Major League Baseball is awash with young talent. Transcendent stars like the Angels Mike Trout and the Nationals Bryce Harper headline a group of twentysomethings who are dominating the league.
While that pair made its first All-Star appearances last season, several more young stars are compiling 2013 seasons deserving of their own All-Star debuts.
Everyone knows Miguel Cabrera, Buster Posey, and Justin Verlander will be in Citi Field for the All-Star Game on July 16, but here’s a list of 14 players who deserve to finally join the headliners.
Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles, first baseman
The only man between Miguel Cabrera and baseball’s first back-to-back triple crown, Davis is redefining the concept of a breakout season. His 23 homers leads baseball and his .335 average and 60 RBI are second to Cabrera in the AL. Once average against righties (.255 BA from 2010-2012), he is abusing such pitchers to the tune of a .359 average. The 27-year-old headlines this list.
Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks, first baseman
In his second full season Goldschmidt is a legitimate MVP candidate with a .301/.381/.543 line. His 59 RBI is third best in baseball and ranks among the top defensive first baseman in baseball. The best player on NL West-leading D’Backs is a lock to make his first appearance and deserves to start.
Gerardo Parra, Arizona Diamondbacks, right fielder
The 2011 Gold Glove winner is batting .315 with a .379 on-base percentage, both career bests in his fifth season. The 26-year-old is one of baseball’s top fielding/on-base talents.
Shelby Miller, St. Louis Cardinals, starting pitcher
The 22-year-old Texan boasts baseball’s sixth highest K/9 at 10.07. He made national headlines May 10 when he allowed a measly single before retiring 27 straight Colorado Rockies.
Josh Donaldson, Oakland Athletics, third baseman
It’s not often a 27-year-old converted catcher playing third base in his first full season deserves an All-Star nod. Leave it to the A’s to field one who does. His .307/.372/.506 line has helped him put together a season of comparable value to Yadier Molina and Joe Mauer, according to Fangraphs.
Hisashi Iwakuma, Seattle Mariners, starting pitcher
The best pitcher you’ve never heard of. The 32-year-old Japanese import has been Seattle’s best pitcher this season, no small feat when Felix Hernandez is your teammate. His 0.89 WHIP is second best among starters and his 3.10 FIP solidifies his greatness as no joke.
Jean Segura, Milwaukee Brews, shortstop
The 23-year-old Dominican’s .330 average is seventh best in baseball and his 19 steals are fifth. Consider his 10 home runs and you have one of the best young power/speed talents in the game.
Patrick Corbin, Arizona Diamondbacks, starting pitcher
Baseball has reached an enlightened age where a starter’s record is no longer the first metric used to judge their value…but still, 9-0 looks pretty cool. Corbin has yet to allow more than four earned runs in an outing, which helps account for his 2.28 ERA. His fielding-independent pitching (FIP) is 3.05, which suggests he is benefiting a bit from solid defence behind him, but still pitching extremely well.
Matt Harvey, New York Mets, starting pitcher
The reason the Mets are watchable every five days, the rookie brings to mind shades of his idol, Roger Clemens, on the hill. His 9.46 K/9 is ninth in baseball and his 2.14 FIP is third. Harvey has a chance to make his maiden All-Star appearance at home as the starter. Pretty cool.
Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles, third baseman
The 20-year-old wunderkind was a late season call-up last season and instantly became one of baseball’s best players. He currently has a 14-game hitting streak and his 32 doubles is the most in baseball by nine. Just wait until those doubles start leaving the yard.
Anibal Sanchez, Detroit Tigers, starting pitcher
Sanchez flashed his potential when he threw a no-hitter his rookie year with the Florida Marlins. Since then, he has been an average/below-average starter, until this year. His 11.33 K/9 and 2.07 FIP rank second in baseball.
Carlos Gomez, Milwaukee Brewers, centre fielder
A free-swinger with a previous career best OBP of .305, Gomez is on pace to set career numbers in nearly every category. His .317/.356/.587 are all career highs and his 12 home runs put him well on the way to top his previous best 19. His eight triples are tied for the most in baseball with his teammate Segura.
Jason Grilli, Pittsburgh Pirates, closer
Perfect in his 25 save opportunities, Grilli has a 0.78 walks and hits per innings pitched (WHIP) and 0.88 ERA.
Mark Melancon, Pittsburgh Pirates, reliever
The 28-year-old journeyman has been an indispensable cog in the Buco’s bullpen. Melancon’s 1.05 ERA and and 37 K’s in 34.1 IP make him baseball’s best non-closing reliever this year.
Did we miss anyone? Let us know. If you’d like to vote for the All-Star Game, click here.
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