2024 MLB All-Star team reactions: Gunnar Henderson, Paul Skenes lead wave of first-timers

Thirty-two new All-Stars. Seventeen new pitchers. All ready to rock and roll next week at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

Here’s one thing to know about each of the 64 2024 MLB All-Stars.

The driving force behind Baltimore’s resurgence, Rutschman is set to make his first career All-Star start.

Toronto has disappointed, but Guerrero has rebounded from a bad first month to recapture his role as one of baseball’s best sluggers.

What a player. Altuve now trails only Ryne Sandberg, Roberto Alomar and Nellie Fox for most All-Star Game appearances by a second baseman.

The reigning American League Rookie of the Year has been one of baseball’s best players this season. If not for Aaron Judge, Henderson and his 27 first-half home runs would be in the mix for AL MVP.

Cleveland’s franchise man is having yet another sensational offensive season, with his 23 homers third in the American League behind only Judge and Henderson.

The monumental Yankees slugger won the All-Star fan vote because, well, he has 32 home runs, and it’s barely July.

Soto has somehow surpassed the supersonic expectations that followed him to the Bronx after the Yankees dealt for the generational outfielder over the winter. He and Judge are the only players in baseball with an OBP over .430.

After a so-so sophomore season, the impossible-to-strikeout Kwan has exploded with an incredible offensive campaign. His batting average still sits well over .350, sure, but he has added an impressive amount of power to his game this year.

Shohei Ohtani is in the National League now, which means Álvarez gets to start the All-Star Game. After a bad April, Houston has surged back into contention. Álvarez’s phenomenal June is a huge reason for that.

Salvy has scuffled over the past month, but a .916 OPS through May 31 was enough to earn him the nod. The only catchers to appear in more All-Star Games are Carlton Fisk, Johnny Bench, Mike Piazza, Yogi Berra and Iván Rodríguez.

Naylor is Cleveland’s first hitter with at least 20 homers at the All-Star Break since José Ramírez, after Francisco Lindor and Edwin Encarnación did it in 2018. The 27-year-old is a huge reason behind the Guardians’ six-game lead in the AL Central.

Semien was the only Texas Rangers hitter selected, which is notable because (1) they’re hosting, (2) they’re the defending champs, and (3) they had four starters last year.

A shoo-in, Witt is probably one of the 10 best players in baseball. He and Henderson will be competing for the AL starting shortstop spot for the next decade. This will be quite the homecoming for the 24-year-old, who played his high school baseball just a half-hour from Globe Life Field.

After an underwhelming 2023, the 29-year-old is back to his rip-roaring self, performing like the franchise player Minnesota paid him to be. It’ll be his first Midsummer Classic as a Twin.

Only Judge, Soto, Henderson and Kwan (all ASG starters) have a higher OPS than Boston’s squat third baseman. The 27-year-old collected his 1,000th career hit on Saturday, with an RBI single against Gerrit Cole and the Yankees.

Tucker was in the MVP conversation before a shin contusion a month ago sent him to the injured list. He’s still on the shelf, which means another American League outfielder (probably Baltimore’s Anthony Santander) will take his spot.

Nobody in the league pulls more fly balls than Paredes, who has been a bright spot for a scuffling Rays team that looks likely to sell at the deadline. But don’t expect Tampa to trade Paredes; the 25-year-old is under team control through 2027.

It’s an all-time cherry-picked stat but no less true: Duran is the first AL player ever with 100 hits, 10 triples, 10 homers and 20 steals before the All-Star break. He’s an electrifying, dynamic player in the middle of a breakout season.

Here’s a list of players with a higher slugging percentage than Greene since May 29: Aaron Judge, Yordan Álvarez, Shohei Ohtani, Bryce Harper and Gunnar Henderson.

In 2022, Fry had a .779 OPS in 119 games for Cleveland’s Triple-A club in Columbus. Through 66 games this season, he has a .920 OPS. The Guardians’ super-utility man is, by far, the most unlikely participant in this year’s All-Star Game.

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One of only nine pitchers this season with at least 100 innings and an ERA under 3.00, the veteran southpaw has been the bright spot in an Angels rotation that has the third-worst team ERA in baseball.

A contender to get the starting nod in Texas, Burnes has dealt — 112 2/3 innings with a 2.32 ERA — in his first year in Baltimore. The 2021 NL Cy Young is a free agent this year and will get big-time paid.

The only rep for a disgustingly horrible White Sox team, Crochet is undeniably deserving: The hardest-throwing left-hander in MLB also currently leads the league in strikeouts.

Seattle’s outstanding rotation is the reason they’re still two games up on Houston in the AL West, despite a rough past few weeks. Gilbert leads MLB in innings per start, an underrated statistic nowadays.

