Let’s be honest: Every hitter in the MLB All-Star Game is capable of a huge performance. No one made it to the Midsummer Classic without having already proven that time and again this season.
But every hitter is going to be facing some tremendous pitching in the game, and there’s a reason the American League and National League haven’t combined for more than eight runs in any of the last five All-Star Games.
For any player to put on an offensive show on Tuesday night, it’s going to take some truly elite skills at the dish.
Fortunately for fans looking for some offense, both lineups feature a few of those players, each capable of tearing up any hurler the opposition throws at him. Matt Harvey and Max Scherzer are phenomenal pitchers, but don’t expect either to make it through their outing unscathed.
Let’s take a look at the starting lineups for each team and highlight two players from each starting lineup poised for a massive performance on Tuesday night.
*Image courtesy of MLB Instagram.
Miguel Cabrera, 3B (AL)
Miguel Cabrera needs to introduction, but I’ll give him one anyway.
The Detroit Tigers third baseman and reigning Triple Crown winner hasn’t disappointed this season, hitting an incredible .365 with 30 home runs and 95 RBI through 93 games. The icing on the cake? He also boasts an on-base percentage of .458 and has walked nearly as many times as he’s struck out (60-64).
Forget the debate about whether Cabrera is the best right-handed hitter in baseball—he’s the best hitter in baseball.
But here’s the best part: Cabrera boasts a .350 batting average with 21 home runs and 70 RBI against right-handers this year. And, oh yeah, he’ll be facing one to start the game Tuesday night.
Harvey isn’t going to make life easy on Cabrera, but the hulking third baseman has no problem making hitting look all too easy. Expect the 30-year-old to continue his incredible season with another impressive performance on Tuesday, recording at least one extra-base hit with Harvey on the bump.
Chris Davis, 1B (AL)
Out of the frying pan and into the fire.
Even if Harvey gets through Cabrera without a problem, he’ll be forced to pitch to arguably the only player in the American League starting lineup with even more pop.
Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis is on an historic home run-hitting tear this season, having already popped 37 before the All-Star break. Tack on 93 RBI and a .315 batting average (.345 against righties) and you have a hitter Harvey isn’t going to want to face.
Davis didn’t put that power on display in the Home Run Derby Monday night (12 homers), but what he’s done against live pitching this season isn’t even fair. On the biggest stage of his career, there’s no way Davis doesn’t find the outfield bleachers at least once in this game.
David Wright, 3B (NL)
The National League features some bigger bats than David Wright, but the New York Mets third baseman is playing in front of his home crowd, and he certainly has the offensive prowess to put together a quality performance at the dish.
Which player on this list is most likely to win the All-Star Game MVP award?
The 30-year-old is a fan favorite who will have the home crowd on his side. Is that a thin argument for predicting his All-Star Game performance? Perhaps.
But consider this: Wright is hitting .304 with 13 home runs and 44 RBI this season on a team ranked 28th in batting average and 19th in runs scored. He hasn’t exactly been getting a lot of help from the rest of New York’s lineup.
Wright plays the game the right way, and he’s a guy fans love to watch night in and night out.
Stats don’t tell the whole story, and on Tuesday night, Wright is going to prove he’s capable of a monster performance well beyond his slightly above-average numbers this season.
Bryce Harper, CF (NL)
Two seasons, two All-Star appearances. Bryce Harper is going to do some big things in his big league career.
Harper got the nod to compete in his first Home Run Derby Monday night, and he decided to bring his dad along to pitch to him and enjoy the festivities. The Washington Nationals slugger didn’t win the Derby, but he came pretty close.
Harper juiced 24 pitches over the outfield fence Monday to finish second to Oakland Athletics phenom Yoenis Cespedes, his longest coming in at an estimated 471 feet. Say what you will about his pedestrian .264 batting average this season, but the kid knows how to hit the long ball.
At 20 years old, it would be easy for Harper to get caught up in just being selected as an All-Star Game starter. But as he proved Monday night, the lights aren’t too bright to keep him from standing out from the crowd.
Hitting in the nine-hole, Harper is likely to see some decent pitches from Scherzer and the rest of the American League pitching staff. If he sees one he likes, well, he’ll know what to do with it.