2021 MLB All-Star Game Roster Picks 1 Month Out

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJune 18, 2021

2021 MLB All-Star Game Roster Picks 1 Month Out

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    Who's ready to talk MLB All-Star Game rosters?

    On May 8, I published my "Way-Too-Early MLB All-Star Game Picks." A lot has changed since then, so it's time for an updated look at where things stand less than a month out from this year's Midsummer Classic.

    Using the 32-player roster format that was implemented in 2018, we assembled our American League and National League teams based solely on 2021 performances. Voting trends are referenced in the article, but did not factor into the selections. We simply picked the 32 players who are most deserving while sticking to the rule of including at least one player from every team.

    For consistency, each roster was made up of 20 position players and 12 pitchers, with at least one backup for each position.

    We also highlighted the biggest projected snubs from each league, since the players who don't get selected are often a bigger story than the ones who do.

    Off we go!

American League Starting Lineup

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    Shohei Ohtani
    Shohei OhtaniRick Scuteri/Associated Press

    1. 2B Marcus Semien, TOR
    2. DH Shohei Ohtani, LAA
    3. 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr., TOR
    4. RF Aaron Judge, NYY
    5. 3B Jose Ramirez, CLE
    6. SS Xander Bogaerts, BOS
    7. LF Kyle Tucker, HOU
    8. C Salvador Perez, KC
    9. CF Cedric Mullins, BAL
    SP Lance Lynn

             

    The first round of voting results mirrors our picks of Salvador Perez, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Marcus Semien, Xander BogaertsAaron Judge and Shohei Ohtani for a starting spot in the American League lineup. All six of those players are having fantastic seasons that should assure them a spot on the AL roster, even if the fan voting changes course in the coming weeks.

    Outfielders Mike Trout and Byron Buxton are both on pace to earn a starting spot, despite missing significant time to injury, and if they are unable to play that will open up two spots to fill based on merit.

    Speedy center fielder Cedric Mullins is hitting .320/.391/.522 with an AL-leading 81 hits, 30 extra-base hits and 12 steals for a rebuilding Baltimore Orioles team, and he's an easy choice to fill one of the outfield spots.

    The other goes to Houston Astros rising star Kyle Tucker. The 24-year-old has a 127 OPS+ with 30 extra-base hits and 43 RBI in 64 games, and he has also provided significant value defensively with terrific metrics (7 DRS, 9.0 UZR/150) in right field.

    The toughest decision here was third base, where Cleveland star Jose Ramirez (140 OPS+, 15 HR, 41 RBI) narrowly edges out Rafael Devers and Yoan Moncada for the starting gig. More on those two in a bit.

    Veteran Lance Lynn gets the start on the mound with an AL-leading 1.51 ERA in 71.2 innings in his first season with the Chicago White Sox. The 34-year-old earned one other All-Star selection back in 2012 in his first full season in the majors.

American League Reserves (Position Players)

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    Matt Olson
    Matt OlsonDavid Zalubowski/Associated Press

    C Yasmani Grandal, CWS
    1B Yuli Gurriel, HOU
    1B Matt Olson, OAK
    2B Jose Altuve, HOU
    3B Rafael Devers, BOS
    3B Yoan Moncada, CWS
    SS Carlos Correa, HOU
    y-OF Michael Brantley, HOU
    x-OF Byron Buxton, MIN
    y-OF Mark Canha, OAK
    OF Mitch Haniger, SEA
    x-OF Mike Trout, LAA
    DH J.D. Martinez, BOS

    x=injured; y=injury replacement

               

    Despite an ugly .152 batting average, Yasmani Grandal gets a spot in a thin field of AL catchers thanks to an AL-leading 53 walks and a .387 on-base percentage. He only has 21 hits10 of which are home runsyet he has still managed to post a 119 OPS+ on the year.

    The corner infield spots are loaded, with Matt Olson (175 OPS+, .378 OBP, 18 HR) and Yuli Gurriel (150 OPS+, .317 BA, 27 XBH) at first base and Rafael Devers (145 OPS+, 20 2B, 16 HR) and Yoan Moncada (129 OPS+, .402 OBP, 2.5 WAR) at third base all easy picks for a spot among the AL reserves.

    The Houston Astros middle infield tandem of Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa rounds out the reserve infielders, and they are joined by sweet-swinging teammate Michael Brantley. The glut of corner infielders made for several snubs at the middle infield spots, including Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Bo Bichette, but it's hard to exclude Correa who has a 146 OPS+ with 28 extra-base hits and 3.2 WAR.

    Mitch Haniger is the lone representative for the Seattle Mariners, but a deserving one with a 131 OPS+ and 15 doubles, 16 home runs and 40 RBI.

