2022 MLB All-Star Game Rosters: Baseball America's Picks At Midseason
Every team has now played at least 81 games after Thursday, meaning we have officially reached the halfway point of the 2022 season league-wide.
There have been plenty of spectacular performances throughout the first half of the season. Aaron Judge has 30 home runs and is in position to challenge Roger Maris’ American League-record of 61 home runs in a season. Shohei Ohtani is on pace to hit 35 home runs and finish among the AL leaders in strikeouts and ERA. Yordan Alvarez has a chance to join Bryce Harper and Christian Yelich as the only players to post an 1.100 OPS in a 162-game season since 2010. The 20-something pitchers trio of Shane McClanahan, Sandy Alcantara and Tony Gonsolin all have sub-2.00 ERAs. Old standby Justin Verlander is on pace to win 20 games at the age of 39.
Trying to fit every worthy player on an all-star roster is a difficult exercise, even with rosters expanded to 32 players. Still, certain performances have been so good, they can’t be ignored.
Here are Baseball America’s picks for the 2022 All-Star Game rosters through the first half of the season as selected by national writer Kyle Glaser. While there are certainly other selections that would be more compelling—such as Shohei Ohtani starting on the mound for the AL or Clayton Kershaw and Ronald Acuña Jr. being selected for the NL roster—these rosters are chosen solely on merit, without considerations for popularity or publicity.
Every team is represented as required. All statistics are through July 7.
*signifies two-way player
Starter: Alejandro Kirk, Blue Jays
Reserve(s): Jonah Heim, Rangers
The AL catcher selections are easy and straightforward. Kirk leads all American League catchers in all three slash line categories. Heim has the most home runs of any catcher in the AL and is second only to Kirk in OPS among AL backstops. No one else is particularly close.
Starter: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays
France leads all first basemen in batting average and OPS and has a strong case to start over Guerrero, but Guerrero’s edge in power production gives him the nod. Mountcastle makes the team as the Orioles’ representative. Jose Abreu, Anthony Rizzo and Nate Lowe are all deserving but get squeezed out.
Starter: Jose Altuve, Astros
Arraez has played more first base than second base this season, but he’s a second baseman by trade and fits better on the roster at that position. He leads the majors with a .354 batting average and has a strong case to start, but Altuve gets the edge with a higher OPS (.907 to .880) and more power production (17 HR to 4 HR). Gimenez leads all second basemen outside of Arraez with a .298 batting average and is second behind Altuve with an .834 OPS, making him a slam-dunk selection. Gleyber Torres is the lone tough omission.
Starter: Rafael Devers, Red Sox
Reserve(s): Jose Ramirez, Guardians
Ramirez gets more of the publicity, but Devers has a healthy edge in all three slash line categories in addition to more hits, runs and home runs. No other third baseman is in the running outside of those two.
Starter: Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox
Reserve(s): Carlos Correa, Twins
Bogaerts leads all AL shortstops with an .839 OPS and Correa is second behind him with an .813 OPS. White Sox standout Tim Anderson is hitting .313 and is a difficult omission, while Astros rookie Jeremy Peña leads all AL shortstops with 12 home runs and also has a case.
Judge and Trout have been the two best outfielders in the majors this year. Buxton is more of a borderline case than perceived with his .218 batting average and .293 on-base percentage, but his power and spectacular defense put him over the top. Rodriguez and Tucker are fourth and fifth in the AL behind the starting three in OPS, while Benintendi is batting .319 and makes the team as the Royals lone representative.
Starter: Yordan Alvarez, Astros
Alvarez is batting .312 with a 1.075 OPS and is making the case for most dangerous hitter in the majors, ahead of even Judge and Trout. Ohtani is quietly on pace for another 35-homer, 20-stolen base season and Martinez gets the nod on account of ranking in the top 10 in the AL with both his .307 batting average and .860 OPS.
Starter: Shane McClanahan, Rays
Reserve(s): Shohei Ohtani, Angels*; Justin Verlander, Astros; Alek Manoah, Blue Jays; Gerrit Cole, Yankees; Nestor Cortes, Yankees; Dylan Cease, White Sox; Frankie Montas, Athletics; Framber Valdez, Astros; Emmanuel Clase, Guardians; Clay Holmes, Yankees; Gregory Soto, Tigers.
