Players Who Changed Teams Who'll Be All-Stars in 2013
Of the more than 100 players who switched teams this winter via free agency or trade, only a handful will find themselves seriously considered for a spot at the All-Star Game, held this season at Citi Field in New York
None of the names on this list are going to shock you, for when it comes to prognosticating about perspective members of an All-Star team in baseball, it's hard to go wrong by picking the most popular players.
After all, the starters aren't really chosen on the merit of the season that they are having, but on name recognition.
Just like high school, it's all one big popularity contest.
Which players in a new city are going to be at the head of the 2013 All-Star class?
Let's take a look.
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Career All-Star Games: One (2012)
Career All-Star Stats: Allowed a hit, struck out a batter and hit a batter in one inning.
Without question, R.A. Dickey is going to fall short of equaling his National League Cy Young Award-winning 2012 season, otherwise known as the greatest season a knuckleball pitcher has ever had.
But he won't be far off the mark.
Over the past three years, Dickey has owned American League batters in Inter-League action. In 10 starts, Dickey has gone 7-0 with a 1.77 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and a strikeout per inning.
Granted, American League batters are going to see him far more frequently—and teams will scout him far more than they have in the past—and both factors will result in less impressive numbers.
But by the time the All-Star break comes, don't be surprised if Dickey finds himself in the middle of the mid-season Cy Young Award debate.
Career All-Star Games: Five (2008-2012)
Career All-Star Stats: 4-for-13 with one RBI, one stolen base and a strikeout
The last time Josh Hamilton appeared at an All-Star Game in New York, he put on quite a show.
While venues have changed on both ends—the 2013 All Star Game will be held at Citi Field, not the old Yankee Stadium (may it rest in peace), while Hamilton plays for the Los Angeles Angels, not the Texas Rangers—Hamilton remains one of the premier players in all of baseball.
Hitting cleanup in an Angels lineup where the three batters ahead of him have a combined career on-base percentage of .387—and with two of those batters being the electric Mike Trout and the Hall of Fame-bound Albert Pujols—Hamilton is going to come to the plate with runners on more often than not.
Could he flirt with 100 RBI at the All-Star break as he did back in 2008, when he had 95?
Injury, really, is the only thing standing between Josh Hamilton and his sixth consecutive All-Star appearance.
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Career All-Star Games: Four (2006-07, 2010-11)
Career All-Star Stats: 3-for-4 with a double, stolen base and run scored
Jose Reyes has been elected to four All-Star Games but participated in only one, his second appearance in 2007, missing the other three with an assortment of injuries.
A healthy Reyes, playing in the American League with the Toronto Blue Jays, will participate as a member of the American League's All-Star Team in 2013.
The National League's batting champion in 2011, Reyes, 29, finds himself as the table-setter on what looks to be an incredibly dangerous and deep Toronto lineup.
While New York's Derek Jeter remains the overwhelming favorite to be voted in as the starter, Reyes has a large following in both New York and Miami. With the numbers he'll put up in Toronto, he'll give Jeter a fight for the top spot in the voting.
Despite Cleveland's Asdrubal Cabrera and Texas' Elvis Andrus both being equally deserving of a spot on the All-Star team, Reyes will edge one of them out for a reserve spot.
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Career All-Star Games: One (2010)
Career All-Star Stats: One inning of perfect relief
When you enter into a discussion about the best closers in baseball, Rafael Soriano is often an afterthought and rightfully so, spending only three of his 11 major league seasons in the role.
Yet in relief of the injured Mariano Rivera for the New York Yankees in 2012, Soriano proved that when given the opportunity, he belongs in the discussion, pitching to a 2.26 ERA and 1.17 WHIP while converting 42-of-46 save opportunities.
With the Nationals playing teams like the Colorado Rockies, Miami Marlins, New York Mets and San Diego Padres fairly often over the first half of the season, Soriano will have a chance to prove that he belongs in the conversation once again.
If you consider that the National League All-Star team is going to wind up with between four and five closers on it, and that only two, Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel and Philadelphia's Jonathan Papelbon are sure things to be selected, the door is open for Soriano to play his way into a roster spot.
Career All-Star Games: Two (2009, 2011)
Career All-Star Stats: No hits in four at-bats
Sibling rivalry is a powerful motivator.
For most of us, it becomes less and less as we get older, largely due to the fact that we no longer live in the same house as our siblings and have different professions.
For B.J. and Justin Upton, who now comprise two-thirds of the starting outfield in Atlanta, it's growing up all over again.
As Justin alludes to in the interview (video clip above), he and his brother are going to push each other now that they find themselves on the same team, and it's that extra push that will land the younger Upton brother in his third All-Star Game for the National League.
Of course, hitting in the middle of a deep, talented Braves lineup certainly helps, and if we look at Justin's career, it parallels that of former Kansas City Royals ace Bret Saberhagen, alternating outstanding seasons with so-so ones.
He's due for a good year, regardless of everything else.
Just entering the prime years of his career, look for 2013 to be the start of a string of All-Star selections for the 25-year-old left fielder.