There are 77 players on the American and National League All-Star Teams combined this season, and 39 of them will be part of the showcase at Citi Field for the very first time. That is an astounding number, and it certainly seems to suggest that a new era of baseball is suddenly upon us.
It's no secret that young players have been coming up to the Major Leagues and dominating over the past couple of years, but the fact that there are so many first-time All-Stars is great for the league, because it means that it is in good hands moving forward.
Many first timers will have a big impact on this game, but a few are sure to shine brighter than the rest. Here are three players who will make their All-Star Game debut on Tuesday night and leave their mark on All-Star history in the process.
While 27-year-old Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis isn't as young as many of the players who are making their first All-Star Game appearance, he is an All-Star rookie nonetheless. Davis has shown flashes of brilliance at the MLB level in the past, but he could never put it all together. That has clearly changed this year, though, as he has been the driving force behind Baltimore's excellent start to the season.
Davis' numbers truly speak for themselves, and it is no wonder that he is locked in a tight AL MVP race with Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera. Davis is currently hitting .315 with a Major League-leading 37 home runs and 93 RBI. In fact, Davis is on pace to hit 62 home runs, which would eclipse the old record of 61 set by New York Yankees slugger Roger Maris in 1961. Maris' mark has since been passed by Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds, but Davis views 61 as the legitimate record due to performance enhancing drug allegations against the three men who broke it, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.
That entire point of view is obviously arguable, but there is no denying that Davis is on pace to have a season for the ages. Things have finally clicked for Davis, and he seems to have found a perfect situation in Baltimore. Citi Field is tough on home run hitters, but Davis has a way of making big ballparks look like bandboxes, so a "Crush" Davis could very well be in the cards on Tuesday.
Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Max Scherzer's road to the MLB All-Star Game has been a long and winding one considering how highly touted he was when he came up to the Major Leagues with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2008, but there is no question that he has earned his spot. Consistency has long been an issue for Scherzer, however, he has found a measure of it this year, and he is being rewarded with an All-Star start, according to SportsCenter.
Max Scherzer of the Tigers will get the starting nod for the AL in the All-Star Game.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 15, 2013
Some might argue that Scherzer is only starting because Tigers manager Jim Leyland is managing the AL, but Scherzer deserves it. Prior to last week he hadn't lost a game, and he now carries a 13-1 record along with a 3.19 ERA and 152 strikeouts into the All-Star break. Perhaps Scherzer hasn't been as dominant as his record suggests, but he has definitely outperformed longtime ace Justin Verlander thus far.
Scherzer will have his work cut out for him at Citi Field, as he'll have to face the NL's top lineup for as many as two innings, but he can handle it. Scherzer has incredible velocity in a normal start, but he'll be able to leave it all out on the field on Tuesday, and it wouldn't be surprising to see him top triple digits on the radar gun. Scherzer has been a very good pitcher for the past few years, but fans will finally see just how good he has become in the All-Star Game.
Which of these first-time All-Stars will impress most on Tuesday night?
Like Scherzer, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez was once considered a top prospect in baseball, but after a slow start at the Major League level, he was written off by his original team. The Minnesota Twins traded him to Milwaukee, and while it took him some time to really find a comfort level, Gomez has developed into a five-tool player over the past two seasons.
Gomez made big strides last year, and he has exceeded expectations in 2013. From an offensive perspective, Gomez has been a bright spot for the struggling Brew Crew. Gomez has never hit better than .260 in a season, but he is hitting .295 currently to go along with 14 home runs, 45 RBI and 21 stolen bases. As good as all of that sounds, Gomez's biggest strength may be his defense. Gomez can get to balls that most outfielders don't even think about, as evidenced by the amount of home runs he has robbed this season, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Carlos Gomez had his 4th HR-robbery of the season for Brewers last night. No one else in MLB entered the day with more than 2.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 9, 2013
The one stat that truly tells the story when it comes to Gomez, though, is WAR. Most would probably expect Chris Davis or Miguel Cabrera to lead the league in that statistic, but Gomez sits atop the list with a WAR of 5.7. Gomez can impact a game in so many different ways that it's pretty much a given that he'll stand out on Tuesday.
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