Four Potential First-time MLB All-Stars

The 2024 Major League Baseball (MLB) season is nearing the one-month mark. While it is too early to tell what the rest of the season will look like, it is not too soon to predict some notable contenders with a strong chance of making their first All-Star Game appearances. 

Potential First-Time All-Stars in 2024

All-Star-Game Overview 

The annual “Midsummer Classic”, a matchup pitting the American League (AL) stars against those in the National League (NL), will be held July 16 at Globe Life Field, the home field of the reigning champion Texas Rangers.

The NL emerged victorious in this contest last year at the home of the Seattle Mariners, registering their first win over the opposing league in a decade. In the All-Star Game, fans watch the best and most exciting players compete against each other, with perennial stars like Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani, Ronald Acuña Jr, and Mike Trout headlining the rosters. Yet, every year, new players emerge as first-time All-Stars, a testament to the wealth of talent spread across the league.

For instance, in 2023, 33 players earned All-Star nods for the first time, tying for the eighth most ever in this special event. Although there may not be as many this summer, some players will likely make their inaugural appearances, especially due to injuries that have already ended the seasons of numerous touted pitchers and will continue to wreck pitching staffs and daily starting lineups.

How Voting Works

Traditionally, baseball fans vote for both leagues’ nine starting position players and then the remaining players are voted in either by their fellow players or the Commissioner’s Office. Each team must have at least one representative, yet usually, the most popular teams and those performing the best have the most players in this game. 

2024 New Star Predictions

The following exciting players look destined to parlay their strong season-opening stretch into an inaugural All-Star selection, provided they don’t get injured and forced out of action for an extended period.

1) Mason Miller 

Through the season’s first 20 games, Oakland Athletics’ flamethrower Mason Miller has cemented himself as one of the best and most exciting relief pitchers to watch. Miller has completed a rapid ascent from an amateur prospect not even on the radar to one of the best young pitchers in the MLB.

The club’s third-round draft pick in 2021 made his MLB debut around a year ago. His initial four starts featured glimpses of brilliance. Then he missed multiple months with a sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament (UCL), the latest ailment for this injury-prone player. He pitched out of the bullpen upon his return in September, a role that has carried over to this year as the club wants to limit his innings so he does not get hurt again.

On an A’s franchise devoid of excitement on and off the field, Miller has been one bright spot, using his electric stuff to record four saves in seven appearances. Look for Miller to represent Oakland on the AL’s pitching staff as his talent deserves to be seen on a national stage.

2) Elly De La Cruz

Like Miller, Cincinnati Reds’ shortstop Elly De La Cruz debuted last year and can do some insane things on the baseball field. The switch-hitting 22-year-old Dominican Republic native can blast moon-shot home runs from each side of the plate, put his elite speed to use on the basepaths, and has remained at shortstop in the Major Leagues despite some initial defensive questions.

The youngster with a sky-high ceiling is off to a great start this year, batting .306 with six home runs, 15 RBIs, and 10 stolen bases in 72 at-bats. In one game against the Milwaukee Brewers, he hit two home runs: a 450 ft blast and an inside-the-park one in which he raced around the bases once the sinking ball got by the diving Brewers’ center fielder.

The All-Star Game is a place for stars, and De La Cruz deserves to be among them if he can continue working on making contact and limiting strikeouts.

3) Bobby Witt Jr

After spending more money than expected in free agency this winter, the Kansas City Royals are off to a strong 13-9 start led by the club’s superstar shortstop, Bobby Witt Jr, who is looking to take another leap in his third season. In the early goings, Witt is batting .302 with four home runs and eight RBIs, and he is sure to feature front and center in the Royals lineup for the rest of the season.

If this franchise face can maintain his fast start, he could aid a Royals’ team looking to flip the switch back toward contention. If not Witt Jr, another potential Royals’ nominee may be left-handed starting pitcher Cole Ragans, who has morphed into a top-of-the-rotation pitcher since the team traded for him from the Rangers.

4) Josh Naylor 

For the past few seasons, the Cleveland Guardians’ offense seemed to lack enough punch beyond superstar third baseman José Ramirez. Currently, the Guardians have the best record in the AL because for once the club’s offense is leading the charge instead of its pitching. Ramirez has contributed, but so has Josh Naylor, who cannot be stopped now.

Following his bases-clearing double to give his club needed insurance runs and secure the sweep over the A’s, the eldest of the three Naylor brothers, all of whom are professional baseball players, is batting .325 with six home runs and 20 RBIs. Coming off a 2023 campaign in which he hit 17 home runs and drove in almost 100, it feels like this could be the year that Naylor finally makes the All-Star roster.

These are just a few potential first-time All-Stars. The next few months will reveal which of these players remains on the path to a historic achievement, as well as others who will join them on the field in Texas for what is always a special and unique game.

Main Image: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

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