Every week, we ask all of our baseball writers — both the local scribes and the national team, more than 30 writers in all — to rank the teams from first to worst. Here are the collective results, the TA30.
The first time Ozzie Smith made an All-Star team was 1981, and The Wizard was a true all-glove, no-bat shortstop for the Padres. San Diego traded him that winter and watched him make the All-Star team 14 of the next 15 seasons in St. Louis. Smith has the second-most All-Star appearances in Cardinals history — Stan Musial is the franchise leader — but I assume even Hall of Famers always remember their first.
What future icons will make their first All-Star teams this summer?
Because voting began last week, we decided to give this week’s Power Rankings a theme. We’ve called it All-Time and first time, a look back at each franchise’s all-time leader in All-Star selections — the All-Star Game started in 1933, so Cy Young and Babe Ruth won’t be on this list — and a look ahead to players who might make their first ASG next month.
1. New York Yankees
Last Power Ranking: 1
All-Time: Mickey Mantle (20)
There have been 25 players in MLB history who have made at least 13 All-Star teams. Seven of them — nearly 30 percent — made some or all of those All-Star teams while playing for the Yankees. Mantle has the American League record for All-Star games (he made it in 16 seasons, including four when there were two games a year). Yogi Berra was an 18-time All-Star, Derek Jeter made it 14 times, and Joe DiMaggio and Mariano Rivera have 13 All-Star Games to their credit. Bill Dickey made 11 All-Star teams and doesn’t even crack the organizational top five!
First time: Nestor Cortes, SP
With apologies to reliever Clay Holmes — he should make it, too, by the way — the priority here has to be Cortes. Five years ago, he was a Rule 5 pick who didn’t stick. Two years ago, he was called up after signing a minor-league deal. And today, he has a chance to be the AL starter in the All-Star Game (1.96 ERA, 0.92 WHIP). Amazing. He’s one of the reasons the Yankees have the best record in baseball. On some teams, any one of the Yankees’ five starting pitchers would be a viable lone representative.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers
Last Power Ranking: 2
All-Time: Pee Wee Reese (10)
Here’s the thing. Ten All-Star selections seem like an awful lot in 2022. After all, the Dodgers’ active leader in nods is Clayton Kershaw with eight. (It’s possible that Kershaw gets to nine this year, although the time he’s missed due to injury hurts his chances. If pitchers were voted in by the fans, he’d surely have surpassed Reese long ago.) But in the context of the time Reese played, just barely cresting double-digit selections is a bit light. Take a look at some of the other franchise leaders listed below, a few of whom get into the 20s. The Dodgers have had plenty of perennial All-Stars — Don Drysdale, Fernando Valenzuela, Roy Campanella, Duke Snider — but no one whom fans saw in the game for more than a decade. Then again, Reese might have had three more if his streak of All-Star games wasn’t interrupted by his service in World War II.
First time: Tony Gonsolin, RHP
As would be expected from a roster as high-powered and highly-paid as this one, there are lots of current Dodgers who have been to an All-Star Game. If we’re looking for someone to break in for the first time, it probably comes down to Gonsolin and catcher Will Smith. The latter has been an above-average performer yet is still enduring a down season by his lofty standards. Gonsolin has taken his performance to a new level, posting a 1.58 ERA in 11 starts. He doesn’t show up on the ERA leaderboards because his 57 innings aren’t enough to qualify for the ERA title, but Gonsolin has pitched at least six innings in each of his last three starts. In that span, he has a 1.80 ERA. Perhaps more importantly, he’s posted it while the Dodgers have battled a host of rotation injuries.
3. New York Mets
Last Power Ranking: 3
All-Time: Tom Seaver (9)
There have been several players in the pantheon of Mets greats who have racked up All-Star selections. Darryl Strawberry, Mike Piazza and David Wright each have seven. But it’s only fitting that the man with the most is the one with a statue outside of Citi Field. In his first go-round with the Mets, Seaver made the All-Star team every year but one. (He also made the 1977 All-Star team, but that was as a Red following a June trade. If you want to make that 9.5 selections as a Met, you’d have an argument.) Jacob deGrom is at four and will likely miss this year’s game despite his recent steps toward a return from injury. Can he catch Seaver? Can he stay healthy? Will Uncle Steve pony up to keep him long-term?
First time: Carlos Carrasco, RHP
The numbers say it should probably be Brandon Nimmo, who is putting together a Nimmo-esque season at the plate when you account for the diminished offensive environment. But here I’m going to break my preference for meritocracy and tap Carrasco, who never made the game in all those years in Cleveland. The 35-year-old’s numbers are respectable if not as impressive on a WAR basis, but tell me you wouldn’t like to see him make the team. After all, at his age, this may be his last best shot.