Houck has been a huge part of the Boston pitching renaissance that has the Red Sox firmly in postseason contention. He has thrown his slider a whopping 42% of the time this season, but hitters can’t touch it.

From 2018 to 2022, Lugo was a Mets reliever who would make an occasional spot start. He started 26 games for San Diego last season and looked like a solid mid-rotation addition for a Royals team searching for competence. Instead, the 34-year-old has dominated, posting the lowest ERA in the American League.

After another sterling start Sunday — 13 Ks and just one run allowed across seven frames — Skubal is making a real case to get the start in Texas. He has a 2.37 ERA in 110 innings.

Acquired from Texas in exchange for Aroldis Chapman at last year’s deadline, Ragans broke out with a phenomenal second half in 2023. He has continued that magic in ‘24 as the only American League hurler with at least 11 strikeouts per nine and fewer than 0.7 home runs allowed per nine.

Nobody in baseball throws harder than Miller, who averages 100.8 mph on a four-seam fastball that also has outrageous carry. The 25-year-old has been a hot commodity among contenders looking to bolster their bullpens, but it’s unlikely that Oakland moves a player with so much team control remaining.

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: Mason Miller #19 of the Oakland Athletics pitches during the game against the Kansas City Royals at the Oakland Coliseum on June 19, 2024 in Oakland, California. The Athletics defeated the Royals 5-1. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 19: Mason Miller #19 of the Oakland Athletics pitches during the game against the Kansas City Royals at the Oakland Coliseum on June 19, 2024 in Oakland, California. The Athletics defeated the Royals 5-1. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)

Nobody in baseball throws harder than Oakland reliever Mason Miller, whose fastball averages more than 100 mph. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)

The 37-year-old vet has allowed just three runs in 31 1/3 innings out of Texas’ bullpen and might be on the move if the Rangers decide to sell at the deadline.

The Yankees closer has been catastrophically bad over the past month, but he was so dominant for April and May that his full-season numbers still look pretty good.

An All-Star for the third straight season, Clase and his 99 mph cutter have rebounded from a relatively down second half last season. His 3.3% walk rate is eighth-lowest amongst relievers, which is totally bonkers considering how hard he throws.

Contreras could always hit, but his evolution into one of the game’s top defensive catchers after being dealt to Milwaukee ahead of 2023 has been remarkable. His numbers have tailed off slightly, but he’s still one of the best catchers in baseball.

If he comes off the injured list in time, this is somehow going to be Harper’s first time appearing in the All-Star Game as a Phillie. The ultimate showman won the National League fan vote.

Marte was outrageously locked in last October, helping Arizona reach the World Series for the first time since 2001. Fans apparently took notice, voting the switch-hitter into an All-Star starting spot for the second time in his career.

At this time last year, Turner was scuffling through his first season in Philadelphia. Things have very much changed. Despite missing about six weeks due to a hamstring issue, Turner was voted a starter because (1) he has great numbers and (2) Phillies fans hit the polls hard.

In April 2022, Bohm was an afterthought, caught on camera muttering “I hate this place” after he made a key error. Now he’s an All-Star starter. A touch more power and gradual defensive improvements at the hot corner have helped elevate the bushy-haired slugger’s game.

Once the game’s top prospect, Profar never lived up to the immense hype during his first 10 years as a big leaguer. That has changed in 2024. In a down year for National League outfielders, Profar leads that group in WAR and wRC+ and is second in batting average.

Tatis is injured and won’t play in the game, but his selection in the aftermath of his 2022 PED suspension is notable. Fans who voted the electric San Diego right fielder into the game seem to have either forgiven or forgotten.

A barrage of injuries has limited Yelich over the past few seasons, but he has been looking more like his old, MVP-winning self this season. The power hasn’t totally come back, but his keen eye and bat-to-ball skills have propelled him to a .912 OPS.

You know the deal. Los Angeles gave the generational, two-way talent a Brinks truck even though he’s not pitching this season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. Then there was the whole gambling scandal with his former interpreter. No matter. Ohtani blocks out the noise and keeps on raking. His 28 homers lead the NL.

Smith hit homers in four straight plate appearances over the weekend. He isn’t the sexiest player in baseball, but he is undoubtedly a crucial part of the Los Angeles juggernaut.

Ho hum, no duh. Freeman hasn’t hit for as much power this year, but an uptick in walks has helped make up the difference. He has made the All-Star Game every year since 2017.

The barrel-control wizard was dealt from Miami to San Diego in May and hasn’t missed a beat. Arraez really does only one thing well — hit for average — but he’s a delightful and unique player to watch.

A free agent at season’s end, could this be Alonso’s final All-Star Game as a Met? He has been great since the Mets turned things around in early June, but many will argue that shortstop Francisco Lindor would’ve been the more deserving rep.

