SEATTLE — Will it be the Year of the Newbie at the 2023 MLB All-Star Game?
There are 33 — yes, 33 — first-time All-Stars on the rosters of Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic at T-Mobile Park.
While a few are sure to be on baseball fans’ radars — particularly if they play for their favorite team or one of its rivals — more than a few faces might be unfamiliar.
Here’s a look at some of the most notable first-timers — and how they might rock the All-Star Game.
The number that got him here: He’s the first rookie in MLB history with 15 home runs and 25 stolen bases before the All-Star break.
How he’s most likely to steal the show tonight: By hitting a home run and stealing a base. Or stealing three. He’s that good and that fast.
The quote: “It’s a great accomplishment. I’m super proud of it. Being in the stadium and hometown I grew up in is very special. The support I have here in Seattle is so cool.” — Carroll
The number that got him here: Jung is the first rookie primary third baseman with at least 15 home runs and 50 RBIs before the All-Star break since Evan Longoria in 2008.
How he’s most likely to steal the show tonight: With a diving stop at third base. Jung is one of only eight third basemen in the majors with positive defensive runs saved.
The quote: “That’s some pretty big shoes to fill. Being here is cool, but I have a long time to make up for what he was doing.” — Jung on carrying the All-Star torch for former Ranger Adrian Beltre at third base
The ‘old’ rookie
The number that got him here: Cano had the longest scoreless innings streak to begin a season by an Orioles reliever (21⅔) during the Expansion Era (since 1961). The 29-year-old’s 1.48 ERA is also the lowest first-half ERA from an Orioles rookie with at least 40 innings pitched in franchise history.
How he’s most likely to steal the show tonight: If he allows even one baserunner it’ll be a surprise, as Cano has thrown the most innings (42⅔) with the lowest WHIP (0.89) of any reliever in the game.
The quote: “It’s the biggest thing to ever happen to me in baseball. Starting out the year in Triple-A and then being here, it’s incredible.” — Cano
The star finally getting his due
The number that got him here: A lot of votes. Arozarena’s stats are good, but his popularity got him here, via the fan voting. The star of Tampa Bay’s 2020 World Series run finished in the top three among outfielders — along with injured former MVPs Aaron Judge and Mike Trout — putting him in the game.
How he’s most likely to steal the show tonight: Take your pick. Jumping into the stands for a selfie while making a diving catch, hitting a game-winning home run or stealing one at the fence. Arozarena might do them all.
The quote: “If I were a betting man, I’d say he’s going to win the MVP. I know he’s going to fold his arms and do his pose at some point.” — Rays teammate and fellow All-Star Wander Franco
The breakout bats
Adolis Garcia, Texas Rangers
The number that got him here: García leads MLB in RBIs (75) and outfield assists (10). The only other players to lead MLB in RBIs and outfield assists at the All-Star break? Manny Ramirez in 2005 and Chuck Klein in 1933.
How he’s most likely to steal the show tonight: By throwing out a runner at home plate.
The quote: “Adolis is a great card player. We play a game called Casino. He’s probably the best one in our locker room for sure. Oh, and he’s the best hitter. — Rangers teammate and fellow All-Star Jonah Heim
Jonah Heim, Texas Rangers
The number that got him here: Heim has the most RBIs by a Rangers primary catcher before the All-Star break since Ivan Rodríguez in 2000.
How he’s most likely to steal the show tonight: If he throws out a runner attempting to steal. That hasn’t happened in an All-Star Game since Lance Berkman got caught in 2011.
The quote: “He’s such a hard worker. He stays after games and hits on the field. His work ethic is unmatched. But he’s only pretty good at pingpong and his card playing is OK. He’s always in a good mood, though.” — Rangers teammate and fellow All-Star Josh Jung
The number that got him here: Rooker leads the A’s in home runs (16). He’s one of only two Oakland players to hit at least 10 in the first half (Shane Langeliers is the other).
How he’s most likely to steal the show tonight: If he’s traded midgame. Rooker has switched teams three times since the beginning of last season, yet here he is as the lone All-Star from the A’s.
The quote: “As a 27-year-old, spending most of last season at Triple-A, this seemed like a far reach, but here I am. The All-Star Game didn’t cross my mind until last Sunday when they told me I was in it.” — Rooker
The breakout arms
The number that got him here: Diaz is tied for the MLB lead (26) in saves. Of the three closers he’s tied with, he has the fewest blown saves (one).
How he’s most likely to steal the show tonight: If, when he runs in from the bullpen, Timmy Trumpet breaks out Narco from the warning track in an ode to brother Edwin, the New York Mets closer who’s out for the season after getting hurt during the World Baseball Classic. Well, maybe not …
The quote: “He told me if you put in this hard work, you’ll be able to get there. He was excited and happy for me. But I’m not going to have Timmy Trumpet play. I’m going to play my song.” — Diaz on his brother Edwin
The number that got him here: Doval is tied for the MLB lead in saves with 26.
How he’s most likely to steal the show tonight: He’ll make headlines if he nails a couple of hitters, as he ranks in the top five among relievers in hitting batters with pitches.
The quote: “I took advantage of the opportunities given to me. My teammates enjoy seeing me play. I really enjoy the game. It’s a dream come true. I will never forget it.” — Doval
The number that got him here: He has the lowest ERA among Tigers starters, outside of Eduardo Rodriguez, who was injured when selections were made.
How he’s most likely to steal the show tonight: When Lorenzen, a former quasi two-way player, is pressed into service as a pinch hitter, winning the game at the plate and pitching the final inning.
The quote: “There’s a little bit of, do I deserve to be here? Probably not, to be honest, but I’m going to enjoy it. No one can take it from me.” — Lorenzen
The number that got him here: The NL starter trails Clayton Kershaw by 0.01 points (2.56 to 2.55) for the league lead in ERA at the break.
How he’s most likely to steal the show tonight: When, after making his All-Star debut, he pivots with the media, talking about his beloved New Orleans Saints. Steele might like them more than pitching. If not, it’s close.
The quote: “I’ve done a lot of reflecting. Being here is so special. I guess I started thinking about [the All-Star Game] when it popped up on social media. And meeting Clayton Kershaw is very cool. I grew up idolizing him. To share a locker room with him is just awesome.” — Steele