4. San Diego Padres
Last Power Ranking: 7
All-Time: Tony Gwynn (15)
Imagine yourself in “Monty Python in the Holy Grail.” You have neared the end of your journey. All that stands between you and the Castle of Aaargh is the Bridge of Death. You trot up, your loyal steed clickity-clacking his coconut halves behind you when you are stopped by the bridgekeeper. You must answer his question or be cast into the Gorge of Eternal Peril below. Sweat beads on your brow as he begins his query: Who is the Padres’ all-time leader in All-Star selections? “Oh, Tony Gwynn,” you reply, the words coming out almost instinctively. Off you go, good luck on your quest. That was an easy one. (Here’s one that’s not so easy: What was the only year of his prime that Gwynn didn’t make the team? That would be 1988, when he was slow to start but wound up leading the league with a .313 average.)
First time: Joe Musgrove, RHP
Jurickson Profar is third on the team in WAR. Are you going to go with him, completing a long career arc from top prospect to bust to productive big-leaguer? Look, nothing against Profar, but c’mon. It’s Musgrove, who owned an MLB-best 1.50 ERA entering Sunday and who has been a metronomic and steadying force in a rotation that may be one of the best in club history. Musgrove has allowed only one earned run in his last four starts and easily has the best All-Star case of any Padre not named Manny Machado.
5. Houston Astros
Last Power Ranking: 4
All-Time: Craig Biggio and Jose Altuve (7)
Altuve pulled even with Biggio last year and will probably pass him this year. That’s fine. What I can’t get over is the fact Lance Berkman (5) made more All-Star teams than Jeff Bagwell (4). Bagwell finished seventh in MVP voting in 2000 and 2001 but did not make the All-Star team either year. The National League first basemen those years: Todd Helton (twice), Andres Galarraga, Mark McGwire, Sean Casey and Ryan Klesko. Nolan Ryan made eight All-Star teams in his career, but only two with the Astros.
First time: Yordan Alvarez, DH
Honestly, pick any young piece of the Astros present and future — Alvarez, Kyle Tucker, Jeremy Peña, Framber Valdez, Luis Garcia — and he’s likely making a decent case for an All-Star selection, or he’s at least in the mix enough to become a good bet in the next few weeks. We’re singling out Alvarez because he probably has the Astros’ best chance of starting the ASG, but the Astros keep graduating all-star level talent.
Alejandro Kirk. (John E. Sokolowski / USA Today)
6. Toronto Blue Jays
Last Power Ranking: 6
All-Time: Dave Stieb (7)
Perhaps you’ve been doing this along with me, but I tried to guess the All-Star leader for every team before looking it up. For most of them, I was at least in the ballpark, but with the Blue Jays, I wasn’t even sure where to start. Surely Roberto Alomar and Paul Molitor weren’t there long enough. Joe Carter and Jose Bautista didn’t have especially long peaks. Roy Halladay, maybe? But, no, it’s the perpetually overrated and overlooked 1980s ace Stieb. As a kid, I once bought a pack of baseball cards that was nothing but Stiebs and Fred McGriffs (McGriff, by the way, made five All-Star teams, but none with the Blue Jays). Bautista and Halladay, by the way, are second in franchise history with six apiece.
First time: Alejandro Kirk, C
There aren’t a ton of standout catchers these days, so Kirk has a real chance to be the AL starter behind the plate. He’s just ahead of the Yankees’ Jose Trevino, the A’s Sean Murphy and the Rangers’ Jonah Heim for the highest fWAR among AL catchers, and he’s been getting on base at right around a 40-percent clip. Maybe he can be there with fellow Blue Jays first-timers Alek Manoah and Santiago Espinal. Next year will be Gabriel Moreno’s turn.
7. Atlanta Braves
Last Power Ranking: 12
All-Time: Henry Aaron (24)
Who else, right? Hammerin’ Hank was an All-Star in every year of his career but two — the first and the last. In between, he made 25 consecutive All-Star teams — keep in mind that two games were played a year between 1959 and 1962 — and all but one of them was for the Braves. Despite the constant acclaim, it’s incredible that Aaron won only one MVP award, in 1957. No Brave will ever match his All-Star total, no matter how transcendent Ronald Acuña Jr. turns out to be. The 24-year-old phenom still trails Aaron’s franchise record by 22 selections.
