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20 MLB players who could be first-time All-Stars in 2023

The biggest and brightest stars from the 2022 Major League Baseball season gathered in Los Angeles for the All-Star Break, and enjoyed a couple of exciting days both on the field and off of it. But here’s an interesting thing to think about. Who might be making a trip to their first all-star game this time next year? Let’s look at 20 guys who will do just that next July. 

 

Brandon Nimmo

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It’s honestly a little surprising the veteran Mets outfielder has not played in a midseason classic. Nimmo has a lifetime OBP a shade under .390 and has finished over .400 three times. He has sneaky power, enough speed to pile up doubles and even triples, and is so good in center field that when the Mets signed Starling Marte as a free agent, they moved him to right to keep Nimmo in center. The 29-year-old will be a free agent at the end of 2022 and is about to earn a serious free-agent contract. 

 

Alec Bohm

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Philadelphia’s third baseman has had some well-chronicled struggles on defense, but his offensive talent is undeniable, even though he’s yet to put it all together in the big leagues. In his last full minor league campaign three years ago Bohm hit .305 with 21 homers, 80 RBI, and 30 doubles. His numbers in Philly this season don’t jump off the page but he’s on pace to improve in every significant offensive category over last year, and look for 2023 to be the breakout. 

 

Austin Hays

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The Orioles are hoping they’re currently on the way back up after a lengthy rebuild, and 27-year-old Austin Hays is undoubtedly a piece they look at as an integral part of their future. Baltimore’s center fielder has slashed .268/.324/.452 so far in 2022 and has already registered 36 extra-base hits. He’s driven in 46 runs and scored 47, and while he’s a very good player already, look for him to really put himself on the map a year from now. 

 

Jeremy Pena

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Young Jeremy Pena began 2022 in the unenviable position of having to replace superstar and fan favorite shortstop Carlos Correa in Houston, and he’s done it brilliantly. As a rookie, Pena has displayed an ability to hit for average, power, steal bases, and play solid defense. The big leagues not being too much for the 24-year-old has been a big reason the Astros’ run of success has continued, and he should be even better across the board in year two. 

 

Oneil Cruz

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Young Oneil Cruz has barely played in 30 Major League games, but he’s already raised several eyebrows around the league. The 23-year-old has hit some prodigious home runs and has flashed some ridiculous velocity on throws from shortstop. Last year in the minor leagues Cruz slashed .310/.375/.594 with 17 homers, 47 RBI, 16 doubles, five triples, and 19 stolen bases. This is a kid that can do everything on a baseball field, and he has eventual superstar written all over him.

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Nolan Gorman

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Nolan Gorman was the top prospect in the Cardinals system heading into 2022, and after getting called up for the first time on May 20th, he’s shown us why. The young infielder has been a little up and down but has hit the ball out of the ballpark and shown impressive plate discipline for such a young hitter. Gorman had a career .273 average in the minor leagues with an .845 OPS in 341 games. He’s in a good situation in St. Louis, rubbing elbows with perennial all-stars like Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt, and look for him to join them there next summer. 

 

Ryan Mountcastle

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Like we said earlier about Austin Hays, the Orioles have been working to identify their young homegrown players that can be pieces on their next winning team, and first baseman Ryan Mountcastle certainly fits the bill. This is a big, powerful right-handed hitter who crushed 33 homers and drove in 89 runs in his first full Major League season a year ago. He’s on nearly an identical power pace this season with a better batting average. 

 

Tyler Stephenson

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There hasn’t been much to be excited about in Cincinnati this season besides the breakout of young catcher Tyler Stephenson. Before breaking his clavicle, Stephenson slashed .319/.372/.482 with an .854 OPS. He had driven in 35 runs in 50 games, and on a Reds’ team with significant uncertainty, this is one guy they’d like to keep around for the long haul. 

 

Jonah Heim

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The Rangers time is coming, and it honestly might be closer than you’d think. This team has built an impressive catalog of minor league starting pitching, which means their long-term catcher is going to be an important part of this club moving forward. Enter switch-hitting Jonah Heim. The 27-year-old is enjoying the best offensive season of his career easily, and has already set new career highs in homers and RBI. His .258 batting average is obviously acceptable, and with continued improvement in 2023, he could sneak his way onto the American League all-star team. 

 

Logan Gilbert

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The Mariners always felt righty Logan Gilbert could become the ace of their staff, but they might even be surprised by how quickly that has transpired. In 20 starts, he’s pitched to a 2.77 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP while striking out 112 hitters in 117 innings. On a Seattle team hoping to end a long postseason drought later this fall, it will be interesting to see if they shut Gilbert down due to a preconceived innings limit. Regardless of how that plays out, Gilbert is making a name for himself in the American League, and next season could be his introduction to the national stage. 

