On Tuesday night, the stars of Major League Baseball are set to take the field in the 2022 MLB All-Star Game.
While the exhibition should be a showcase of the game’s top talent on a national stage, the game has been marred by some questionable choices in the starting lineups (decided on by fan votes), as well as players backing out of the game. With replacement all-stars continuing to be announced, the number of players who can call themselves a 2022 MLB All-Star is ludicrously high.
By my rough count, we are up to 80 All-Stars, including the two legacy selections. Participation trophies for all! That’s more than 10 percent of the league (and yes, still no Cease, Freeman and Will Smith, among others).
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 17, 2022
So, before the game actually takes place on Tuesday night, we wanted to imagine the game that we’d like to see unfold. That’s why we re-selected the starting lineups for both the AL and NL based on the players that we believe are most deserving of the honor.
You can see those lineups below along with a brief explanation of why the player has been selected for the team.
For information on the actual starting lineups that were voted on by fans, click here
AL All-Star Starting Lineup
C: Alejandro Kirk, Toronto Blue Jays
.315/.395/.487, 11 HR, 37 RBI, 45 Runs
Actual starter: Kirk
This is partially due to how poor the catching position has been from an offensive standpoint, but also how good Kirk has been. He missed time with an injury earlier in the season, so his counting stats might not be as impressive as some of the other options, but Kirk seems to be the clear choice here.
1B: Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox
.304/.387/.470, 11 HR, 46 RBI, 52 Runs
Actual starter: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Toronto Blue Jays)
This one actually split our whole staff. Some voted for Vlad to keep his spot, others voted for Ty France, but since I’m writing up this article, we’re going to give the spot to Jose Abreu. Abreu is 10th in the American League in wRC+, 11th in runs, and 10th among qualified hitters in batting average.
The power numbers certainly haven’t been there, but when you compare him to Guerrero Jr., Abreu has more runs scored, better plate discipline metrics, a higher batting average and on-base percentage, and a big lead in wRC+. It’s pretty clear that you can make a strong and compelling case for Guerrero Jr. as the starter, but I think it’s closer than you’d expect.
2B: Jose Altuve, Houston Astros
.275/.368/.518, 17 HR, 33 RBI, 49 Runs, eight stolen bases
Actual starter: Altuve
Altuve gets the nod as our starter but he had to fend off a spirited late charge from Andres Gimenez of the Cleveland Guardians. Gimenez started the season slow, so his counting stats and power numbers don’t quite match Altuve, but it’s pretty darn close now. Gimenez enters the break hitting .296/.357/.478 with 10 home runs, 43 RBI, 33 runs, and seven stolen bases, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see him surpass Altuve by the end of the year if he keeps up his current performance.
SS: Corey Seager, Texas Rangers
.251/.324/.480, 22 HR, 52 RBI, 48 Runs, three stolen bases
Actual starter: Tim Anderson (Chicago White Sox)
This is another position where we were split with Anderson getting some votes, as well as Xander Bogaerts of the Red Sox. However, Seager wins out for his well-rounded profile. Among American League shortstops, Seager is 3rd in wRC+, 1st in home runs, 4th in runs scored, and 1st in RBIs. His batting average ranks 12th among qualified players, which is certainly a knock against him, but there is no doubt that his offensive profile has been tremendously valuable and surpasses Bogaerts and Anderson’s lack of power and RBIs.
3B: Rafael Devers, Boston Red Sox
.324/.379/.601, 22 HR, 55 RBI, 62 Runs, two stolen bases
Actual starter: Devers
This is a tough call between Devers and Jose Ramirez, but Devers has just been so good to start the year. He’s 3rd in the American League in wRC+, 6th in home runs, 2nd in runs scored, 10th in RBI, and 2nd among qualified hitters in batting average. If that’s not worthy of starting the MLB All-Star Game then I’m not sure what is.
OF: Aaron Judge (New York Yankees), Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels), Yordan Alvarez (Houston Astros)
JUDGE: .284/.364/.618, 33 HR, 70 RBI, 74 Runs, eight stolen bases
TROUT: .270/.368/.599, 24 HR, 51 RBI, 55 Runs, one stolen base
ALVAREZ: .306/.405/.653, 26 HR, 60 RBI, 57 Runs
Actual starters: Judge, Trout, Giancarlo Stanton (Yankees)
These are essentially the starters for the game; however, Yordan Alvarez gets the final spot over Giancarlo Stanton. I know Yankees fans might not be happy about it, but it’s the right call. Alvarez leads the American League in wRC+, is 2nd in home runs, 5th in RBI, and 9th among qualified hitters in batting average. In fact, Stanton has one more RBI than Alvarez, and that’s the only category where Stanton is better or really anywhere close. Alvarez over Stanton is a no-brainer here.
DH: Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Guardians
.288/.368/.576, 19 HR, 75 RBI, 54 Runs, 13 stolen bases
Actual starter: Shohei Ohtani (Los Angeles Angels)
Listen, we know that leaving Ohtani out of the starting lineup is crazy considering he’s likely to win the AL MVP; however, the All-Star game is a bit of a different beast. Part of the reason Ohtani is one of the best players in all of baseball is his ability to excel as both a hitter and a pitcher. However, when you compare just his hitting stats to the other elite players in the AL, he falls a bit short. Here, we decided that Jose Ramirez had to make this lineup.
The Guardians’ third baseman is 5th in the AL in wRC+, 10th in home runs, 7th in runs scored, 1st in RBIs, 9th in stolen bases, and 18th among qualified hitters in batting average. As a hitter, he is better than Ohtani in every single category. In our version of the game, Ohtani still makes the team and can pitch an inning and hit and show the world just how good he is, but Ramirez takes the starting spot.