First time: Dansby Swanson, SS
There are several worthy candidates on the roster to get a first-time nod. Max Fried and Kyle Wright are enjoying terrific seasons in the Atlanta rotation. Austin Riley has 16 dingers, including eight of them in his last 19 games entering Sunday. But we’re going to honor former No. 1 pick Dansby Swanson, Atlanta’s steady presence at shortstop. Swanson is first on the team by fWAR and second by bWAR with identical marks of 2.5. He leads the team in games played (60), has a career-best 120 OPS+, and has been nearly as hot as Riley over the last month while playing a more demanding defensive position. Shortstop is a challenging position in which to win votes; you’re competing against the likes of Francisco Lindor, Brandon Crawford and Trea Turner. But with Swanson staring down free agency at season’s end, it’d be only fitting for him to make an All-Star team before Atlantans potentially have to say goodbye.
8. St. Louis Cardinals
Last Power Ranking: 9
All-Time: Stan Musial (24)
Stan the Man made his first All-Star roster in 1943. He made his last one in 1963, when he was 42 and in the final year of his career. And he made one every year in between except for 1945, when he was serving in the military. The Cardinals’ active leader in All-Star nods is another ageless wonder in Yadier Molina, but he’s only at 10. To match Musial, he’ll have to make it this year — not likely, given his .535 OPS — and then every subsequent year until he’s 53.
First time: Tommy Edman, 2B
There is a mystery to be solved in St. Louis and it is named Tommy Edman. He owns a career 104 OPS+. He plays primarily second base — an important defensive position, but not as important as shortstop, catcher or center field. Yet, since his debut in 2019, he has accumulated the 24th-most bWAR of any hitter in baseball. He was worth nearly four wins last year when his batting line was eight percent below average. Is the defense that good? What are we missing? He’s been a better hitter this year — see his 126 OPS+ — but still, it’s surprising to see he leads the Cardinals in bWAR with 3.9. Excuse me, I mistyped. I meant he leads MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL. Whatever, he makes the All-Star team this year, let’s move on.
9. Tampa Bay Rays
Last Power Ranking: 8
All-Time: Carl Crawford and David Price (4)
The first Rays All-Star in 1998 was Rolando Arroyo, a 32-year-old rookie starting pitcher who had a 3.56 ERA that season but lasted only four more years in the big leagues. The next year, the Devil Rays had two All-Stars: closer Roberto Hernández and frickin’ Jose Canseco! Then Fred McGriff. Then Greg Vaughn. Then Randy Winn. Then Lance Carter. Point is, the Rays haven’t been around long enough. And, really, their all-time guy is clearly Evan Longoria, even though he only made three All-Star teams.
First time: Shane McClanahan, SP
Frankly, this is such an obvious choice, it’s no fun. McClanahan is awesome (second in the AL with a 1.87 ERA). He’s living up to the hype. He’s another in a long line of homegrown Rays starters. Blah, blah, blah. Of course he deserves to be an All-Star for the first time. But the Rays are one of the best teams in baseball because they’re once again getting production from much less predictable places. Is there room to get someone from that category onto the team? Manuel Margot? Jeffrey Springs? J.P. Feyereisen? Ji-Man Choi!
T-10. Minnesota Twins
Last Power Ranking: 11
All-Time: Harmon Killebrew (13) / Rod Carew (12)
Killebrew made his first two All-Star teams when the franchise was still playing in Washington as the Senators, but that counts, right? If we’re counting only Minnesota Twins All-Stars, the record belongs to Carew, who — until Mike Trout came around — was also tied for the most Angels All-Star selections. Kirby Puckett made 10 All-Star teams, but Torii Hunter made only two with the Twins. That surprised me, but not nearly as much as Bert Blyleven making only one! He made another much later in his career with the Indians, but still.
First time: Luis Arraez, 1B/2B
Did you know Byron Buxton has never made an All-Star team? He’s one of my favorite players in the game, and he might be a better all-around choice for this spot, but Arraez is the major-league leader in batting average and on-base percentage, and it’s pretty hard to overlook that. Speaking of which, if you’re wondering how in the world the Twins are still in first place, starting pitcher Joe Ryan and reliever Jhoan Durán are also strong first-time candidates. Sometimes, getting rid of a three-time All-Star can be for the best.
T-10. San Francisco Giants
Last Power Ranking: 10
All-Time: Willie Mays (22)
We could spend a lot of time waxing poetic about how great Mays was as a Giant, but we know all that stuff. After all, Ted Williams did say that they invented the All-Star Game for Mays. So, pull up his Baseball-Reference page and marvel: two-time MVP, 12-time Gold Glover, 24-time All-Star. Did you know Mays made the 1973 All-Star team as a 42-year-old Met? His numbers were terrible, but NL president Chub Feeney intervened to ensure he was on the squad. I guess when All-Star games were made for you, that kind of treatment is to be expected. San Francisco’s active leader is Brandon Crawford with three All-Star nods.