    The injured duo of Mike Trout and Byron Buxton deserves All-Star recognition for their red-hot start to the year, but they'll likely need to be replaced on the roster. One of those spots goes to the aforementioned Brantley, while the other belongs to Mark Canha, who sports a .374 on-base percentage with 51 runs scored serving as the leadoff hitter in Oakland.

    There are several worthy designated hitters, but J.D. Martinez stands out from the pack with a .309/.370/.545 line that includes 17 doubles, 13 home runs and 41 RBI.

American League Reserves (Pitchers)

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    Gerrit Cole
    Gerrit ColeJim Mone/Associated Press

    SP Chris Bassitt, OAK
    y-SP Jose Berrios, MIN
    x-SP Shane Bieber, CLE
    SP Gerrit Cole, NYY
    SP Kyle Gibson, TEX
    x-SP Tyler Glasnow, TB
    SP Sean Manaea, OAK
    SP John Means, BAL
    SP Casey Mize, DET
    SP Carlos Rodon, CWS
    y-RP Diego Castillo, TB
    RP Aroldis Chapman, NYY
    RP Emmanuel Clase, CLE
    RP Liam Hendriks, CWS

    x=injured; y=injury replacement

              

    The no-brainers among AL starters are Gerrit Cole (2.31 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 89.2 IP), Kyle Gibson (2.09 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 77.2 IP) and Carlos Rodon (1.89 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 66.2 IP). Teammates Chris Bassitt (3.43 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 86.2 IP) and Sean Manaea (2.99 ERA, 2 SHO, 81.1 IP) are on the fringe of that conversation as well.

    Orioles ace John Means has begun a throwing program and should return to action in time to solidify his spot on the AL roster. The left-hander has a 2.28 ERA and AL-best 0.83 WHIP in 71 innings and he threw a no-hitter earlier this year.

    However, Tyler Glasnow (partially torn UCL) and Shane Bieber (shoulder strain) are unlikely to be ready in time, so they were recognized here and then replaced on the roster.

    Replacing Glasnow with teammate Diego Castillo assures that the first-place Rays have a representative who can actually take the field, while Jose Berrios does the same for the Twins whose only other representative would be an injured Byron Buxton. With a 3.49 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 81 strikeouts in 77.1 innings, Berrios is more than deserving.

    Someone has to make it from the Tigers, so rookie Casey Mize (3.49 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 77.1 IP) is the pick over an injured Spencer Turnbull.

    Aroldis Chapman has struck out 45 of the 100 batters he has faced this year with 14 saves and a 1.78 ERA, Emmanuel Clase has 11 saves and a 0.94 ERA with 32 strikeouts in 28.2 innings anchoring the Cleveland bullpen, and Liam Hendriks has rebounded from a rocky start to nail down 18 of 21 save chances with a 2.15 ERA and a 46-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 29.1 innings.

Biggest Projected AL Snubs

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    Isiah Kiner-Falefa
    Isiah Kiner-FalefaAlex Gallardo/Associated Press

    Biggest Projected AL Snubs

    1. SS Isiah Kiner-Falefa, TEX
    2. 1B Jared Walsh, LAA
    3. SS Bo Bichette, TOR
    4. 3B Joey Wendle, TB
    5. SP Aaron Civale, CLE
    6. OF Adolis Garcia, TEX
    7. SP Robbie Ray, TOR
    8. DH Yordan Alvarez, HOU
    9. 1B Trey Mancini, BAL
    10. DH Nelson Cruz, MIN
    11. RP Scott Barlow, KC
    12. DH Austin Meadows, TB
    13. RP Matt Barnes, BOS
    14. RP James Karinchak, CLE
    15. SP Luis Garcia, HOU

American League Team-by-Team Breakdown

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    Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa
    Jose Altuve and Carlos CorreaGregory Bull/Associated Press

    BAL (2): CF Cedric Mullins, SP John Means

    BOS (3): 3B Rafael Devers, SS Xander Bogaerts, DH J.D. Martinez

    CWS (5): C Yasmani Grandal, 3B Yoan Moncada, SP Lance Lynn, SP Carlos Rodon, RP Liam Hendriks

    CLE (3): 3B Jose Ramirez, RP Emmanuel Clase, x-SP Shane Bieber

    DET (1): SP Casey Mize

    HOU (5): 1B Yuli Gurriel, 2B Jose Altuve, SS Carlos Correa, OF Kyle Tucker, y-OF Michael Brantley

