Every year, a new generation of stars takes the MLB by storm. Last year, Jose Bautista came out of nowhere to make his first appearance in an All-Star game.
Now, he is a frontrunner for the AL MVP.
This year, a new group of players is trying to leave an indelible mark on their teams. These players have a realistic shot of being an All-Star for the first time in their careers.
Kyle Lohse has come out of nowhere to dominate the mound for the Cardinals this season. He will almost be making the first All-Star appearance of his long career.
Lohse has won six games and has a 2.06 ERA and 0.90 WHIP.
When Jay Bruce first entered the big leagues, his performance did not match the hype. This year, it appears he is putting all his talent together.
With 14 home runs and 39 RBI so far this season, Bruce has become one of the most feared hitters in the NL and will almost certainly appear in the summer classic.
The Cleveland Indians were not a good team last year. Asdrubal Cabrera's emergence as a top shortstop in baseball has moved the Indians into a small group of baseball's very best teams.
Cabrera is putting up solid numbers across the board with a .303-10-35 line, in addition to seven steals and solid play on defense.
The latest Mariners phenom starting pitcher is taking less time to adjust to big league play than his predecessor Felix Hernandez.
Pineda might make the All-Star game in his rookie season because of his utter domination of AL hitters. Pineda's filthy stuff has struck out more than one batter per inning. Hitters haven't caught on yet and Pineda might soon make a run at Hernandez as ace of the staff.
Joyce might be more of a dark horse candidate than other players on this list. He has put together a remarkable season very quietly in Tampa Bay.
Joyce leads the league in batting average at .374, and has hit eight home runs and 27 RBI.
While Russell Martin has likely been the best catcher in the AL so far this season, Alex Avila is not far behind.
With a .285 average, eight home runs and 28 RBI, Avila is a threat at the plate. He also has two steals to boot, a rarity for a catcher.
Joel Hanrahan used to be the closer for a team that barely won—the Washington Nationals. Moving to the Pirates, one might expect little to change.
Yet Hanrahan has saved 14 games this season with good ratios for a Pittsburgh team that is only two games under .500.
Rickie Weeks has been around for so long, ordinary fans might be surprised to learn he has never appeared in an All-Star game.
Weeks appears to have overcome his injuries and inconsistent play this season in scoring 36 runs, hitting nine home runs and stealing six bases.
Like Weeks, Shields has been around for long enough people would expect him to have been chosen an All-Star. He has had success pitching to the most dangerous division in baseball the past few years.
This year, Shields is having his best year yet, striking out 81 batters in 83 2/3 innings of work with an ERA of 2.15.
Boston Red Sox players make an inordinate amount of appearances in All-Star games because the team's fans vote a ton.
If Ellsbury doesn't make it off the fan vote, his statistics paint the picture of an All-Star as well. With an AL-leading 18 SBs and a .300 average, Ellsbury is one of the best leadoff hitters in the game.
He is not completely without power either, hitting six home runs and accumulating 27 RBI, an absurdly high number for a leadoff hitter.
Alexi Ogando has given the Texas Rangers a piece they have been missing for years on end—an ace.
Ogando has an ERA of 1.81 and a 0.87 WHIP. He has been virtually unhittable in mowing batters down all season long.
Andrew McCutchen is another player whose star is rising. He is one of the top power-speed threats in the game.
He has put his skills on display this season by hitting nine home runs and stealing nine bases. McCutchen will have to overcome his low batting average (.255) to get in the game, but his spectacular fielding and the excitement he brings to a game should give him an edge in the NL.
Craig Kimbrel is another new closer on the scene who is proving his worth. At age 23, Kimbrel has established himself as the Braves closer.
He has saved 14 games and leads the league in games finished with 22. He also has struck out 38 batters in 26 innings, dominating hitters that face him.