First time: Logan Webb, RHP
Do you prefer Mike Yastrzemski or Webb as your first-time selection? Either is easily defensible. (Carlos Rodón made his first All-Star team last year, in case you’re like me and completely forgot.) Yaz has been the team’s best hitter not named Joc Pederson, with a 131 OPS+ and one of the best WAR totals among Giants position players. Webb hasn’t been the ace he was a year ago, but he’s second among San Francisco pitchers in fWAR with 1.4. The next month may make this choice clearer, but we’re opting for Webb. Unlike Yastrzemski, he hasn’t cratered in the month of June.
12. Milwaukee Brewers
Last Power Ranking: 5
All-Time: Ryan Braun (6)
Well, that feels kind of surprising, right? Braun was, of course, very good — inescapably PED-tainted now, but very good by the numbers. But leading the franchise in All-Star nods? It’s true. He edges out great players like Cecil Cooper and Paul Molitor and, yup, Robin Yount. There is perhaps no greater indictment of the All-Star system than the fact that Yount, a Hall of Famer, made the game only three times in his career. Braun’s total seems primed to be surpassed. Josh Hader (three selections) would have a shot if the Brewers can sign him to an extension. Otherwise, it’d seem to fall to Brandon Woodruff (two) or Corbin Burnes (one). Counting on a Christian Yelich resurgence at this point seems like a fool’s errand.
First time: Devin Williams, RHP
It’s easy to fall back on WAR to make these decisions, but that can be a trap. After all, the Brewers’ top hitter by fWAR is Victor Caratini. Is he having a nice season? Sure! Does he deserve to make the All-Star team compared to his NL peers? That’s probably pushing it. Here, it’s worth remembering that several relievers make the team every year. They rarely show up on the WAR leaderboards, but the best ones tend to make the squad. So, let’s go with a former Rookie of the Year in Williams. He hasn’t been as dominant as Hader, who is assured of making the roster, but he’s still fanning more than 40 percent of batters.
Zach Eflin. (Mitchell Leff / Getty Images)
13. Philadelphia Phillies
Last Power Ranking: 18
All-Time: Mike Schmidt (12)
If you want to quibble with how All-Star selections work, look no further than Schmidt’s last nod in 1989. At the time of the game, he’d been retired for more than a month. He hung up his spikes with a .688 OPS on the season. The fans voted him in anyway, although to Schmidt’s credit, he declined to play in the game. Should we look askance at his 12 career selections, though? Probably not. Schmidt was that good of a player. No one’s going to match his total. Not even Bryce Harper, who is somewhat surprisingly set to make his first All-Star team as a Phillie this year. Even if he makes the team every season through the end of his mega-contract, that will leave Harper with just 10 All-Star nods in Philadelphia.
First time: Zach Eflin, RHP
The Phillies’ roster is filled with accomplished players who cannot seem to win a lot of games. (Their current Rob Thomson-led streak notwithstanding.) As such, picking out a first-time All-Star is tricky. There are too many multi-time All-Stars. With all respect to Rhys Hoskins, we’re going with Eflin here. He’s in the midst of a solid year in the rotation and has been more valuable by fWAR than Hoskins has been. And it seems more feasible that he makes the club as a pitcher than it does that Hoskins sneaks in alongside Paul Goldschmidt, Freddie Freeman and Pete Alonso. In reality, Philly’s All-Star representatives are most likely to be guys you’ve seen in the game before.
14. Boston Red Sox
Last Power Ranking: 13
All-Time: Ted Williams (19), Carl Yastrzemski (18)
Some of Williams’ All-Star selections came in years when there were two All-Star games but he also lost time because of World War II, so we’ll call it even. Yastrzemski technically made an All-Star team in more years than Williams (18 to 17) but again, neither of these guys has anything left to prove. Want to feel gross, Red Sox fans? Wade Boggs made four All-Star teams as a Yankee!
First time: Nick Pivetta, SP
Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, J.D. Martinez and Trevor Story have all made All-Star teams. So have Nathan Eovaldi and Michael Wacha. That means there’s not an especially strong first-time candidate on the roster. I wish Rich Hill were having a better year so I could make a case for the oldest pitcher in the game, but Pivetta’s been an All-Star-quality pitcher for the past month (1.96 ERA in his past seven starts). So, maybe him? If he throws a few more gems in the next few weeks, maybe he can get more into the mix. He’s already helped make the Red Sox relevant again.
