Even with as exhilarating of an offseason as we have had so far for all baseball fans, the ups and downs of the MLB offseason have made the 2020 regular season need to get here even faster. From the cheating scandal with the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox, to the players speaking out against all of the players that participated in the scandal and the fallout all across the league, it should make for one of the more interesting and action-packed seasons in a very long time.
While the All-Star Game does not happen until July 14, 2020, it is never too early to look ahead to it, especially when attempting to look at what the rosters could look like. Basing 2020 player expectations on 2019 stats and results is more of a guessing game than anything, but it still leads to there being some sort of grounds to go off of in terms of projections for the upcoming season.
With that being said, here are some projections for the rosters for both the National and American Leagues for the 2020 MLB All-Star Game.
C J.T. Realmuto, Philadelphia Phillies
1B Pete Alonso, New York Mets
2B Ozzie Albies, Atlanta Braves
SS Trevor Story, Colorado Rockies
3B Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies (if he is not traded)
LF Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers
CF Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers
RF Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers
Jorge Alfaro (C) Miami Marlins, Freddie Freeman (1B) Atlanta Braves, Christian Walker (1B) Arizona Diamondbacks, Keston Hiura (2B), Milwaukee Brewers, Javier Baez (SS) Chicago Cubs, Trea Turner (SS) Washington Nationals, Manny Machado (3B) San Diego Padres, Austin Riley (3B) Atlanta Braves, Juan Soto (LF) Washington Nationals, Ronald Acuna Jr. (CF) Atlanta Braves, Victor Robles (CF) Washington Nationals, Bryce Harper (RF) Philadelphia Phillies
Chris Paddack (SP) San Diego Padres, Kirby Yates (CL) San Diego Padres, Jacob deGrom (SP), New York Mets, Noah Syndergaard (SP), New York Mets, Max Scherzer (SP) Washington Nationals, Walker Buehler (SP), Los Angeles Dodgers, Luis Castillo (SP), Cincinnati Reds, Josh Hader (LHP), Milwaukee Brewers, Julio Urias (LHP), Los Angeles Dodgers, Raisel Iglesias (CL), Cincinnati Reds, Aaron Nola (SP), Philadelphia Phillies, Will Smith (LHP), Atlanta Braves
The starting lineup looks to be very different than what it was last year, as only Nolan Arenado, Christian Yelich, and Cody Bellinger become repeat starters two years in a row. That kind of turnover speaks to the type of talent that the NL is putting out on a yearly basis, and yet all of the new names in the starting lineup are household names too.
J.T. Realmuto makes his jump into the starting lineup from the Phillies, and he is joined by first baseman Pete Alonso and second baseman Ozzie Albies of the Atlanta Braves from the NL East division, which looks to have four playoff-potential squads in it. For Alonso, his foray into ASG activities began last year at the Home Run Derby, where he dueled with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. that showed the entire world that the sport of baseball is in great hands moving forward.
Trevor Story joins his fellow NL West friend Bellinger in the starting lineup, but the biggest addition here is Mookie Betts. After having joined the Los Angeles Dodgers in a blockbuster deal from the Boston Red Sox this offseason, Betts gets one season on the Dodgers before he becomes the biggest fish in the free-agency pool in the winter of 2020, so seeing him in the ASG in a Dodgers uniform and cap may take a little bit getting used to.
The bench is filled with tons of firepower too, as youngsters Jorge Alfaro, Christian Walker, Keston Hiura, and Austin Riley join the party and assert themselves among the current best in the game. Javier Baez, Ronald Acuna, Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, and Juan Soto are the biggest names on the NL bench that will easily be able to bring them back into a game late if they need a few long balls.
Pitching staff wise, there are not too many surprises here – Chris Paddack of the San Diego Padres is primed for a breakout season in 2020, and he should be able to join closer Kirby Yates and Machado in the MLB ASG. Luis Castillo of the Cincinnati Reds should be able to piece together a phenomenal season and help lead the upstart Redlegs back into contention, and southpaw closers Josh Hader and Will Smith look primed to resume their stout closing roles with Milwaukee and Atlanta, respectively.
