Luis Robert Jr. goes yard as White Sox strike first against Angels
Other contenders: Luis Robert Jr., Alex Verdugo, Masataka Yoshida, Leody Taveras, Julio Rodríguez, Jarred Kelenic, Austin Hays, Anthony Santander, Daulton Varsho, George Springer, Kyle Tucker, Luke Raley
Álvarez and Judge are both hurt, which likely opens the door here. And, man, there still are a ton of possibilities. Trout, Arozarena and Judge were the leading vote-getters as of the most recent balloting update, and all three — if healthy — would have probably been bound for the game regardless, despite a drop-off from the typical Troutian stat line (he’s still hitting 31% better than league average).
Robert needs to be in. He has been arguably both the best offensive and defensive outfielder in the American League this year. Rodríguez would be fun to see as the ebullient hometown star, though his numbers are making it difficult to justify. García leads all AL outfielders with 19 homers and has knocked in nine more runs than any outfielder in either league this season. If Devers doesn’t end up an All-Star, that opens the door for either Verdugo (.302/.374/.471) or Yoshida (.297/.371/.465) to assume the honor. Even if Devers does get in, Verdugo’s production is worthy of consideration.
In a nightmare season for the Cardinals, Goldschmidt continues doing his usual thing. He’s hitting 33% better than league average. Alonso, too, is still lifting off for his scuffling squad. His 24 homers comprise nearly a quarter of the Mets’ home run total on the year, though he has not looked quite the same since coming off the injured list with a bone bruise in his wrist. Walker (136 OPS+) and Wade (138 OPS+) are hitting even better than those two, and they’re doing it in ways that are pointing their surprising franchises toward postseason play. And while other rookies are understandably getting the headlines in Cincinnati, Steer’s contributions (12 homers, .852 OPS) shouldn’t go overlooked.
Arraez’s pursuit of .400 might be the coolest story in baseball this year. The fact that he’s doing this at a time when basically every pitcher throws in the high-90s with the most wicked stuff this game has ever seen, all while playing for a new team and lifting the Marlins toward contention, is all just completely ridiculous and should be grounds for an auto-bid to the All-Star Game. Of course, that might not matter, considering he could end up voted in as the starter anyway.
As of the latest update, it’s a tight race with Albies, who has had his own nice story this year while bouncing back from a litany of injuries. Albies leads all NL second basemen with 18 homers, though his offensive production trails that of Arráez (.936 OPS) and Marte (.895), who has been arguably the best hitter in baseball this month. Marte is slashing .329/.452/.635 with more walks (18) than strikeouts (15) in June, playing his part in keeping the upstart D-backs atop the NL West.
Remember when people were worried about Soto? Behind Acuña and Carroll, Soto and his teammate Tatís have clearly been the best hitters among NL outfielders this year. Soto’s .421 on-base percentage trails only Arráez (.447) for the highest mark in the league, while Tatís has been on fire lately with 12 doubles and six homers in June. Yelich is enjoying a productive bounce-back season and has easily been the best hitter in Milwaukee’s subpar lineup.
If Thomson wants to get one of his guys in, Castellanos (127 wRC+) and Marsh (124 wRC+) both have cases. Also keep an eye on Thomas, who might be the best hitter you haven’t heard about this year. He has a .998 OPS this month in Washington and is hitting 39% better than league average on the season.