15. Cleveland Guardians
Last Power Ranking: 15
All-Time: Bob Feller and Lou Boudreau (8)
Obviously, these two were incredible. Feller is fully iconic. They’re a strong one-two punch atop the organizational hierarchy. But Feller and Boudreau were teammates in the 1940s, and isn’t it a bit surprising Cleveland hasn’t had anyone make more than eight All-Star games since then? Even their seven-timers (Ken Keltner, Bob Lemon, Larry Doby) are from essentially the same era. More recent Cleveland standouts (Kenny Lofton, Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome, CC Sabathia, Francisco Lindor) spent too much time on other teams to get more than five nods. José Ramírez will make his fourth All-Star team this year.
First time: Emmanuel Clase, RP
He doesn’t have a massive number of saves (he got his 11th on Sunday), but Clase is among the better relief pitchers in the game (1.85 ERA), and it’s a matter of time before he makes an All-Star team. If it’s going to be this year, he might have to beat out teammate Eli Morgan, who’s also been outstanding out of the bullpen (1.91 ERA). But who are we kidding? Ramírez might be the lone Guardians representative, anyway.
16. Miami Marlins
Last Power Ranking: 20
All-Time: Miguel Cabrera and Giancarlo Stanton (4)
The Marlins have only existed since 1993 and they’ve never had a prolonged stretch of success, so it’s kind of remarkable that they’ve enjoyed two terrific sluggers like Cabrera and Stanton — and, given the franchise’s penchant for tearing down, that they enjoyed them long enough for each to make four All-Star teams. Does that sugarcoat it enough to get over that both are now playing elsewhere? With them gone, the current All-Star leaders are Sandy Alcantara and Trevor Rogers with one apiece.
First time: Jazz Chisholm Jr., 2B
If the All-Star Game was invented for Mays, then it persists for Chisholm. Make the case for Pablo López if you want — you won’t look like an idiot — but Chisholm is just as good and about 10 times more fun. He’s got 12 homers and a 141 OPS+. He’s stolen 10 bags. He talks big game and, so far, backs it up on the field. If a player as vibrant and good as Chisholm isn’t in the All-Star Game, what’s the point?
17. Los Angeles Angels
Last Power Ranking: 14
All-Time: Mike Trout (9)
According to Baseball-Reference, the Angels’ career leader in WAR before Trout showed up was Chuck Finley. The face of the franchise was … maybe Jim Fregosi (six All-Star selections)? Hall of Famers passed through Anaheim — Nolan Ryan, Rod Carew, Reggie Jackson, Vladimir Guerrero — but the lasting impact of Trout has surpassed them all in terms of organizational impact. By the way, how in the world was Tim Salmon never an All-Star?
First time: Taylor Ward, RF
The Angels had fallen so far, so fast that they fired one of the most fascinating and beloved managers of this era, and momentarily lost the greatest player of a generation. It was a mess. It’s a little better now yet still not great. But, hey, Ward is really good! On pace to nearly double his career-high in at-bats, Ward has an OPS+ more than 100 percent better than league average, and he’s reached the one-third mark of the season already worth 2.2 bWAR. He’d never finished an entire season worth more than 0.6. So, this is better (assuming he gets back from a mild hamstring injury quickly).
18. Chicago White Sox
Last Power Ranking: 17
All-Time: Nellie Fox (15)
The top two in franchise history — Luis Aparicio is second with nine All-Star selections — each took advantage of the four years when there were two All-Star games to put themselves comfortably in the lead. Among the more recent White Sox All-Stars, Paul Konerko is the leader with six, while Chris Sale and Frank Thomas had five apiece. [Record scratch] Frank Thomas made only five All-Star teams?!!! Turns out, it was five in a row (1993-97) and that was it. Thomas finished second in MVP voting in 2000 but did not make an All-Star team that included five first basemen/designated hitters (Jason Giambi, Carlos Delgado, Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Mike Sweeney).
First time: Michael Kopech, SP
Jim Bowden picked Tim Anderson and Liam Hendriks to represent the White Sox this year, but those two have been All-Stars in the past, so let’s add Kopech and his 1.92 ERA. He and Yoán Moncada were the primary returns of the Chris Sale trade, and Kopech is finally getting a long look in the rotation. Through his first 11 starts, he’s been excellent, but he also just got hurt. Assuming he gets healthy again, he’ll be a fine first-time All-Star while we wait for Eloy Jiménez to be healthy enough to finally get there.
19. Texas Rangers
Last Power Ranking: 16
All-Time: Iván Rodríguez (10)
Is this one obvious? Rodríguez has as many total All-Star selections as Derek Jeter (14), but I wasn’t sure whether he’d spent too much time outside of Texas to actually lead the Rangers in All-Star selections. He does so by a healthy margin over Michael Young (7). It helps that Rodríguez made his first All-Star team at just 20 years old, then got picked every year for a decade. He had another four-year run of All-Star games in Detroit. By the way, Adrián Beltré only had three All-Star games in Texas and four in his career, which seems way too low.
