After being deprived of a MLB All-Star Game in 2020, the Midsummer Classic will return this season on July 13.
Voting begins on June 3, which is less than two weeks away.
Many players are having breakout years, and will likely get recognition with their first-career All-Star selections.
Who might those players be?
5. Jesse Winker
Jesse Winker has been underrated for years now, but that should end in 2021.
Winker is playing at an MVP-caliber level, leading the league in slugging (.763), OPS (1.085) and OPS+ (180).
He also led the league in batting (.355) and total bases (106) as recently as Sunday.
Jesse Winker hit the Power Stacks. 😱
That's 5 HR in his last 3 games. pic.twitter.com/WPMxz0V0gg
— MLB (@MLB) May 23, 2021
Winker has arguably been deserving of All-Star honors on multiple occasions (he averaged a .380 OBP over his other four seasons), but he’s never hit for average in the way that he is this year.
4. Nick Castellanos
Nick Castellanos has been a menace at the plate this year.
This is his ninth MLB season, and he will likely be headed to his first All-Star Game.
Castellanos has had some good years, but he’s never played at this level before.
The 29-year-old is batting .356 with a 1.085 OPS and a 180 OPS+.
He’s on pace for a career-high 43 home runs and is also on a massive 9.7 WAR trajectory.
In a year where offense is down across the board, it’s nice to see a player like Castellanos having a breakout season.
3. Yermin Mercedes
Yermin Mercedes is the runaway favorite for the American League Rookie of the Year award, and for good reason.
He’s having a historic rookie year, slashing .347/.400/.531.
It’s somewhat rare to see a player enter the league as a designated hitter, but Mercedes did just that and he’s tearing it up at the Major League level.
Truthfully, the fact that Mercedes is a DH might be the only thing holding him back from being a legitimate MVP candidate this season.
There is no question that the 28-year-old will find himself in Colorado for this year’s All-Star Game.
2. Kevin Gausman
In 2019, it seemed like Kevin Gausman’s best years were behind him, but he’s proving that that couldn’t be further from true.
Over nine starts for the Giants, Gausman has a 1.66 ERA, 2.48 WHIP and 0.80 WHIP.
Gausman’s worst start of the year came April 13 against the Reds, and if you were to remove that outing, he’d have an outrageous 1.02 ERA.
That start aside, Gausman has allowed one run or less in all of his outings this season.
He has a career 4.11 ERA, so this breakout year truly does come as a surprise.
Barring a collapse, Gausman will get the All-Star selection that he deserves.
1. Shohei Ohtani
It feels wrong that it’s taken this long to get Shohei Ohtani to an All-Star Game, but we should finally get a chance to enjoy the two-way talent in this year’s Midsummer Classic.
At the plate, Ohtani has a .938 OPS and leads the league in total bases with 104.
On the mound, he has a 2.27 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 30.1 innings.
When he’s pitching, Ohtani makes hitting look hard, and when he’s hitting, he makes pitching look hard.
It feels like a lot of people are talking about Shohei Ohtani but still nowhere near enough people are talking about Shohei Ohtani.
What he’s doing in baseball is insane.
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) May 18, 2021
Ohtani is the MVP favorite right now and has certainly earned his first All-Star selection.