A few notable misses may include Fernando Tatis Jr., Max Muncy, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, Willson Contreras, and Yadier Molina, among others, but the NL has just too much talent to be able to invite everyone deserving of a spot to the MLB ASG.
C Yasmani Grandal, Chicago White Sox
1B Matt Olson, Oakland Athletics
2B Jose Altuve, Houston Astros
SS Tim Anderson, Chicago White Sox
3B Anthony Rendon, Los Angeles Angels
LF Austin Meadows, Tampa Bay Rays
CF Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
RF Trey Mancini, Baltimore Orioles
DH Nelson Cruz, Minnesota Twins
Gary Sanchez (C) New York Yankees, Roberto Perez (C) Cleveland Indians, Dan Vogelbach (1B) Seattle Mariners, Carlos Santana (1B) Cleveland Indians, Whit Merrifield (2B) Kansas City Royals, Francisco Lindor (SS) Cleveland Indians, Matt Chapman (3B) Oakland Athletics, Rafael Devers (3B) Boston Red Sox, Andrew Benintendi (LF) Boston Red Sox, Max Kepler (CF) Minnesota Twins, Aaron Judge (RF) New York Yankees
Yusei Kikuchi (SP) Seattle Mariners, Mike Clevinger (SP) Cleveland Indians, Shane Bieber (SP), Cleveland Indians, Jose Berrios (SP), Minnesota Twins, Gerrit Cole (SP), New York Yankees, Blake Snell (LHP), Tampa Bay Rays, Aroldis Chapman (LHP), New York Yankees, Liam Hendriks (CL), Oakland Athletics, Brad Hand (LHP), Cleveland Indians, Tyler Glasnow (SP), Tampa Bay Rays, Matthew Boyd (LHP), Detroit Tigers, Mychal Givens (RHP), Baltimore Orioles
The AL has the same exact issues that the NL has – too much superstar power and not enough roster spots to go around. Mike Trout marks the only starter to have started last year and to be projected to start again in 2020, which speaks to not only the amount of talent in the AL, but also to how much the Astros scandal has impacted the sport and its perception.
Yes, Jose Altuve is still marked down as the starting second baseman for the AL in the MLB ASG – but his teammates Alex Bregman, George Springer, and Michael Brantley all were left off of the roster.
Yes, Altuve was one of the most implicated players in this whole ordeal – but the popularity of athletes knows no bounds, and fans will most likely choose to still stick with one player marred in a scandal, so my money is on Altuve.
Both Yasmani Grandal and Anthony Rendon came over from the NL this offseason and immediately slot into starting ASG roles on the AL side, and both Matt Olson and Tim Anderson should be able to continue their hot 2019 seasons into the first half of 2020, parlaying that into ASG starting bids.
On the bench, Dan Vogelbach, Whit Merrifield, Rafael Devers, and Max Kepler all project as wild cards for the AL, known enough by name to recognize them but not necessarily on the same level as some of their fellow bench members. The hardest starting lineup omission was that of Francisco Lindor, but with how the Cleveland Indians fell apart last year and how Anderson rose to the occasion to become a household name, Lindor’s role may have fallen off just enough to entice just a bench spot.
On the league’s pitching staff, super-rich man Gerrit Cole would most likely get the ball to start for the AL, and his fellow pitchers are all dominant in their own ways. From Jose Berrios and Blake Snell bringing their A+ stuff on the younger end of the ace spectrum, to Aroldis Chapman, Liam Hendriks, and Brad Hand helping shut down the game on the back end, to upstarts like Yusei Kikuchi, Mike Clevinger, Matthew Boyd, and Mychal Givens all bringing something fresh to the table, this ASG looks to be the AL’s to lose.