First time: Martín Pérez, SP
I see you, Jonah Heim. And that’s a helluva ERA, Brock Burke. But, come on, it’s Pérez. At 31 years old, on a $4 million free-agent deal, he’s fifth in the AL in ERA through 12 starts. He won’t be a part of the Rangers’ turnaround, but for now, he’s making a rock-solid case for a selection. (At least, until Ken Griffey Jr. tells Sam Huff to become an All-Star, and at which point Huff’s election will become inevitable.)
20. Arizona Diamondbacks
Last Power Ranking: 19
All-Time: Paul Goldschmidt (6)
Man, it’s got to sting for those franchises whose all-time leader is now racking up All-Star selections elsewhere. The Goldschmidt trade looked fair at the time, with the Diamondbacks getting good seasons out of Carson Kelly and Luke Weaver and Goldschmidt enduring a muted campaign his first year in St. Louis. But now it looks rough. Weaver and Kelly have disappointed. Goldschmidt has been his usual awesome self. The Cardinals have him locked up at a rate the Diamondbacks could have afforded. After all, they turned around and threw $85 million at Madison Bumgarner. Whom would you rather have now? Anyway, Goldschmidt’s six nods are hardly insurmountable. Ketel Marte should be a Diamondback for a while and figures to rack up a few more All-Star games before his time is up.
First time: Daulton Varsho, C
No potential first-timer is running away with this yet. Christian Walker leads the team in bWAR, but his expected statistics have yet to match up to his actual ones. Guys hitting .197 don’t make All-Star teams. Merrill Kelly or Zac Gallen might claim this spot if they hit a tailwind over the next month, but right now neither stands out among NL starters. That leaves us with Varsho, one of the most intriguing talents in baseball. He plays center field and he catches. He does both well. He is one of the team’s best hitters, with a 116 OPS+ and nine homers entering Sunday. He leads the team in fWAR and is second in bWAR. And he’s on the ballot as a catcher, which should help his case.
21. Seattle Mariners
Last Power Ranking: 21
All-Time: Ken Griffey Jr. and Ichiro Suzuki (10)
Perfect, isn’t it? It has to be those two, and they really should have the exact same number. They played together at the very end of Griffey’s career, when he came back to Seattle before retirement (a model Ichiro would follow years later). It had to be one or the other leading the organization in All-Star nods, but it’s wonderful that they’re tied. In case you’re curious, here are some other notable Mariners in descending order of M’s All-Star selections: Edgar Martinez (7), Félix Hernández (6), Randy Johnson (5), Alex Rodriguez (4), Nelson Cruz (3), Bret Boone (2), Jay Buhner (1), Jesús Montero (0).
First time: Ty France, 1B
One way or another, the Mariners always seem to make things interesting. Perhaps not interesting enough to actually win anything, but too interesting to dismiss completely. It’s fitting, then, that they have no shortage of first-time candidates. We’ve singled out France, who rakes and can provide some welcome versatility, but phenom Julio Rodríguez and second-year starter Logan Gilbert also have a case (Gilbert in particular). J.P. Crawford’s never made an All-Star team, but the shortstop field is probably too deep. France, meanwhile, is third in the AL in on-base percentage and fourth in batting average.
22. Colorado Rockies
Last Power Ranking: 24
All-Time: Nolan Arenado, Troy Tulowitzki and Todd Helton (5)
Well, there’s a list that probably inspires some mixed feelings. You’ve got Helton, the star that stuck around, whose Hall of Fame case is picking up some steam. You’ve got Tulowitzki, the star the team traded right before he fell off a cliff offensively. And then there’s Arenado, the star the team never should have traded at all. But look at it this way, Rockies fans. Your team is one of the youngest in the majors and it already has produced three superlative sluggers who have made a handful of All-Star games. Other teams should be so lucky.
First time: Chad Kuhl, RHP
There’s a lot to say in favor of C.J. Cron, who is rocking out with a 130 OPS+ and 14 home runs. He’s one of the only Rockies hitters performing and he’s been a comfortably above-average hitter for much of the last five years. But Kuhl’s transformation might be more enticing. Here’s a guy who never quite clicked with the Pirates. He signs as a free agent in Colorado and has an ERA+ of 127. By run value as calculated by Baseball Savant, his slider has been the best in baseball. Plus, more pitchers make the club than first basemen.