McClanahan has simply been the best pitcher in the AL this year and is the easy choice to start. Montas is out indefinitely with shoulder inflammation and would be replaced by Paul Blackburn as the A’s representative if he’s unable to pitch. Soto makes the team as the Tigers’ representative. Kevin Gausman, Logan Gilbert, Martin Perez and Cristian Javier are the biggest snubs squeezed out by a strong group of starting pitchers.
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Starter: Willson Contreras, Cubs
Reserve(s): Will Smith, Dodgers
Contreras leads NL catchers in every major category, with Smith either tied with him or right behind him in most categories. Travis d’Arnaud has had a fine season but falls short of Contreras and Smith. Tyler Stephenson, Jorge Alfaro and William Contreras have performed well but have played only roughly half the season.
Starter: Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals
Goldschmidt is the frontrunner for NL MVP and is the clear starter in a strong position group. Bell, Cron and Alonso are 2-3-4 behind Goldschmidt in OPS, respectively, while all are hitting at least .275 with 12 home runs. Freddie Freeman and Rhys Hoskins have had strong seasons, but not as strong as the four ahead of them.
Starter: Jazz Chisholm, Marlins
Reserve(s): Jeff McNeil, Mets
Chisholm has played only 60 games due to a lower back strain but still leads all NL second basemen with 14 homers, 45 RBIs and an .860 OPS. McNeil’s 316 batting average and .817 OPS make him a slam-dunk selection behind Chisholm. Tommy Edman is a worthy candidate and would replace Chisholm if the Marlins star is unable to play due to injury.
Starter: Manny Machado, Padres
Machado and Arenado are neck-and-neck in voting, but Machado has significant edges in both batting average (.315 to .292) and OPS (.920 to .886) and gets the nod to start here. Riley actually has more home runs and an identical OPS to Arenado and should earn his first career all-star nod. Brandon Drury has had an excellent season primarily playing third base for the Reds, but not as good as the three third basemen ahead of him.
Starter: Dansby Swanson, Braves
Reserve(s): Trea Turner, Dodgers
Swanson’s 14 home runs and .847 OPS lead all NL shortstops and give him the slight edge over Turner to start. No other shortstop is particularly close, although Nico Hoerner (.301, .749 OPS) is having a fine season and deserves a longer look than he’s getting.
Betts remains the best outfielder in the NL and Soto still ranks fourth among NL outfielders with an .838 OPS even in his “down” season. While many top NL outfielders have been hurt or are underperforming, Marte is hitting .294 with an .809 OPS and is on pace to contend for a 20-20 season for the Mets. Pederson and Schwarber are Nos. 2 and 3 behind Betts in OPS among NL outfielders, while Reynolds gets the nod as the Pirates representative.
Starter: Bryce Harper, Phillies
Harper deserves election but will miss the game with a broken thumb. With no other worthy candidates, the NL’s excess first basemen—two of Alonso, Cron and Bell—will serve as the starting and reserve DH in the game. Garrett Cooper is a minor snub.
Starter: Sandy Alcantara, Marlins
Reserve(s): Tony Gonsolin, Dodgers; Corbin Burnes, Brewers; Joe Musgrove, Padres; Max Fried, Braves; Julio Urias, Dodgers; Zack Wheeler, Phillies; Carlos Rodon, Giants; Luis Castillo, Reds; Joe Mantiply, D-backs; Josh Hader, Brewers; Edwin Diaz, Mets.
Gonsolin has the lower ERA and would be the popular choice to start in his home stadium, but Alcantara’s significant edge in innings pitched (123.1 to 88.2) gives him the edge here. Castillo is the Reds representative despite missing the first month of the season with a shoulder strain and Mantiply makes the team as the D-backs rep, although his performance this season (1.91 ERA, 34 K, 1 BB) is worthy on its own volition. Miles Mikolas, Pablo Lopez and Aaron Nola are the most difficult omissions among starters. David Bednar, Devin Williams, David Robertson and Ryan Helsley have all had all-star worthy seasons and are the toughest snubs amongst relievers.