Way-Too-Early MLB All-Star Game 2022 Roster Picks

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistMay 4, 2022

Way-Too-Early MLB All-Star Game 2022 Roster Picks

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    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    It's never too early to start talking 2022 MLB All-Star Game rosters.

    We are now a little over a month into the new season, and while there's still a long way to go until the All-Star Game is played on July 19 at Dodger Stadium, we can start debating who deserves a spot at the Midsummer Classic now.

    Using the 32-player roster format that was implemented in 2018, we assembled our American League and National League teams based solely on 2022 performance. Voting trends and popularity did not factor into these decisions. 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.

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

AL Starting Lineup

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    Mike Trout
    Mike TroutQuinn Harris/Getty Images

    Starting Lineup

    1. CF Byron Buxton, MIN
    2. 3B Jose Ramirez, CLE
    3. LF Mike Trout, LAA
    4. 1B Anthony Rizzo, NYY
    5. DH Yordan Alvarez, HOU
    6. RF Taylor Ward, LAA
    7. SS J.P. Crawford, SEA
    8. 2B Andres Gimenez, CLE
    9. C Sean Murphy, OAK
    SP Logan Gilbert, SEA



    -Second base is extremely weak in the American League right now with guys like Marcus Semien, Brandon Lowe, Jorge Polanco and Jose Altuve all off to slow starts. That opens the door for Andres Gimenez, who is hitting .346 with a 173 OPS+ while leading all AL second basemen with 1.0 WAR in 19 games.

    -With so many teams employing evenly split platoons at catcher in the early going, picking a starter might have been the most difficult choice. Last year's AL Gold Glove winner Sean Murphy has a 114 OPS+ with 12 extra-base hits and 14 RBI, though he's hitting just .202 with a .253 on-base percentage.

    -There are four shortstops with a legitimate case for a spot on the roster, but J.P. Crawford is the clear choice to start thanks to a .375/.469/.625 line and a staggering 2.0 WAR in 23 games.

AL Reserves (Position Players)

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    Tim Anderson
    Tim AndersonIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    AL Reserves (Hitters)

    C Tom Murphy, SEA
    1B Ty France, SEA
    1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr., TOR
    SS Tim Anderson, CWS
    SS Xander Bogaerts, BOS
    SS Wander Franco, TB
    IF Owen Miller, CLE
    OF Andrew Benintendi, KC
    OF Aaron Judge, NYY
    OF Steven Kwan, CLE
    OF George Springer, TOR



    -Xander Bogaerts, Tim Anderson and Wander Franco all earn a reserve spot, giving the AL four shortstops on the roster. A glaring lack of options at second base and third base opens the door for all of them to make the team, though at least one of them would likely wind up playing elsewhere in the actual game.

    -Along with Franco, Tom Murphy, Ty FranceOwen MillerAndrew Benintendi and Steven Kwan would also all be first-time All-Stars if they find their way onto the AL roster.

    -It will be interesting to see how things play out for the starting spots in the AL outfield with three high-profile players in Mike Trout, Byron Buxton and Aaron Judge fighting to hold off exciting up-and-comers like Taylor Ward and Steven Kwan.

AL Reserves (Pitchers)

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    Joe Ryan
    Joe RyanDavid Durochik/Getty Images

    AL Reserves (Pitchers)

    SP Nestor Cortes, NYY
    SP Kevin Gausman, TOR
    SP Alek Manoah, TOR
    SP Joe Ryan, MIN
    SP Tarik Skubal, DET
    SP Justin Verlander, HOU
    SP Michael Wacha, BOS
    SP Bruce Zimmermann, BAL
    RP Brock Burke, TEX
    RP Aroldis Chapman, NYY
    RP Jordan Romano, TOR



    -Three spots here are taken up by players who are their team's only representative. Detroit starter Tarik Skubal (4 GS, 20.2 IP, 3.05 ERA, 20/3 K/BB), Baltimore starter Bruce Zimmermann (4 GS, 19.1 IP, 0.93 ERA, 21/6 K/BB) and Texas reliever Brock Burke (7 G, 11.2 IP, 2.31 ERA, 20/3 K/BB) were all added to fulfill roster requirements.

    -The Toronto Blue Jays have never had three pitchers make the All-Star team in the same year. The last time they had more than one was 2016 when Marco Estrada and Aaron Sanchez both earned a spot.

    -Armed with a fastball that averages 90.4 mph and an assortment of various offspeed junk, Nestor Cortes has managed to post a 1.31 ERA with a 28-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 20.2 innings. The 27-year-old is making roughly $35.3 million less than Gerrit Cole this year.