23. Chicago Cubs
Last Power Ranking: 22
All-Time: Ernie Banks (14)
I mean, the guy they call Mr. Cub better be the franchise’s all-time leader. Banks had quite the run, making 11 All-Star teams — and winning two MVP awards — between 1955 and 1962. (Remember, there were two a year for the last four years of that span.) That encompassed his prime, ages 24 to 31, during which he batted .289/.351/.561 and hit 314 home runs. Banks was rarely as potent a hitter after that, but he did have a mid-to-late 30s renaissance, earning All-Star selections in 1965, 1967 and 1969, the last of which came in his age-38 season. Any Cub who hoped to match his mark of 14 All-Star nods was, well, traded away last year. The current leader in the clubhouse is Willson Contreras with two. And how long is he going to stick around?
First time: Ian Happ, OF
The problem with the All-Star Game is it happens at midseason when we’re all still trying to figure out who’s for real and who isn’t. At least, that should be the goal when casting our votes. The Cubs make for an interesting case study when it comes to that. Who of the potential first-timers deserves a mid-July work trip the most? A case could be made for pitcher Keegan Thompson, who has jumped into the rotation with a good deal of success. Or his rotation-mate Justin Steele, whose peripherals outperform his ERA. Nico Hoerner has been a below-average hitter but nonetheless worth 1.4 bWAR. What about Christopher Morel, despite his relatively slim total of at-bats? You see the problem here? That’s why we’re going with Happ, who is second on the team in WAR behind Contreras and has a 125 OPS+. There’s no need to overthink this.
Trey Mancini. (Scott Taetsch / USA Today)
24. Baltimore Orioles
Last Power Ranking: 25
All-Time: Cal Ripken Jr. (19)
This would be an obvious, slam dunk, no doubt about it pick … until you remember that third baseman from the ’60s. Brooks Robinson made 18 All-Star teams (though six of them came when there were two All-Star games each year, so it’s not as close as it seems). Ripken and Robinson are heads and shoulders ahead of Eddie Murray (seven all-star selections with the Orioles), Jim Palmer (six) and Frank Robinson (five).
First time: Trey Mancini, DH/1B
I won’t argue if you prefer outfielder Austin Hays or reliever Jorge López. Both have been very good, and with Hays playing the field more often, he’s almost inarguably been more valuable than Mancini. But I tend to think Mancini means more and who wouldn’t want to see that guy in an All-Star Game? Unless, of course, we’re just going straight to Adley Rutschman.
25. Pittsburgh Pirates
Last Power Ranking: 23
All-Time: Roberto Clemente (15)
It is anything but surprising that Clemente leads the organization with 15 All-Star selections. I find it very surprising that Barry Bonds garnered only two. That’s also the number of MVP awards he won in Pittsburgh, and they occurred in the same years (1990, 1992). The active leader in Pittsburgh All-Star selections? Bryan Reynolds with … one. A second isn’t impossible this year, but he’ll need to do better than his current 111 OPS+.
First time: Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B
With rebuilding teams, this usually is a tough exercise. Most of the time, there are very few players who deserve to make the All-Star team. But that’s not the case with the Pirates. It’s Hayes, who boasts a 2.7 bWAR, the sixth-highest mark in the NL. The five names ahead of him are Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Mookie Betts, Manny Machado and Tommy Edman. Aside from Edman — check the Cardinals blurb — that’s lofty company.
26. Detroit Tigers
Last Power Ranking: 26
All-Time: Al Kaline (18)
Holy recency bias, Batman! My first thought upon looking up the Tigers’ all-time leader was Miguel Cabrera. But, oh yeah, there was that one guy in the ’60s who was all kinds of awesome. Hank Greenberg made five All-Star teams while playing, essentially, only 10 seasons. So that’s pretty impressive, too. The Tigers have a ton of guys with five or more All-Star nods. Strong history in that organization. Cabrera’s seven All-Star selections in Detroit are good but nowhere near the organization’s best.
First time: Tarik Skubal, SP
Cabrera is nowhere near an All-Star-level hitter these days, but he’s still perhaps the best hitter in the disappointing Tigers lineup. They have a bunch of injured guys, and it’s hard to imagine a Tigers hitter in the All-Star Game. And that’s fine, because of Skubal, who has a 2.71 ERA in his excellent second full season in the big leagues. (He debuted in 2020, but does that really count?) If not Skubal, the Tigers have had some decent relievers, but Skubal has to be the guy.