    KC (1): C Salvador Perez

    LAA (2): DH/SP Shohei Ohtani, x-OF Mike Trout

    MIN (2): y-SP Jose Berrios, x-OF Byron Buxton

    NYY (3): OF Aaron Judge, SP Gerrit Cole, RP Aroldis Chapman

    OAK (4): 1B Matt Olson, SP Chris Bassitt, SP Sean Manaea, y-OF Mark Canha

    SEA (1): OF Mitch Haniger

    TB (2): x-SP Tyler Glasnow, y-RP Diego Castillo

    TEX (1): SP Kyle Gibson

    TOR (2): 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 2B Marcus Semien

National League Starting Lineup

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    Ronald Acuna Jr.
    Ronald Acuna Jr.John Bazemore/Associated Press

    1. CF Ronald Acuna Jr., ATL
    2. DH Juan Soto, WAS
    3. SS Fernando Tatis Jr., SD
    4. RF Nick Castellanos, CIN
    5. 1B Max Muncy, LAD
    6. 3B Kris Bryant, CHC
    7. LF Jesse Winker, CIN
    8. C Buster Posey, SF
    9. 2B Adam Frazier, PIT
    SP Jacob deGrom, NYM

              

    I'm in agreement with the early voting returns that show Buster Posey, Max Muncy, Fernando Tatis Jr., Kris Bryant, Ronald Acuna Jr., Nick Castellanos and Jesse Winker on track to start for the National League side.

    From that group, Posey, Muncy, Tatis Jr., Bryant, Acuna Jr. and Castellanos all have significant voting leads, and rightfully so, as they would all likely finish in the top 10 in NL MVP voting if the season ended today.

    That leaves just second base worth a deeper dive, along with the designated hitter and starting pitcher spots which will be chosen by NL manager Dave Roberts.

    The current voting leader at second base is Ozzie Albies, and while he's having a solid season, there are multiple players at that position who are more deserving.

    Adam Frazier sits atop that list. He's not receiving much national attention playing for a last-place Pittsburgh Pirates team, but he's hitting .324/.386/.458 with 85 hits in 66 games and an NL-leading 23 doubles.

    There are a handful of players worthy of filling the DH spot, but the opportunity to slot Juan Soto in between Acuna and Tatis Jr. at the top of the NL batting order is too good to pass up. With a 134 OPS+ and more walks (40) than strikeouts (35), he is more than deserving of his first All-Star nod.

    The only real question is whether Jacob deGrom will be healthy and rested to make the start on the mound. If he's not, Brandon Woodruff and Kevin Gausman are next in line.

National League Reserves (Position Players)

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    Brandon Crawford
    Brandon CrawfordJeff Chiu/Associated Press

    C Carson Kelly, ARI
    1B Anthony Rizzo, CHC
    2B Jean Segura, PHI
    2B/3B Ryan McMahon, COL
    3B Austin Riley, ATL
    3B Justin Turner, LAD
    SS Brandon Crawford, SF
    SS Trea Turner, WAS
    IF/OF Chris Taylor, LAD
    OF Mookie Betts, LAD
    OF Tyler O'Neill, STL

            

    There are a handful of catchers who are probably more deserving than Carson Kelly (139 OPS+, 14 XBH), given the fact that he has missed some time to injury this year, but the Arizona Diamondbacks need a representative, and he's one of the only worthy candidates.

    First base is going to be a point of contention with three-time All-Star Anthony Rizzo (127 OPS+, 23 XBH, 1.6 WAR) edging out NL RBI leader Jesus Aguilar (125 OPS+, 49 RBI, 1.2 WAR, as well as Freddie Freeman, Pete Alonso and Rhys Hoskins. At second base, Jean Segura has put together a strong case for his third career All-Star selection.

    The left side of the infield is crowded. Brandon Crawford (139 OPS+, 15 HR, 44 RBI) and Trea Turner (130 OPS+, 22 XBH, 13 SB) are both worthy of spots at shortstop, while Austin Riley (132 OPS+, 12 HR, 31 RBI) and Justin Turner (137 OPS+, 12 HR, 34 RBI) stand out at the hot corner.

    It's a bummer the host Colorado Rockies don't have more All-Star worthy talent, but Ryan McMahon (115 OPS+, 16 HR, 43 RBI) is their only pick. Unless Austin Gomber finds his way onto the pitching staff, there are really no other viable candidates.

    There's still a good chance Mookie Betts will wind up in the starting lineup, as he was in fourth in the fan voting by a narrow margin. His offensive numbers have not been up to his usual standards, but he still ranks seventh in the NL with 2.8 WAR.