NL All-Star Starting Lineup
C: Will Smith, Los Angeles Dodgers
.272/.364/.478, 14 HR, 47 RBI, 37 Runs
Actual starter: Willson Contreras, Chicago Cubs
I’m not sure I understand how this is not Smith to begin with. The Dodgers catcher is 2nd in the NL among catchers in wRC+, 1st in home runs, 4th in runs scored, 1st in RBI, and 3rd among qualified catchers in batting average. No other catcher in the National League is as well-rounded as he is. In fact, when you compare to Contreras, the Cubs’ catcher is better in only one category, scoring 11 more runs this season than Smith. That’s it.
Will Smith should be the National League starter at catcher, and I don’t think it’s particularly close.
1B: Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals
.330/.414/.590, 20 HR, 70 RBI, 64 Runs, five stolen bases
Actual starter: Goldschmidt
I know Pete Alonso is the sentimental favorite in New York, but he just, unfortunately, ran into an MVP-level campaign from Goldy. Among all hitters in the National League, Goldschmidt is 1st in wRC+, 6th in home runs, 1st in runs scored, 2nd in RBIs, and 1st among qualified hitters in batting average. He’s just been too good to not name him as a starter.
2B: Jazz Chisholm Jr., Miami Marlins
.306/.354/.493, 14 HR, 68 RBI, 54 Runs, 17 stolen bases
Actual starter: Chisholm Jr.
Chisholm beats out another Met here in Jeff McNeil, but it’s another battle that isn’t actually that close when you think about it. Yes, McNeil is 1st among qualified National League second basemen in batting average, but that’s kind of where his case ends.
Meanwhile, Chisholms Jr. is 1st among second basemen in wRC+, 1st in home runs, 8th in runs, 3rd in RBIs, 4th in stolen bases, and 8th among qualified hitters in batting average. That is a really well-rounded profile that is worthy of being in this lineup. Plus, he’s just super fun to watch play the game.
SS: Trea Turner, Los Angeles Dodgers
.306/.354/.493, 14 HR, 68 RBI, 54 Runs, 17 stolen bases
Actual starter: Turner
This is another one that the voters got right. Among National League shortstops, he’s 1st in wRC+, 4th in home runs, 3rd in runs scored, 1st in RBI, 2nd in stolen bases, and 1st among qualified hitters in batting average. He does get a strong push from Dansby Swanson, who has been almost as good across the board. However, even with Swanson’s impressive stats, he only bests Turner when it comes to runs scored, so it’s hard to give the nod to a player who trails in most statistical categories.
3B: Nolan Arenado, St. Louis Cardinals
.306/.354/.493, 14 HR, 68 RBI, 54 Runs, 17 stolen bases
Actual starter: Manny Machado (San Diego Padres)
This was one of the biggest back-and-forths among our staff. While we respect what Machado has done this year, the vote actually came down to Arenado and Austin Riley. I was firmly on team Riley considering the Braves third baseman is 1st among National League third basemen in wRC+, 1st in home runs, 2nd in runs, 1st in RBI, and third among qualified hitters in batting average.
In fact, I actually can’t believe I lost out in the voting to Arenado. The Cardinals’ third baseman has been good, ranking 2nd among National League third basemen in average, 3rd in wRC+, 2nd in home runs, and 2nd in RBI. He just trails Riley in all of those categories. Maybe we can just say his defense earns him this spot as a starter
OF: Mookie Betts (Los Angeles Dodgers), Kyle Schwarber (Philadelphia Phillies), Juan Soto (Washington Nationals)
BETTS: .265/.340/.523, 20 HR, 47 RBI, 63 Runs, six stolen bases
SCHWARBER: .208/.317/.503, 29 HR, 58 RBI, 62 Runs, four stolen bases
SOTO: .250/.405/.497, 20 home runs, 43 RBI, 57 runs, five stolen bases
Actual starters: Betts, Ronald Acuña Jr. (Atlanta Braves), and Joc Pederson (San Francisco Giants)
We agree with the voters on Betts, so we don’t need to go in-depth there, but Soto has been unfairly left out of the starting lineup, likely because his team isn’t any good and his batting average has taken a hit. However, Soto is 1st among National League outfielders in wRC+, 2nd in home runs, 5th in runs scored, and 6th in RBI. Plus, he’s doing all of that when pitchers continue to pitch around him and give him basically nothing to hit, which has led to career-high swing rates and chase rates. He deserves this spot as a starter.
Kyle Schwarber is a little bit more of a question, and I can see people looking at his .208 batting average and thinking we’re crazy. However, he’s also 10th among qualified National League outfielders in wRC+, 1st in home runs, 2nd in runs scored, and 1st in RBI. That’s four categories in which he’s superior to Ronald Acuña Jr. Yes, Acuña has more steals and a better batting average, but we don’t believe that’s enough to remove Schwarber from being a starter.
DH: Pete Alonso, New York Mets
.265/.339/.517, 24 HR, 78 RBI, 50 Runs, two stolen bases
Actual starter: Bryce Harper (Philadelphia Phillies)
This is how Alonso gets into the All-Star Game. Yes, it’s slightly unfair to Harper, who was playing excellent baseball, but injuries cut short the first half of his season, and Harper’s counting stats simply don’t warrant a spot over Alonso. Had Harper not gotten hurt, he’s likely a lock for the starting lineup but, unfortunately, that’s not how things played out.
Alonso is more than deserving of being a starter. He’s 11 among all qualified National League hitters in wRC+, 3rd in home runs, and 1st in RBI. He falls a little short in runs and batting average, but his .265 average is more than respectable for a power hitter, and his slugging percentage is 9th-best in the entire National League.