Only two National League hitters — Shohei Ohtani and Bryce Harper — have been more productive by wRC+ over the past month than Abrams, who was part of the haul Washington acquired in the landmark Juan Soto trade back in 2022.

This guy is lightning in a bottle. Hopefully De La Cruz gets multiple at-bats in Texas because showcasing a singular talent such as he is the entire point of the All-Star Game.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 04: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT)  Elly De La Cruz #44 of the Cincinnati Reds advances to third base during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on July 04, 2024 in New York City. The reds defeated the Yankees 8-4. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 04: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT)  Elly De La Cruz #44 of the Cincinnati Reds advances to third base during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on July 04, 2024 in New York City. The reds defeated the Yankees 8-4. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Cincinnati’s Elly De La Cruz should bring all kinds of excitement to his first All-Star Game. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The Rockies stink, but McMahon sure doesn’t. The 29-year-old is having the best offensive season of his eight-year career.

When the Dodgers signed Hernandez on a hefty one-year deal this winter, it felt opulent; the rich just getting richer. But injuries to Max Muncy and then Mookie Betts have chipped away at Los Angeles’ lineup, making Hernández an absolutely crucial piece.

Despite an unprecedented transition to shortstop as a 31-year-old, Betts kept his offensive numbers at an elite level before a wayward pitch fractured a bone in his hand and landed him on the IL. Still injured, Mookie won’t make the trip, which opens up a spot for another NL infielder (probably Francisco Lindor).

Younger than all the candidates to go first overall in this year’s MLB Draft, Merrill’s rapid evolution from promising shortstop prospect to top-five center fielder in MLB has been downright remarkable. Before February, he hadn’t played an inning in center field as a pro, and now he’s an All-Star!

Ramos didn’t even begin the season on San Francisco’s Opening Day roster. But an injury to Jung Hoo Lee opened the door, and the 24-year-old Puerto Rican has taken full advantage. He’s a top-five most unlikely participant.

The Pittsburgh outfielder had a 25-game hit streak this year, the longest hit streak by a Pirate since 2003.

Ozuna’s 72 RBI lead the National League. He has been indispensable for a disappointing Braves offense that is sending just one position player to the All-Star Game for the first time since 2017 (Ender Inciarte).

The cold-blooded, slow-heartbeat southpaw has struggled in his past two outings, but before that, he had a comically low 1.83 ERA through 16 starts. It has been fun watching Suárez, a playoff staple for Philly the past two years, put everything together in the regular season.

Glasnow’s ERA (3.47) doesn’t tell the whole story. He’s punching out hitters at an absurd rate and has been somewhat unfortunate with batted ball luck. This is a no-brainer selection.

The league is starting to figure out the Japanese rookie, who has a 5.45 ERA since June 1. But Imanaga was so sensational in his first 10 starts (1.86 ERA) that his All-Star nod as the lone Chicago Cub is well-deserved.

People were surprised when Atlanta signed López to be in the starting rotation, considering the 30-year-old had been a full-time reliever since the middle of 2021. Joke’s on them; six more scoreless frames on Sunday lowered López’s league-leading starter ERA to 1.71.

Webb collects frames like an art dealer. The San Francisco sinkerballer is set to lead MLB in innings for the second consecutive season.

Skenes is the first player in MLB history to make the All-Star team after being drafted first overall the previous year. He is scintillating, exhilarating, must-see TV.

Pirates pitcher Paul Skenes has rapidly risen from exciting prospect to MLB All-Star. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)Pirates pitcher Paul Skenes has rapidly risen from exciting prospect to MLB All-Star. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

Pirates pitcher Paul Skenes has rapidly risen from exciting prospect to MLB All-Star. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

It has been a bounce-back year for the veteran lefty in his first season with Atlanta. A 2.71 ERA in 99 2/3 innings with 127 punchouts has him in the mix to start for the National League.

Odd to think that it’s only the second All-Star Game for Wheeler, who has accumulated the most FanGraphs pitching WAR since the start of 2021.

The Cardinals have 47 wins, and Helsley has 31 saves. That’s the most saves in a first half since Edwin Díaz locked down 36 at the break for the 2018 Mariners.

Scott, who is a lock to be traded at the deadline, leads all relievers in FanGraphs WAR since the beginning of last season.

San Diego’s 33-year-old closer struggled with injuries and ineffectiveness last season but has been one of baseball’s best relievers so far in 2024, with a 1.77 ERA in 36 appearances.

The long-locked lefty has allowed just one homer out of Philadelphia’s ‘pen this season, a huge factor behind his sparkling 1.64 ERA.

What a story for Hoffman, who was once a highly touted prospect in the Rockies system before injuries scuttled his career in Colorado. He remade himself as a fuel-chucking reliever and is now a crucial, high-leverage arm for the MLB-leading Phillies.

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