    The versatile Chris Taylor is having a career year with a .385 on-base percentage and 50 runs scored, and he's likely to be rewarded with a spot by manager Dave Roberts. That could mean the final NL outfield spot comes down to NL Central rising stars Tyler O'Neill (162 OPS+, 15 HR, 2.3 WAR) and Bryan Reynolds (148 OPS+, 29 XBH, 2.6 WAR), with O'Neill holding a slight edge.

National League Reserves (Pitchers)

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    Brandon Woodruff
    Brandon WoodruffAaron Gash/Associated Press

    SP Trevor Bauer, LAD
    SP Walker Buehler, LAD
    SP Corbin Burnes, MIL
    SP Kevin Gausman, SF
    SP Trevor Rogers, MIA
    SP Max Scherzer, WAS
    SP Zack Wheeler, PHI
    SP Brandon Woodruff, MIL
    RP Josh Hader, MIL
    RP Craig Kimbrel, CHC
    RP Alex Reyes, STL

             

    Jacob deGrom was forced to leave his most recent start with shoulder soreness, and if he's not able to make the start, Brandon Woodruff (1.52 ERA, 0.72 WHIP, 83.0 IP) and Kevin Gausman (1.43 ERA, 0.78 WHIP, 81.2 IP) are the leading candidates to take his place.

    Not far behind, fellow NL East aces Zack Wheeler (2.15 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 96.1 IP) and Max Scherzer (2.21 ERA, 0.81 WHIP, 77.1 IP) also appear to be a shoo-in for a spot on the NL staff, and the same goes for Woodruff's teammate Corbin Burnes (2.27 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 63.1 IP) despite the fact that he has missed some time.

    The Marlins need a representative, and NL Rookie of the Year front-runner Trevor Rogers (1.98 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 81.2 IP) is an easy pick. The 23-year-old southpaw is living up to being the No. 13 overall pick in the 2017 draft.

    The Dodgers have four starters with a case for a spot on the team. Walker Buehler (2.38 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 83.1 IP) and Trevor Bauer (2.64 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 88.2 IP) get the nod, but it will be worth keeping an eye on how their rotation lines up heading into the break.

    The NL staff could easily consist of 12 starters, with a number of worthy candidates left off this projected roster, but there are also several relievers putting up stellar numbers.

    Josh Hader has converted all 17 of his save chances with a 0.65 ERA and 15.6 K/9, Alex Reyes has pitched around 29 walks in 33 innings to post a 0.82 ERA with 17 saves of his own, and Craig Kimbrel has returned to elite form for the North Siders with 18 saves in 20 chances and a 0.66 ERA, 0.70 WHIP and 14.8 K/9.

Biggest Projected NL Snubs

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    Bryan Reynolds
    Bryan ReynoldsGene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    Biggest Projected NL Snubs

    1. OF Bryan Reynolds, PIT
    2. SP Freddy Peralta, MIL
    3. SP Yu Darvish, SD
    4. SP Joe Musgrove, SD
    5. SP Taijuan Walker, NYM
    6. 3B Nolan Arenado, STL
    7. RP Tejay Antone, CIN
    8. SP Marcus Stroman, NYM
    9. SP Clayton Kershaw, LAD
    10. RP Mark Melancon, SD
    11. SP Julio Urias, LAD
    12. 1B Jesus Aguilar, MIA
    13. RP Tyler Rogers, SF
    14. SP Sandy Alcantara, MIA
    15. SP Anthony DeSclafani, SF

National League Team-by-Team Breakdown

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    Mookie Betts and Justin Turner
    Mookie Betts and Justin TurnerMark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    ARI (1): C Carson Kelly

    ATL (2): 3B Austin Riley, OF Ronald Acuna Jr.

    CHC (3): 1B Anthony Rizzo, 3B Kris Bryant, RP Craig Kimbrel

    CIN (2): OF Nick Castellanos, OF Jesse Winker

    COL (1): 2B/3B Ryan McMahon

    LAD (6): 1B Max Muncy, 3B Justin Turner, IF/OF Chris Taylor, OF Mookie Betts, SP Trevor Bauer, SP Walker Buehler,

    MIA (1): SP Trevor Rogers

    MIL (3): SP Corbin Burnes, SP Brandon Woodruff, RP Josh Hader

    NYM (1): SP Jacob deGrom

    PHI (2): 2B Jean Segura, SP Zack Wheeler

    PIT (1): 2B Adam Frazier

    SD (1): SS Fernando Tatis Jr.

    SF (3): C Buster Posey, SS Brandon Crawford, SP Kevin Gausman

    STL (2): OF Tyler O'Neill, RP Alex Reyes

    WAS (3): SS Trea Turner, OF Juan Soto, SP Max Scherzer

                 

    Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs and accurate through Wednesday's games.

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