All-Star Game 2013: Fresh Faces That Flourished Under Pressure

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All-Star Game 2013: Fresh Faces That Flourished Under Pressure
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The 2013 All-Star Game was an exciting event highlighted by great pitching from both the American League and the National League, but it was the AL that pulled out the 3-0 victory over the NL and secured home-field advantage for the World Series.

While plenty of stars shined Tuesday night, there were several fresh faces that flourished under the pressure of the entire league watching.

All of the following names showed they have what it takes to be true stars in MLB.

 

Matt Harvey, SP, New York Mets

Elsa/Getty Images

Despite plunking Robinson Cano with a sizzling fastball, Matt Harvey settled in and impressed.

Not only was Harvey starting for the National League All-Star team, but the fact that the New York Mets' ace was also doing it in front of his home crowd at Citi Field only added to the pressure on his shoulders.

With two successful innings pitched—allowing one hit and striking out three of the AL’s best hitters—the composure that Harvey showed on the national stage indicates that the Mets have found their star of the future.

Harvey already has looked great this season for New York (7-2 record with a 2.35 ERA and 147 strikeouts), but the way he handled himself in the build to the All-Star Game and during the event itself indicates he is the kind of player that an organization can build its franchise around.

Expect huge things from Harvey moving forward.

 

Jason Kipnis, 2B, Cleveland Indians

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Cleveland Indians have been slowly grooming second baseman Jason Kipnis into a star since drafting him in 2009, but his full potential was exposed to the general baseball audience with his lone appearance at the plate Tuesday.

Kipnis replaced Dustin Pedroia at second base and hit a beautiful ground-rule double that scored Salvador Perez and gave the American League the definitive 3-0 lead. With a complete lack of power shown in the game by the big names, Kipnis’ double made a huge impression on the fans.

The hope now is that the second baseman will be able to maintain the torrid pace (.301 batting average, 57 RBI, 53 runs, 21 stolen bases and 13 home runs) he was working on before the break with the newfound focus on his game from the casual fans.

 

Chris Sale, SP, Chicago White Sox

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Chicago White Sox have been desperate to find the All-Star-caliber starting pitcher to hitch the franchise on, and it is clear from his performance this season and in Tuesday’s winning effort that Chris Sale is the long-term answer to the team’s problems.

Sale was awarded the victory after pitching two innings and striking out two batters without giving up a walk or a hit. The White Sox star looked composed against some of the top hitters in the National League, and that confidence was a great sign for Chicago fans.

The fourth-year player has really blossomed into the ace the franchise needed over the last two seasons. While his win-loss record doesn’t look great—currently 6-8 this year—his 2.85 ERA and 131 strikeouts have him on pace for another excellent statistical chapter in his young career.

 

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