
AL Reservations (Position Players)
C Jose Trevino, NYY
1B Ty France, SEA
2B Andres Gimenez, CLE
3B Jose Ramirez, CLE
SS Xander Bogaerts, BOS
IF Luis Arraez, MIN
OF Andrew Benintendi, KC
OF Julio Rodriguez, SEA
OF George Springer, TOR
OF Kyle Tucker, HOU
DH Yordan Alvarez, HOU
DH Miguel Cabrera, DET-commissioner’s pick
-It was announced on Wednesday that MLB’s new labor agreement includes a clause that allows the commissioner to select one player to each league’s roster in recognition of career achievements. Along with the announcement of the starters on Friday, future Hall of Famers Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols were named to the rosters under that clause.
-These 12 reserve picks include eight first-time All-Stars in Jose Trevino, Ty France, Andres Gimenez, Luis Arraez, Andrew Benintendi, Julio Rodriguez, Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez.
-If outfielder Austin Hays winds up being the only representative for the Baltimore Orioles, there will be a tough decision to make on which outfielder to snub. Of course likely won’t be an option as the clear choice to be the Kansas City Royals ’lone pick.
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Dylan Cease (Nic Antaya / Getty Images)
AL Reservations (Pitchers)
SP Dylan Cease, CWS
SP Nestor Cortes, NYY
SP Logan Gilbert, SEA
SP Alek Manoah, TOR
SP Shane McClanahan, TB
SP Frankie Montas, OAK
SP Martin Perez, TEX
RP Emmanuel Class, CLE
RP Clay Holmes, NYY
RP Jorge Lopez, BAL
RP Gregory Soto, DET
-Assuming the “legend” pick of Cabrera does not fulfill the Detroit Tigers representative slot, closer Gregory Soto could be an All-Star for the second year in a row. Starters Frankie Montas (OAK) and Martin Perez (TEX) and reliever Jorge Lopez (BAL) are also our only picks for their respective teams, though Paul Blackburn could also be the pick for the Athletics.
–Logan Gilbert (No. 14 in 2018) and Alek Manoah (No. 11 in 2019) are both living up to their first-round pedigree as two of the most promising young aces in the game.
-Who would have guessed it would be Nestor Cortes and Clay Holmes as the most deserving All-Star pitchers for the New York Yankees and not Gerrit Cole and Aroldis Chapman?
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Byron Buxton (David Berding / Getty Images)
Notable Projected AL Snubs
C Jonah Heim, TEX
1B Anthony Rizzo, NYY
2B Gleyber Torres, NYY
SS Carlos Correa, MIN
SS Jeremy Pena, HOU
OF Byron Buxton, MIN
OF Austin Hays, BAL
OF Taylor Ward, LAA
DH JD Martinez, BOS
SP Gerrit Cole, NYY
SP Framber Valdez, HOU
RP Ryne Stanek, HOU
-A few pitchers always wind up ineligible to pitch after making their final start too close to the All-Star break, so expect Framber Valdez to find his way onto the roster eventually. He was by far the toughest omission on the AL staff.
-Rookie shortstop Jeremy Pena also has a good chance of earning a replacement spot with AL manager Dusty Baker getting a chance to watch him on an everyday basis. The more established Xander Bogaerts is more likely to snag a reserve spot right off the bat, though.
-It was a tough call between former teammates Jose Trevino (109 OPS +, 12 XBH, 2.2 WAR) and Jonah Heim (125 OPS +, 21 XBH, 1.7 WAR) for the backup catcher spot, and it’s not out of the question that both could find their way onto the roster.
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George Springer and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Cole Burston / Getty Images)
BAL (1): RP Jorge Lopez
BOS (2): 3B Rafael Devers, SS Xander Bogaerts
CWS (2): SS Tim Anderson, SP Dylan Cease
CLE (3): 2B Andres Gimenez, 3B Jose Ramirez, RP Emmanuel Clase
DET (2): RP Gregory Soto, DH Miguel Cabrera
HOU (4): 2B Jose Altuve, OF Kyle Tucker, DH Yordan Alvarez, SP Justin Verlander
KC (1): OF Andrew Benintendi
LAA (2): OF Mike Trout, DH Shohei Ohtani
MIN (1): IF Luis Arraez
NYY (5): C Jose Trevino, OF Aaron Judge, OF Giancarlo Stanton, SP Nestor Cortes, RP Clay Holmes
OAK (1): SP Frankie Montas
SEA (3): 1B Ty France, OF Julio Rodriguez, SP Logan Gilbert
TB (1): SP Shane McClanahan
TEX (1): SP Martin Perez
TOR (4): C Alejandro Kirk, 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr., OF George Springer, SP Alek Manoah
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Ronald Acuna Jr. (Jeff Robinson / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
NL Starting Lineup
1. CF Ronald Acuna Jr., ATL
2. SS Trea Turner, LAD
3. 1B Paul Goldschmidt, STL
4. 3B Manny Machado, SD
5. DH Bryce Harper, PHI (injured)
6. RF Mookie Betts, LAD
7. C Willson Contreras, CHC
8. LF Joc Pederson, SF
9. 2B Jazz Chisholm Jr., MIA
SP Sandy Alcantara, MIA
-There is one big decision to be made in the NL starting lineup, and that’s who will replace the injured Bryce Harper (thumb) as the starting designated hitter. Assuming there is no obligation to go with someone who was a DH on the ballot to fill that spot, first basemen Pete Alonso and Freddie Freeman would seem to be the most obvious candidates.