3 Notable AL Snubs

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    Shohei Ohtani
    Shohei OhtaniQuinn Harris/Getty Images

    SP Dylan Cease, Chicago White Sox

    After seven shutout innings of one-hit, 11-strikeout ball on Monday night, Cease has a 2.48 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 39 strikeouts in 29 innings over his first five starts. The 26-year-old was the next man up for a spot on the AL staff, which means he would likely find his way onto the roster as a replacement at some point.


    3B Yandy Diaz, Tampa Bay Rays

    Diaz has just four extra-base hits in 77 plate appearances, but he's batting .306 with a .442 on-base percentage and more walks (14) than strikeouts (6) as the primary third baseman for the Rays this year. After Joey Wendle found his way onto the AL roster last year, Diaz is a dark horse to watch who could earn a spot.


    DH/SP Shohei Ohtani, Los Angeles Angels

    It seems strange compiling an All-Star Game roster that doesn't include the most entertaining player in the sport, but Ohtani is not quite having an All-Star worthy season thus far. The reigning AL MVP is hitting .226/.280/.398 for a 101 OPS+ and has a 4.19 ERA in 19.1 innings.

AL Team-by-Team Breakdown

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    George Springer and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
    George Springer and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.Mark Blinch/Getty Images

    BAL (1): SP Bruce Zimmermann

    BOS (2): SS Xander Bogaerts, SP Michael Wacha

    CWS (1): SS Tim Anderson

    CLE (4): 2B Andres Gimenez, 3B Jose Ramirez, IF Owen Miller, OF Steven Kwan

    DET (1): SP Tarik Skubal

    HOU (2): DH Yordan Alvarez, SP Justin Verlander

    KC (1): OF Andrew Benintendi

    LAA (2): OF Mike Trout, OF Taylor Ward

    MIN (2): OF Byron Buxton, SP Joe Ryan

    NYY (4): 1B Anthony Rizzo, OF Aaron Judge, SP Nestor Cortes, RP Aroldis Chapman

    OAK (1): C Sean Murphy

    SEA (4): C Tom Murphy, 1B Ty France, SS J.P. Crawford, SP Logan Gilbert

    TB (1): SS Wander Franco

    TEX (1): RP Brock Burke

    TOR (5): 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr., OF George Springer, SP Kevin Gausman, SP Alek Manoah, RP Jordan Romano

NL Starting Lineup

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    Nolan Arenado
    Nolan ArenadoDylan Buell/Getty Images

    Starting Lineup

    1. CF Brandon Nimmo, NYM
    2. RF Seiya Suzuki, CHC
    3. LF Juan Soto, WAS
    4. 3B Nolan Arenado, STL
    5. DH Bryce Harper, PHI
    6. 1B Eric Hosmer, SD
    7. SS Francisco Lindor, NYM
    8. C Travis d'Arnaud, ATL
    9. 2B Jazz Chisholm, Jr. MIA
    SP Carlos Rodon, SF



    -With an NL-leading .141 opponents' batting average and a minuscule 1.17 ERA to go along with 38 strikeouts in 23 innings, Carlos Rodon gets the starting nod on the mound for the National League in a wide-open field of candidates. Would NL manager Dave Roberts pick a Giants pitcher to start?

    -After a disappointing first four seasons in San Diego, first baseman Eric Hosmer leads the NL with a .382 batting average and has racked up 1.3 WAR in 21 games. The 32-year-old is vying for his first All-Star selection since 2016.

    -Catcher Travis d'Arnaud, second baseman Jazz Chisholm Jr., and outfielders Brandon Nimmo and Seiya Suzuki would all be first-time All-Star selections. All three NL outfield spots appear to be up for grabs, especially if Bryce Harper is on the ballot as a DH where he has played most games this year.

NL Reserves (Position Players)

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    Manny Machado
    Manny MachadoDylan Buell/Getty Images

    NL Reserves (Hitters)

    C Tyler Stephenson, CIN
    1B Josh Bell, WAS
    1B C.J. Cron, COL
    2B Tommy Edman, STL
    2B Jeff McNeil, NYM
    3B Ke'Bryan Hayes, PIT
    3B Manny Machado, SD
    SS Willy Adames, MIL
    OF Nick Castellanos, PHI
    OF Randal Grichuk, COL
    OF Joc Pederson, SF



    -Catcher Tyler Stephenson and third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes fill the roster requirements for the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates, respectively, though both have a solid case for a spot on the roster on merit alone.

