The Associated Press
Mike Trout, Aaron Judge, and Mookie Betts form a dream outfield for the American League.
Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer make up a not-so-gracious welcome committee for the NL.
Power in the centre of power. A capital-sized All-Star Game.
Baseball unveiled the rosters for its mid-summer showcase last night, featuring an imposing AL lineup and Harper starting at his home ballpark in Washington.
Reigning AL MVP Jose Altuve was one of five all-stars from the World Series champion Houston Astros, matching the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians for most in the majors.
The N.Y. Yankees and Atlanta Braves each had four, including rookie Gleyber Torres from the “Bronx Bombers” and fellow second baseman Ozzie Albies from the surprising Braves.
“It’s fun. You’re playing but you’re looking around because you’re playing with all those big boys out there,” said Altuve, who made the AL team for the sixth time.
Torres is on the disabled list with a hip injury and unlikely to participate.
While he and Albies are just 21, the list of 25 first-time all-stars also includes 30-something surprises like Boston first baseman Mitch Moreland, Texas Rangers’ slugger Shin-Soo Choo, and Atlanta outfielder Nick Markakis.
“It’s something that I didn’t know it would ever be quite possible,” Moreland admitted.
“I’m definitely excited about the opportunity and appreciative of having that opportunity.”
Trout is working on perhaps the best season of his stellar career with the L.A. Angels. Judge has 25 homers and 58 RBIs for the Yankees while Betts is batting .342 with 22 homers for the major league-leading Red Sox.
But that’s just the beginning for the AL, which has won five all-star games in a row and 17 of the last 21.
Altuve led the fan balloting with 4.8 million votes.
Baltimore Orioles’ shortstop Manny Machado will make the short trip down to D.C. for the July 17 game with speculation increasing about his future ahead of the trade deadline.
Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, Cleveland Indians’ third baseman Jose Ramirez, Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez, and Tampa Bay Rays catcher Wilson Ramos round out the AL’s starting lineup.
“The best part is being with all the guys. You’re on the biggest stage with the best,” said Trout, who was selected for the seventh-straight year–tying Boston ace Chris Sale for the longest active streak.
J.A. Happ, the Blue Jays’ 35-year-old left-hander, was named the lone Toronto representative on the AL roster.
It will be his first all-star game appearance.
Harper was voted a starter for the fourth-consecutive year. The slugger, who is eligible for free agency after this season, is batting just .218 for disappointing Washington but has 21 homers and 50 RBIs.
He was joined by ace right-hander Max Scherzer and reliever Sean Doolittle from the Nationals.
Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, could get the start in his home ballpark.
Markakis and Matt Kemp will join Harper in the NL outfield.
The Chicago Cubs will have two starters after catcher Willson Contreras and second baseman Javier Baez each won a close race at their position in fan balloting.
Braves’ first baseman Freddie Freeman, Colorado Rockies’ third baseman Nolan Arenado, and Giants’ shortstop Brandon Crawford round out the NL starting lineup.
As usual, there were some notable snubs–with several changes surely coming due to injuries and withdrawals.
Tampa Bay left-hander Blake Snell, who is 12-4 with an AL-best 2.09 ERA, was the most incomprehensible omission.
Houston right-hander Charlie Morton and Oakland Athletics’ infielder Jed Lowrie also were left out despite worthy credentials.
The Philadelphia Phillies, percentage points ahead of the Braves for the NL East lead, had only one all-star in pitcher Aaron Nola.