-The starting pitcher nod should go to Sandy Alcantara (17 GS, 9-3, 1.82 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 107 K, 123.1 IP) for his more impressive workload, but don’t sleep on Los Angeles Dodgers breakout star Tony Gonsolin ( 16 GS, 11-0, 1.62 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 80 K, 88.2 IP) since LA manager Dave Roberts is the one making the call.
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Josh Bell (Mitchell Layton / Getty Images)
NL Reservations (Position Players)
C Will Smith, LAD
1B Pete Alonso, NYM
1B Josh Bell, WAS
1B Freddie Freeman, LAD
2B Jeff McNeil, NYM
3B Nolan Arenado, STL
3B Austin Riley, ATL
SS Dansby Swanson, ATL
IF Brandon Drury, CIN
OF Starling Mars, NYM
OF Bryan Reynolds, PIT
OF Kyle Schwarber, PHI (injury replacement)
DH Albert Pujols, STL-commissioner’s pick
-We mentioned the decision to be made on who replaces Harper in the starting lineup, but there’s also a choice to be made to fill his spot on the roster. Giving the slot to his teammate and NL home run leader Kyle Schwarber feels fitting.
-Infielder Brandon Drury (CIN) and outfielder Bryan Reynolds (PIT) are the lone representatives for their teams, though both have put together All-Star-caliber seasons separate from those requirements. If closer David Bednar is the pick for the Pirates, it would free up a spot in the NL outfield for the Mets ’Brandon Nimmo.
-Third baseman Austin Riley was snubbed from the All-Star team last year despite an .826 OPS with 14 home runs and 42 RBI at the break, and he’s in a tight spot again this year with Manny Machado and Nolan Arenado also options at third base. However, Braves manager Brian Snitker picking the final reserves for the NL squad should help his chances.
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Max Fried (Justin Casterline / Getty Images)
NL Reservations (Pitchers)
SP Corbin Burnes, MIL
SP Max Fried, ATL
SP Zac Gallen, ARI
SP Tony Gonsolin, LAD
SP Joe Musgrove, SD
SP Carlos Rodon, SF
SP Julio Urias, LAD
SP Zack Wheeler, PHI
RP Daniel Bard, COL
RP Edwin Diaz, NYM
RP Josh Hader, MIL
-Starter Zac Gallen (ARI) and closer Daniel Bard (COL) are the only picks for their respective teams, and the D-backs pick was the toughest of any team to nail down. Second baseman Ketel Mars is also a viable candidate, and that would open the door for one of a number of other deserving NL starting pitchers.
-Left-hander Max Fried has 13 quality starts in his last 15 outings, and he has not only pitched his way onto the All-Star Game roster but also into the NL Cy Young conversation with a 1.35 ERA in his last four starts.
-The trio of Fried, Gallen and Bard would be joined by Tony Gonsolin, Joe Musgrove and Julio Urias as first-time All-Stars on this projected NL staff. Closer Josh Hader has the most All-Star appearances of anyone in the group with three in the last four years.
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Tommy Edman (Rich Graessle / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Notable Projected NL Snubs
C Tyler Stephenson, CIN
1B CJ Cron, COL
2B / SS Tommy Edman, STL
OF Ian Happ, CHC
OF Brandon Nimmo, NYM
OF Juan Soto, WAS
DH William Contreras, ATL
SP Miles Mikolas, STL
SP Aaron Nola, PHI
SP Kyle Wright, ATL
RP Ryan Helsley, STL
RP AJ Minter, ATL
–Tommy Edman is one of only four position players with at least 4.0 WAR, but much of its value has come from his defense, and that is often the type of player who winds up snubbed when All-Star rosters are released. Just ask zero-time All-Star Andrelton Simmons.
-Slugger CJ Cron has a 136 OPS + with 20 home runs and 65 RBI, but he faces a steep uphill battle with Paul Goldschmidt, Pete Alonso, Freddie Freeman and Josh Bell also in the mix among NL first basemen.
-Non-closer relievers often get overlooked, which is why AJ Minter (39 G, 17 HLD, 1.75 ERA, 12.0 K / 9) and Ryan Helsley (27 G, 5 HLD, 0.77 ERA, 13.6 K / 9) find themselves on the projected snub list despite stellar numbers.
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Trea Turner and Mookie Betts (G River / Getty Images)
ARI (1): SP Zac Gallen
ATL (4): 3B Austin Riley, SS Dansby Swanson, OF Ronald Acuna Jr., SP Max Fried
CHC (1): C Willson Contreras
CIN (1): IF Brandon Drury
COL (1): RP Daniel Bard
LAD (6): C Will Smith, 1B Freddie Freeman, SS Trea Turner, OF Mookie Betts, SP Tony Gonsolin, SP Julio Urias
MIA (2): 2B Jazz Chisholm Jr., SP Sandy Alcantara
MIL (2): SP Corbin Burnes, RP Josh Hader
NYM (4): 1B Pete Alonso, 2B Jeff McNeil, OF Starling Mars, RP Edwin Diaz
PHI (3): OF Kyle Schwarber (injury replacement), DH Bryce Harper (injured), SP Zack Wheeler
PIT (1): OF Bryan Reynolds
SD (2): 3B Manny Machado, SP Joe Musgrove
SF (2): OF Joc Pederson, SP Carlos Rodon
STL (3): 1B Paul Goldschmidt, 3B Nolan Arenado, DH Albert Pujols
WAS (1): 1B Josh Bell
All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and accurate through Tuesday’s games.