One of the biggest stories during MLB All-Star weekend every year is the list of players making their first career All-Star Game appearance.
Whether it's an up-and-coming name making his first of many trips, a player in his prime enjoying a breakout season or a veteran finally getting some long-overdue recognition, first-time All-Stars come in all shapes and sizes.
There were a staggering 37 first-time All-Stars in 2022, including Alejandro Kirk (TOR) and Jazz Chisholm Jr. (MIA) who were voted in as starters by the fans.
How many newcomers to the Midsummer Classic will we see this year?
Ahead, we've highlighted the 15 players most likely to be first-time picks this year, based on production, the depth of candidates at their position, and other viable candidates on their own roster who could claim a spot.
Let's start with some honorable mentions.
- RP Félix Bautista, BAL
- SP Alex Cobb, SF
- RP Camilo Doval, SF
- SP Bryce Elder, ATL
- RP Carlos Estévez, LAA
- SP Josiah Gray, WAS
- SP George Kirby, SEA
- RP Alex Lange, DET
If the All-Star Game were tomorrow, Alex Cobb and Bryce Elder would almost certainly be part of the NL roster. That said, both have some regression red flags, with Cobb walking five batters in 3.1 innings last time out and Elder sporting a 1.35 WHIP in his last three starts, so it's less certain they will still be in that position a month from now.
- OF Corbin Carroll, ARI
- C Elias Díaz, COL
- 2B Thairo Estrada, SF
- SS Wander Franco, TB
- C Jonah Heim, TEX
- 2B Nico Hoerner, CHC
- OF Jarred Kelenic, SEA
- OF Josh Lowe, TB
- OF Brandon Nimmo, NYM
- C Adley Rutschman, BAL
- OF Alex Verdugo, BOS
- OF Masataka Yoshida, BOS
There is little doubt Wander Franco and Corbin Carroll will make multiple Midsummer Classic appearances in the coming years. However, both rising stars have fallen off a bit of late. Franco has seen his OPS drop from .909 in April to .711 in May, while Carroll is batting .196 in his last 15 games. That's enough to wonder if they might have to wait at least one more year.
OF Randy Arozarena, Tampa Bay Rays
- Stats: 205 PA, 170 OPS+ .308/.405/.552, 19 XBH (11 HR), 37 RBI, 2.0 WAR
With all due respect to Wander Franco, Shane McClanahan and the many other standout players on the Tampa Bay Rays roster this season, Randy Arozarena is the face of the franchise right now.
A postseason hero in 2020, the AL Rookie of the Year in 2021, a 20-homer, 32-steal standout last season and a World Baseball Classic standout in March, the 28-year-old has quickly developed into one of the best all-around outfielders in the sport.
An uptick in his walk rate from 7.1 to 11.7 percent has helped him take his offensive game to another level, and Arozarena deserves to be part of the American League's starting lineup at this year's All-Star Game.