There will be at least 30 players at Citi Field on July 16 who will be represented at the MLB All-Star Game for the first time in their careers, but only a few of them are definitely going to be back for many years to come.
John Schlegel of MLB.com recently wrote an insightful story about players going to the All-Star Game for the first time, regardless of how old or how many years they’ve played, and the emotions of it. Here’s what Pirates closer Jason Grilli, an 11-year veteran, had to say about his first selection to the Midsummer Classic:
I’m not here for the personal accolade, but it does reflect what you have put in to help the club win. The reaction I got from my teammates—the support and the hugs—probably had me choked up the most. I’m fighting back a lump in my throat right now.
While getting selected just once to represent the American or National League is a major accomplishment in itself, multiple selections are even more impressive. Yankees closer Mariano Rivera was just named to the 13th All-Star Game roster of his historic career. David Ortiz is headed to his ninth Midsummer Classic.
Which first-time All-Star in 2013 has the potential to join the greats who have been selected to several Midsummer Classics throughout their careers? Here are three players headed to New York for July 16 who are bound to be back for more in the coming years.
Complete American League Roster (via MLB.com)
|Chris Davis||First Baseman||BAL|
|Robinson Cano||Second Baseman||NYY|
|Miguel Cabrera||Third Baseman||DET|
|David Ortiz||Designated Hitter||BOS|
|Prince Fielder||First Baseman||DET|
|Jason Kipnis||Second Baseman||CLE|
|Dustin Pedroia||Second Baseman||BOS|
|Ben Zobrist||Second Baseman||TB|
|Manny Machado||Third Baseman||BAL|
|Edwin Encarnacion||Designated Hitter||TOR|
|* Injured; @ Injury replacement|
Complete National League Roster (via MLB.com)
|Joey Votto||First Baseman||CIN|
|Brandon Phillips||Second Baseman||CIN|
|David Wright||Third Baseman||NYM|
|Paul Goldschmidt||First Baseman||ARZ|
|Allen Craig||First Baseman||STL|
|Matt Carpenter||Second Baseman||STL|
|Marco Scutaro||Second Baseman||SF|
|Pedro Alvarez||Third Baseman||PIT|
Matt Harvey, New York Mets
New York fans are hoping that NL manager Bruce Bochy selects Matt Harvey as the starter for the All-Star Game. He’d definitely be a deserving choice. The young right-hander is 7-2 in 18 starts for the Mets this season, posting a 2.27 ERA in 123 innings of work. He also has 141 strikeouts and just 27 walks on the year.
Harvey is just behind Adam Wainwright for the NL lead in WAR for starting pitchers, according to FanGraphs. Even still, it will be tough for Bochy to not go with the hometown hero as the game’s starting pitcher. But even if Bochy spurns the New York faithful, Harvey is sure to start at least one Midsummer Classic in his career.
The Mets have a bright future ahead, and it’s primarily because of a strong young pitching core. Harvey has already flourished in the big leagues, and Zack Wheeler is sure to be a star someday too.
Harvey has made making the All-Star Game look like a cakewalk this year. Don’t expect 2013 to be his last.
Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles
Manny Machado has quickly emerged into one of the great young players in the game. He’s having a fantastic year and should absolutely be on manager Jim Leyland’s roster, even though he’s not a starter. This kid can rake, as he’s currently flaunting a .312/.341/.471 slash line with six homers, 42 RBI and 53 runs.
While Machado can also make any play from the hot corner—see his play against the Yankees on Sunday—his ability to hit doubles is most impressive. The 21-year-old has already hit 39 doubles this year, which leads the league. If he continues to hit like he has been, he could break Earl Webb’s record for most doubles in a single season (67).
There were several top third baseman in the running for a spot on the AL squad this season, but Machado earned one of the two spots—Miguel Cabrera being the other. That means he beat out the likes of Evan Longoria, Adrian Beltre and Josh Donaldson.
You’re crazy if you don’t think he’s capable of doing it in 2014 and beyond as well.
Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks
Paul Goldschmidt might not be starting at first base for the NL, but you could easily make the case that he should be. He and Joey Votto have battled for the top spot on the NL first basemen WAR leaderboard all year long. At the moment, Goldschmidt holds a slight lead over the 2010 NL MVP, according to FanGraphs.
Through 87 games, the Diamondbacks slugger is hitting .308/.388/.564 with 21 home runs and 74 RBI. Votto holds a slight edge over Goldschmidt in hits, runs and on-base percentage. That’s about it. Goldschmidt has rushed into the conversation as the best first baseman in the NL, which is quite the title for a 25-year-old.
But even though Goldschmidt didn’t get enough love from the fans, it’s still important that he was selected. Goldschmidt has become one of the top players in baseball this season and it’s unlikely that he’s going to slow down anytime soon. In fact, he's only going to get better.
There are many—I repeat, many—All-Star Games in this kid’s future.