MLB Predictions: 13 Potential First-Time All-Stars

Collin BerglundCorrespondent IIIMay 30, 2011

MLB Predictions: 13 Potential First-Time All-Stars

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    CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 19:  Jay Bruce #32 of the Cincinnati Reds hits one of his two home runs during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park on May 19, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    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 (SP St. Louis Cardinals)

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    ST. LOUIS, MO - MAY 18: Starter Kyle Lohse #26 of the St.Louis Cardinals pitches against the Houston Astros at Busch Stadium on May 18, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    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.

Jay Bruce (OF Cincinnati Reds)

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 26: Jay Bruce #32 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a two run home run during the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on May 26, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies won 10-4. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/
    Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

    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.

Asdrubal Cabrera (SS Cleveland Indians)

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 16:  Asdrubal Cabrera #13 of the Cleveland Indians in action during the game against the Kansas City Royals on May 16, 2011 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    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.

Michael Pineda (SP Seattle Mariners)

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    SEATTLE - MAY 04:  Starting pitcher Michael Pineda #36 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Texas Rangers at Safeco Field on May 4, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    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.

Matt Joyce (OF Tampa Bay Rays)

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    MIAMI GARDENS, FL - MAY 21: Matt Joyce #20 of the Tampa Bay Rays makes a catch during a game against the Florida Marlins at Sun Life Stadium on May 21, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    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.

Alex Avila (C Detroit Tigers)

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    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 11: Ben Revere #11 of the Minnesota Twins slides safely into home plate as Alex Avila #13 of the Detroit Tigers defends during in the eighth inning of their game on May 11, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Tigers defea
    Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    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 (RP Pittsburgh Pirates)

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    PITTSBURGH - MAY 25:  Joel Hanrahan #52 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the game on May 25, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    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 (2B Milwaukee Brewers)

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    HOUSTON - APRIL 30: Second baseman Rickie Weeks #23 of the Milwaukee Brewers makes a leaping throw to first base against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on April 30, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    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.

James Shields (SP Tampa Bay Rays)

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    BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 06:  James Shields #33 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 6, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
    Greg Fiume/Getty Images

    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.

Jacoby Ellsbury (OF Boston Red Sox)

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    NEW YORK, NY - MAY 14:  Jacoby Ellsbury #2 of the Boston Red Sox bats against the New York Yankees on May 14, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    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 (SP Texas Rangers)

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    DETROIT, MI - APRIL 11:  Alexi Ogando #41 of the Texas Rangers throws a pitch while playing the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on April 11, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    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 (OF Pittsburgh Pirates)

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    DENVER, CO - MAY 01:  Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates takes an at bat against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on May 1, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Pirates defeated the Rockies 8-4.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    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 (RP Atlanta Braves)

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    PITTSBURGH - MAY 25:  Craig Kimbrel #46 of the Atlanta Braves pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game on May 25, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    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.