Future MLB All-Stars: National League
What do Michael Bourn, Marlon Byrd, Matt Capps, Andre Ethier, Yovani Gallardo, Jason Heyward, Omar Infante, Ubaldo Jimenez, Hong-Chih Kuo, Brian McCann, Evan Meek, Brandon Phillips, Martin Prado, Arthur Rhodes, Troy Tulowitzki, Joey Votto, Adam Wainwright and Chris Young all have in common?
They were all named to their first All-Star Game in 2010, representing about half of the National League roster last summer.
With so many young players making a significant impact, let's make a few predictions on guys who could become regulars on the National League All-Star roster but have yet to make a team for the Midsummer Classic.
Buster Posey: SF
Posey was named as the NL Rookie of the Year for a couple reasons. He held a .305 average and mashed 18 home runs while hitting in the middle of the order for the World Champs.
More importantly, Posey was able to hit the ground running as far as working with one of the best pitching staffs in the Majors. San Francisco's rotation and bullpen were key pieces to their championship run and their catcher was obviously a crucial part of the team's success.
Ike Davis: NYM
Davis had a productive rookie season in a park made for pitchers. He finished second to David Wright on the team in most major offensive categories, including a .351 OBP. His ability to stay on the field was also important for a team that had many players spend significant time on the disabled list.
His progression will be exciting to watch as the Mets look to become a younger team in years to come.
Rickie Weeks: MIL
While talent and ability have never been questions with Weeks, durability has. Weeks has only played more than 100 games three times during his six full seasons in the pros, but last year he played in a career-high 160.
In 2010, he hit 29 home runs and drove in 83 runs while batting in the lead-off spot. The League has noticed and Weeks will be on All-Star teams in the near future.
Starlin Castro: CHC
Starlin has the talent to become one of the best shortstops of this era. He will need to improve with the glove and that will come with time. He has shown that he can hit at the Major League level as he put up a .300 average at just 20 years old.
Castro should be able to become a consistent 15-20 home run threat for the Cubs as he grows and progresses.
Pedro Alvarez: PIT
After a slow start in the Bigs, Alvarez turned it on and finished with a great month as the NL's best rookie in September. His strong finish is a sign of things to come as Pittsburgh's best young power hitter becomes a regular at the Midsummer Classic.
The most important thing for the team to do is work with him at the hot corner, as he is more valuable there than at first base. In 2011, Alvarez will also have to work on his plate discipline in order to reduce his strikeouts.
Carlos Gonzalez: COL
CarGo has shown the ability to play each spot in the outfield but we'll mention him in left for this article. Gonzalez was the main reason the Rockies were able to stay in the playoff hunt for as long as they did in 2010 and his performance placed him in the heart of the NL MVP discussions.
Gonzalez does not have an All-Star appearance to his name, but he did earn the following recognitions in 2010: NL Silver Slugger, NL Gold Glove, MLB Players' Choice NL Outstanding Player, MLB Players' Choice Player of the Year, and MLB.com Breakout Player of the Year.
Gonzalez is quickly becoming one of the game's elite.
Andrew McCutchen: PIT
McCutchen has been a great player since being called up in 2009. He brought life to the Pirates' lineup and stability to their outfield.
McCutchen will be a key part to the team as they look to move out of the cellar and build a winner over the next couple of years.
Mike Stanton: FLA
With the departure of Dan Uggla, Mike Stanton will have increased responsibility in the Marlins lineup. Stanton could move up to the clean-up spot which would be a good fit for his power hitting skills. As a rookie, he hit 22 home runs while driving in 59 in only 359 at-bats.
Stanton's home run swing will get him noticed and nominated to the All-Star game soon after the Marlins move to their new ballpark in 2012.
Clayton Kershaw: LAD
The Dodgers have found their ace. Kershaw has progressed throughout his young career to shoulder the load in his third year, pitching in 204.1 innings in 2010. His ERA has been under 3.00 each of the last two seasons to go along with a favorable strikeout to walk ratio.
Kershaw will have a good shot at making the All-Star Game for many years to come.
Stephen Strasburg was in the running for this nomination but injuries have limited his potential for now.
Drew Storen: WAS
The Nats have a strong, young bullpen and the best piece is Drew Storen. He has all of the makings to become a great closer in this league and could hold that spot for Washington in 2011.
If Stephen Strasburg is able to make a full recovery from Tommy John surgery, he and Storen could form the next great pitching duo for a long time.