The American League has dominated the MLB All-Star game for the better part of two decades, but the National League surged back to notch a victory in each of the last three Midsummer Classics.
This year, the National League will have the advantage of playing at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets. With World Series home-field advantage on the line, the All-Star Game won’t be just another exhibition game.
But while the All-Star Game has taken on new significance since being chosen to decide home-field advantage, it’s still an opportunity for some of the game’s biggest stars to shine a little brighter. It may not be the most competitive contest, but it’s certainly more intriguing than the NFL Pro Bowl and the NBA All-Star Game.
The Midsummer Classic boasts some terrific moments in its 83-game history, and there’s a good chance we’ll be able to add to that list this year. From heralded veterans like Mariano Rivera and David Ortiz to budding superstars like Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, this year’s edition features some serious talent capable of doing some special things on the national stage.
Let’s take a look at each team’s roster and highlight some players who are sure to shine in the 2013 MLB All-Star Game.
National League Roster
|Yadier Molina||C||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Joey Votto||1B||Cincinnati Reds|
|Brandon Phillips||2B||Cincinnati Reds|
|Troy Tulowitzki||SS||Colorado Rockies|
|David Wright||3B||New York Mets|
|Carlos Beltran||OF||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Carlos Gonzalez||OF||Colorado Rockies|
|Bryce Harper||OF||Washington Nationals|
|Madison Bumgarner||LHP||San Francisco Giants|
|Aroldis Chapman||LHP||Cincinnati Reds|
|Patrick Corbin||LHP||Arizona Diamondbacks|
|Jose Fernandez||RHP||Miami Marlins|
|Jason Grilli||RHP||Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Matt Harvey||RHP||New York Mets|
|Clayton Kershaw||LHP||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Craig Kimbrel||RHP||Atlanta Braves|
|Cliff Lee||LHP||Philadelphia Phillies|
|Jeff Locke||LHP||Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Adam Wainwright||RHP||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Travis Wood||LHP||Chicago Cubs|
|Jordan Zimmermann||RHP||Washington Nationals|
|Buster Posey||C||San Francisco Giants|
|Paul Goldschmidt||1B||Arizona Diamondbacks|
|Allen Craig||1B||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Matt Carpenter||2B||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Marco Scutaro||2B||San Francisco Giants|
|Everth Cabrera||SS||San Diego Padres|
|Jean Segura||SS||Milwaukee Brewers|
|Pedro Alvarez||3B||Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Domonic Brown||OF||Philadelphia Phillies|
|Michael Cuddyer||OF||Colorado Rockies|
|Carlos Gomez||OF||Milwaukee Brewers|
|Andrew McCutchen||OF||Pittsburgh Pirates|
American League Roster
|Joe Mauer||C||Minnesota Twins|
|Chris Davis||1B||Baltimore Orioles|
|Robinson Cano||2B||New York Yankees|
|J.J. Hardy||SS||Baltimore Orioles|
|Miguel Cabrera||3B||Detroit Tigers|
|Mike Trout||OF||Los Angeles Angels|
|Adam Jones||OF||Baltimore Orioles|
|Jose Bautista||OF||Toronto Blue Jays|
|David Ortiz||DH||Boston Red Sox|
|Clay Buchholz||RHP||Boston Red Sox|
|Brett Cecil||LHP||Toronto Blue Jays|
|Bartolo Colon||RHP||Oakland Athletics|
|Jesse Crain||RHP||Chicago White Sox|
|Yu Darvish||RHP||Texas Rangers|
|Felix Hernandez||RHP||Seattle Mariners|
|Hisashi Iwakuma||RHP||Seattle Mariners|
|Justin Masterson||RHP||Clevelans Indians|
|Joe Nathan||RHP||Texas Rangers|
|Glen Perkins||LHP||Minnesota Twins|
|Mariano Rivera||RHP||New York Yankees|
|Chris Sale||LHP||Chicago White Sox|
|Max Scherzer||RHP||Detroit Tigers|
|Justin Verlander||RHP||Detroit Tigers|
|Jason Castro||C||Houston Astros|
|Salvador Perez||C||Kansas City Royals|
|Prince Fielder||1B||Detroit Tigers|
|Jason Kipnis||2B||Cleveland Indians|
|Dustin Pedroia||2B||Boston Red Sox|
|Ben Zobrist||2B||Tampa Bay Rays|
|Jhonny Peralta||SS||Detroit Tigers|
|Manny Machado||3B||Baltimore Orioles|
|Nelson Cruz||OF||Texas Rangers|
|Alex Gordon||OF||Kansas City Royals|
|Torii Hunter||OF||Detroit Tigers|
|Edwin Encarnacion||DH||Toronto Blue Jays|
Mike Trout makes his second consecutive appearance in the All-Star game, the first of which came in the same year he earned the American League Rookie of the Year Award.
Trout doesn’t need an introduction, though. After hitting .326 with 30 home runs and 83 RBI last season, the 21-year-old phenom is on pace to come close to those same numbers this year, currently hitting .309 with 14 homers and 56 RBI—to say nothing of the tremendous work he does with the leather.
But what makes Trout so special is his poise. Everything the center fielder does looks effortless.
Trout has capitalized on every opportunity to shine in his formative MLB years, and there’s plenty of reasons to believe he’ll continue that momentum with a terrific showing in the All-Star Game.
There isn’t a better right-handed bat in all of baseball than Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera—not that there’s any question of that at this point.
The 2012 Triple Crown winner is on an absolutely torrid pace this season, batting .360 with 27 home runs and 88 RBI through 85 games. No one has been able to slow him this year, and National League pitching is going to have its work cut out in the All-Star Game.
Every player in the Midsummer Classic will be there for good reason, but none are more deserving than Cabrera. The NL squad better have a few extra arms in the bullpen—just in case.
Looking at the rosters on paper, it’s hard to imagine the National League pulling off a fourth straight victory in this year’s All-Star game.
But talent isn’t all about stats and figures. And it’s not as if the National League doesn’t have a few budding stars of its own.
Paul Goldschmidt put together a solid campaign in 2012, but he’s been absolutely terrific in 2013. In 86 games with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the first baseman is hitting .305 with 21 homers and a National League-leading 73 RBI.
Never considered an elite prospect, Goldschmidt has come to life in the last two seasons, out to prove he’s more than capable of making a major impact at the big league level. As well as he’s done that this season, don’t expect him to come up short in the All-Star game.
Starting pitchers haven’t been announced yet, but no one would be surprised if hometown favorite Matt Harvey toes the rubber to start the contest.
The “Dark Knight of Gotham,” as Sports Illustrated so aptly dubbed him, has been one of the lone bright spots in an otherwise forgettable season for the New York Mets, who, at 36-48, are currently 12.5 games out of the playoff picture right now.
But even with limited run support (New York is 20th in the league in runs scored), the 24-year-old righty has recorded seven wins this season and posted a remarkable 2.27 ERA and 0.91 WHIP to go along with 141 strikeouts in 123 innings pitched.
If Harvey does get the start, he’ll be faced with a tall task in shutting down a loaded American League lineup. But if his first-half performance is any indication, the American League should be concerned.