 

Michael Harris

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The spark 21-year-old center fielder Michael Harris has given the Braves since being promoted in late May has been tangible. In the first 50 Major League games of his career, Harris has slashed .289/.323/.494 with eight homers and 28 RBI. He’s added 10 steals, scored 31 runs, and played terrific defense at a premium position. Atlanta has been ecstatic about his early success at the game’s highest level and envisions the youngster patrolling the outfield at Truist Park alongside Ronald Acuna Jr. for years to come. 

 

Dylan Cease

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It was quite frankly stunning that the right-handed Dylan Cease did not make the all-star team this season. The 26-year-old was brilliant in 19 first-half starts, going 9-4 with a 2.15 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP. In 104.2 innings, he struck out a mind-blowing 150 hitters and held the opposition to just a .197 batting average. The White Sox have struggled as a whole in 2022, but it’s been no fault of Cease, who should be more of a household name than he already is.  

 

Luis Robert

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Outfielder Luis Robert arrived in the big leagues with incredible fanfare, as he’d been one of the most decorated minor league prospects the game had seen in years. Injuries have delayed his full impact on the White Sox early in his career, but he’s been tremendous thus far in 2022. In 74 games, Robert has hit .301 with 12 homers and 54 RBI while adding 13 doubles and 11 steals. This true five-star talent has yet to scratch the surface of his full potential. 

 

Taylor Ward

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Incredibly, an Angels team with both Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani could struggle as much as they do year in and year out, but that’s precisely what has continued in 2022. And that’s despite the breakout performance of another Los Angeles hitter. Outfielder Taylor Ward has slashed .285/.376/.484 so far in 2022, and if he can keep up that success down the stretch and build on it in ’23, more people will soon know his name. 

 

15 of 20

Triston McKenzie

Triston McKenzie

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In short order young right-hander Triston McKenzie has developed into a legitimate front-line starting pitcher, a significant development on a Guardians team that is trying to reclaim an AL Central that they owned for several years. To date, in ’22, McKenzie has thrown to a 3.11 ERA with a sub-1.00 WHIP in 107 innings. He’s never worked more than 143 innings in a single season, so like with Logan Gilbert mentioned earlier, it will be interesting to see if Cleveland keeps him on some sort of an innings limit. 

 

Alek Thomas

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The Diamondbacks called up their top prospect, outfielder Alek Thomas, in early May, and in 63 games since, he’s shown why he was such a renowned minor leaguer. In 216 at-bats, Thomas has hit .259 with seven bombs and 11 doubles, and Arizona envisions the 22-year-old developing into one of the more dangerous left-handed hitters in baseball in short order. Potentially as early as next year. 

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Wander Franco

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Switch-hitter Wander Franco was considered the unanimous top prospect in baseball prior to his call-up last summer, and while he hasn’t fully emerged as a star in the big leagues quite yet, every tool imaginable is obviously here. In 128 Major League games, Franco has slashed .276/.330/.433 with 12 homers, 62 RBI, and 30 doubles. He’s currently on the injured list, and Tampa Bay is anxious to get him back in the line-up as soon as possible. And it is not far-fetched at all to imagine 2023 being his full-fledged arrival at this level. 

 

Brendan Rodgers

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The 2022 season has been rough for the Colorado Rockies, but it hasn’t been without some positive moments. Second baseman Brendan Rodgers was one of baseball’s better prospects before reaching the big leagues four years ago. After a good season a year ago, he’s arguably having a better one right now. Rodgers currently needs just two more RBI to equal his previous career high and six homers to do the same. If he can continue this incremental improvement in 2023, it is not hard to envision him qualifying for an all-star team in the future. 

 

AJ Puk

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The Athletics were forced to wait a while after taking A.J. Puk, number six overall in 2016, but the lefty is finally rewarding them for their patience. Puk has become one of the most dominant left-handed relievers in the American League, and has future Josh Hader esque closer written all over him. So far in 2022, he’s punched out 41 hitters in 39.2 innings while limiting the other team to a .221 batting average and posting a 0.98 WHIP. His ERA is an impressive 2.27, and he’s registered 11 holds, and frankly, it’s surprising the A’s haven’t given him a chance to close yet. 

 

Riley Greene

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Orlando, FL native Riley Greene was considered baseball’s best minor league prospect prior to his promotion a month ago, and the left-handed slugger has slowly been acclimating himself to big league competition. In 198 career minor league games, though, he slashed .291/.372/.483 with 30 homers, 120 RBI, 37 doubles, 11 triples, and 25 stolen bases. Greene is a legitimate five-star talent who Detroit is counting on developing into a big-league superstar. It could start happening in earnest as early as 2023. 

Justin Mears is a freelance sports writer from Long Beach Island, NJ. Enjoys being frustrated by the Mets and Cowboys, reading Linwood Barclay novels, and being yelled at by his toddler son. Follow him on twitter @justinwmears


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