    -Who would have guessed we would be talking about Joc Pederson (55 PA, .353/.382/.745, 6 HR) and Randal Grichuk (72 PA, .338/.389/.523, 6 XBH) as the two most productive outfielders in the NL West when the season began?

    -Veteran first basemen C.J. Cron (168 OPS+, 8 HR, 21 RBI) and Josh Bell (191 OPS+, 8 XBH, 15 RBI) might not have the same level of star power, but they both have better numbers than Freddie Freeman (153 OPS+, 8 XBH, 10 RBI) and Matt Olson (139 OPS+, 11 XBH, 7 RBI).

NL Reserves (Pitchers)

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    Kyle Wright
    Kyle WrightIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    NL Reserves (Pitchers)

    SP Madison Bumgarner, ARI
    SP Corbin Burnes, MIL
    SP Clayton Kershaw, LAD
    SP Chad Kuhl, COL
    SP Pablo Lopez, MIA
    SP Miles Mikolas, STL
    SP Max Scherzer, NYM
    SP Kyle Wright, ATL
    RP Josh Hader, MIL
    RP David Robertson, CHC
    RP Taylor Rogers, SD



    -After struggling to a 5.07 ERA in 188 innings over the first two seasons of his five-year, $85 million contract, Madison Bumgarner is enjoying a terrific bounce-back performance with a 1.17 ERA in 23 innings over his first five starts. He gets the nod as the D-backs' lone representative.

    -Atlanta right-hander Kyle Wright (4 GS, 24.0 IP, 1.13 ERA, 34/6 K/BB) is the other leading candidate to start right now, but there are currently 10 qualified pitchers with a sub-2.00 ERA in the National League, so there's no shortage of viable options.

    -The biggest surprise here is undoubtedly Colorado Rockies right-hander Chad Kuhl, who signed a one-year, $3 million deal during the offseason after being non-tendered by the Pittsburgh Pirates. The 29-year-old is 3-0 with a 1.90 ERA and 0.85 WHIP in 23.2 innings over four starts.

3 Notable NL Snubs

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    Freddie Freeman
    Freddie FreemanKatelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

    1B Freddie Freeman, Los Angeles Dodgers

    Freeman signing with the Dodgers was one of the biggest storylines of the offseason, and he's off to a terrific start in Dodger blue with a .309/.387/.481 line that includes five doubles, three home runs and 10 RBI. This is simply a case of Eric Hosmer, Josh Bell and C.J. Cron all having better numbers among NL first basemen.


    RP Ryan Helsley, St. Louis Cardinals

    The hard-throwing Helsley has faced 26 batters this season, allowing just one hit and zero walks while racking up 16 strikeouts. It's always difficult for non-closer relievers to find a spot on All-Star Game rosters, and he's only thrown 8.1 innings, but he's one to watch as the season unfolds.


    SP Eric Lauer, Milwaukee Brewers

    Lauer has a 1.93 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in 23.1 innings, but it's his strikeout rate that sets him apart from a long list of other starting pitching snubs. His 34 punchouts give him a 13.1 K/9 strikeout rate, which represents a huge spike from the 8.9 K/9 he logged last year.

    Other starting pitches worthy of a mention include Merrill Kelly, Tylor Megill, Joe Musgrove, Walker Buehler, Chris Bassitt and Max Fried.

NL Team-by-Team Breakdown

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    Jeff McNeil and Francisco Lindor
    Jeff McNeil and Francisco LindorElsa/Getty Images

    ARI (1): SP Madison Bumgarner

    ATL (2): C Travis d'Arnaud, SP Kyle Wright

    CHC (2): OF Seiya Suzuki, RP David Robertson

    CIN (1): C Tyler Stephenson

    COL (3): 1B C.J. Cron, OF Randal Grichuk, SP Chad Kuhl

    LAD (1): SP Clayton Kershaw

    MIA (2): 2B Jazz Chisholm Jr., SP Pablo Lopez

    MIL (3): SS Willy Adames, SP Corbin Burnes, RP Josh Hader

    NYM (4): 2B Jeff McNeil, SS Francisco Lindor, OF Brandon Nimmo, SP Max Scherzer

    PHI (2): OF Nick Castellanos, DH Bryce Harper

    PIT (1): 3B Ke'Bryan Hayes

    SD (3): 1B Eric Hosmer, 3B Manny Machado, RP Taylor Rogers

    SF (2): OF Joc Pederson, SP Carlos Rodon

    STL (3): 2B Tommy Edman, 3B Nolan Arenado, SP Miles Mikolas

    WAS (2): 1B Josh Bell, OF Juan Soto


    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and accurate through Monday's games.