Way-Too-Early MLB All-Star Game 2022 Roster PicksMay 4, 2022
Way-Too-Early MLB All-Star Game 2022 Roster Picks
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
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)
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 France, Owen Miller, Andrew 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)
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
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
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
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)
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)
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
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
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.