27. Cincinnati Reds
Last Power Ranking: 27
All-Time: Johnny Bench (14)
The downside of the Big Red Machine is that every Reds team and every Reds player since is compared to it, and no one can withstand that kind of glare. It’s hardly surprising that Bench has made the most All-Star teams in club history. And while that’s a lower total than, say, Musial’s with the Cardinals, it’s all but untouchable. If a lifelong Reds great like Joey Votto can’t do it — Votto has six All-Star selections — then it is unlikely to be matched. Perhaps if Hunter Greene is the type of Clayton Kershaw-like talent Reds fans hope he is, he can get close. Though he’s provided several of what have been very few Cincinnati highlights this season, the numbers don’t support a selection this year. Greene’s bWAR is just 0.5.
First time: Brandon Drury, 3B
Drury is not a franchise pillar. The Reds are his fifth organization since 2017. In five years, we’ll all forget he played for them. But destined for the memory-hole or not, the 29-year-old is enjoying a terrific season. He’s been the team’s top hitter by fWAR and has a team-leading 123 OPS+ and 11 home runs. There are some other candidates, of course. You could take Graham Ashcraft if you believe he’ll keep up his torrid start. Tyler Stephenson would have made sense had he not just broken his thumb. Would you believe Tommy Pham hasn’t made an All-Star team? Pham’s offensive numbers haven’t been nearly as good as Drury’s, but the idea of an All-Star media throng dragging out more details from FantasyGate is almost too enticing. Give the people what they want. Vote for Pham and Joc Pederson.
28. Washington Nationals
Last Power Ranking: 29
All-Time: Gary Carter and Tim Raines (7)
For the purposes of this exercise, we are including the Expos years. Hence the presence of Carter and Raines atop the leaderboard. Raines landed on the team every year from 1981-87 — he swiped more than 500 bags in those seven years — and Carter made the 1975 squad before representing Montreal each year from 1979-84. (Carter went on to make four more All-Star teams right after that as a Met.) Limit it to the Nationals years, you say? OK, then the leaders are Max Scherzer and Bryce Harper with six apiece. They’re, uh, playing for division rivals now. Perhaps Stephen Strasburg can match that with selections in the final four years of his deal. This year, however, seems like a wash for All-Star purposes.
First time: Keibert Ruiz, C
The pickings are slim! Given the Nationals’ fortunes, odds are no one other than Juan Soto makes the team. But if we’re handicapping who has the best chance to make their first, we’ll go with Ruiz, who was one of the headliners of the Scherzer deal. He’s third on the team in WAR and has been an above-average hitter by OPS+, even if his .699 OPS entering Sunday seemed underwhelming. Alternative options would be Lane Thomas or Yadiel Hernández, but I prefer the guy who has shown he’s more adept at getting on base.
29. Kansas City Royals
Last Power Ranking: 30
All-Time: George Brett (13)
How weird would it be if anyone other than Brett had the most Royals All-Star selections? Like, if it turned out Mark Gubicza or Dan Quisenberry made way more All-Star teams than anyone outside of Kansas City realized. But, no, it’s Brett by a wide margin. Salvador Perez is second on the list with seven (and he could sneak one or two more before he’s finished). But the definitive Royals All-Star is exactly who you think it is.
First time: Andrew Benintendi, LF
Not only did Jim Bowden pick Benintendi to make the All-Star team, but he also picked Benintendi to be the AL starter in left field. Benintendi was very nearly an All-Star in 2018 when he was on the final ballot, but he lost out to Jean Segura. This might be the year he gets there, two years after the Red Sox gave up on him. Benintendi and Scott Barlow are among the very few things going right for the Royals these days.
30. Oakland Athletics
Last Power Ranking: 27
All-Time: Mark McGwire (9)
Reggie Jackson is top 20 all-time in total All-Star selections, but his career was too scattered to lead any one organization. Of his 14 selections, six came with the A’s, five with the Yankees and three with the Angles. Rickey Henderson also made six All-Star teams with the A’s. The two-headed Mount Rushmore of Oakland relievers — Dennis Eckersley and Rollie Fingers — made four apiece (Eck was fifth in MVP voting in 1989 but didn’t make the All-Star team). So, the all-time leader is McGwire, who made nine in his first 11 seasons. Sadly, Tony Phillips never made an All-Star team.
First time: Paul Blackburn, SP
The A’s are pretty clearly in rebuild mode, and so their usual candidates, Matt Olson and Matt Chapman — candi-Matts! — are gone. The door is wide open for someone else. Jared Koenig is a great story, but probably not an All-Star. A few days ago, we might have made a case for Frankie Montas (who’s still not a bad option), but Blackburn went eight scoreless innings on Friday and is now sixth in the AL with a 2.31 ERA. Let’s make him an All-Star so the A’s can get one more prospect when they trade him next month!
(Top photo: Gregory Bull / AP Photos)