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BSP All-Star Round Table

All-Star Ballot
Photo by Brian Murphy,

All-Star Round Table: BSP Edition

The MLB season is now almost halfway done. It’s time for Back Sports Page baseball writers to converge on an All-Star Roundtable to discuss the selections for the first phase of the ballot voting.

For a previous Round Table, check out Cliff Connors’ March piece on season predictions.

All-Star Round Table: Our votes for each position and why –

All-Star Round Table: AL Catcher –

Ben Schneider Adley Rutschman, Orioles

Rutschman has quickly established himself as the best catcher in the AL. The All-Star Game is all about offense, but Adley excels at the plate and behind it, as well. He is the leader of a resurgent Orioles squad.

Nate Powalie Salvador Perez, Royals

Despite what’s been a down year for the Royals, Salvador Perez continues to be a consistent presence. Combine that with a healthy .268 average, 14 homers, 37 RBIs, and an OPS just shy of .800, Perez is a perennial All-Star candidate at catcher.

Paulina Vairo –  Adley Rutschman, Orioles

The Orioles have been superb so far and so has Rutschman. He leads the league in hits for a catcher with 73 while totaling 10 home runs and 32 RBI’s while maintaining a .277 batting average. The young catcher is in his second season in the big leagues and could see himself playing in the All-Star game for his upstanding performances both at and behind the plate for Baltimore this season.

Jeremy Gretzer – Adley Rutschman, Orioles

Adley Rustchman has come on to the MLB scene like a freight train. He is a big part of Baltimore success as they are 2nd in the AL East standings. Rutschman is currently increasing his walk rate. Along with his .272 AVG, he has a .808 OPS, which is top 3 in AL catchers.

Rob Korensky – Adley Rutschman, Orioles

Trey Plummer – Adley Rutschman, Orioles

Cliff Connors – Adley Rutschman, Orioles

As the voting standings have indicated, the top two in this race are Rutschman and Salvador Perez. I’m going with Rutschman here because, despite Perez’s better slugging numbers, Rutschman has been a better overall batter, best evidenced by an OPS+ 17 points higher (130, compared to Perez’s 113). Also, it doesn’t hurt that Baltimore has the second-best record in the American League (especially compared to Perez’s Royals, saddled with the second-worst).

Jack Devin Jonah Heim, Rangers

Brian Ramos – Adley Rutschman, Orioles

Rutschmann is already making his case to being the best catcher in the American League and one of the best catchers in baseball. His .280 batting average with 10 homers and 32 RBI’s is impressive. However, what is even more is his low strikeout rate at just 13.2%. His wOBA or weighted base on average is .359 and has a wRC+ of 131. Meaning, Rutschmann is 31% better than the average catcher.

All-Star Round Table: AL First Baseman –

Ben Schneider Yandy Diaz, Rays
One of many pleasant surprises on the Rays, Diaz is tapping into power no one thought he had before this season. His OPS is 90 points higher than his career best, and he is only two homers short of his career high less than halfway through the season. In a down year for AL first basemen, Diaz has stepped up.

Nate Powalie Josh Naylor, Guardians

Sure, I may be biased here, but the fact that Naylor leads all AL first basemen in RBIs and he’s only 10th in All-Star voting seems criminal to me. Naylor is slowly emerging into one of the top-flight left-handed hitting first basemen of the game.

Paulina Vairo – Yandy Diaz, Tampa Bay Rays

Diaz is among the league leaders in hits with a batting average of .303 in 63 games. On top of this, his slugging percentage is at a career high with .515 with an OPS of .909. With 12 home runs, Diaz is on pace of surpassing his career high of 14, with a projection of about 20 home runs before the season ends. 

Jeremy Gretzer – Yandy Diaz

Diaz is a primary culprit as to why the Tampa Bay Rays are the best team in the MLB. He leads all first basemen in BA and has career highs in nearly every category. OPS this season among 1B are hard to come by. Diaz leads all 1B with a .914 OPS.

Rob Korensky – Yandy Diaz, Rays

Trey Plummer Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays

Cliff Connors – Yandy Diaz, Rays

No fellow first baseman in the American League is within 100 points of Diaz’s elite .909 OPS. He’s played an adequate number of games (enough to lead the group in home runs), so there’s no reason he should be second in voting, despite Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s more impressive career resume.

Jack Devin Anthony Rizzo, Yankees

Brian Ramos – Yandy Diaz, Rays

Diaz is the simple and obvious answer here. .302 batting average to go along with 12 dingers and 36 RBI’s. He is a key part to the dominant Rays offense and has an insane wRC+ of 161. 


AL Second Baseman –

Ben Schneider Marcus Semien, Rangers

With great hitters playing shortstop nowadays, second base offense seems pretty underwhelming. Semien has rebounded splendidly in the second year of his mega-contract and is lapping the competition. I generally prioritized health for my ballot, which gives Semien a clear edge over Jose Altuve.

Nate Powalie Whit Merrifield, Blue Jays

Sure, while Marcus Semien is having a banner year early on, one of the surprising sleepers at second base is Whit Merrifield. He might not have the power numbers Semien has, but he’s a big on base threat, as referenced by a .305 average. He could be someone who can get an offense going with how frequently he gets on base. 

Paulina Vairo Brandon Drury, Angels

The 30-year-old is playing for his seventh team in the big leagues while turning into one of the best infielders in the American League. In 67 games, he is batting .271 while totaling 12 home runs and 37 RBI’s. He has been snubbed from the All Star roster three times in his career, hoping that he can finally make the roster with the Angels.

Jeremy Gretzer – Marcus Semien, Rangers

Semien vs Drury: It’s tough, but although Semien has regressed a bit over the past few weeks, he is still my pick for second base. A near .800 OPS topped with a 120 OPS+, Semien can hit for power and get on base reliably. He’s also been performing well with RISP, as he’s had 54 driven in.

Rob Korensky – Marcus Semien, Rangers

Trey Plummer – Marcus Semien, Rangers

Cliff Connors – Marcus Semien, Rangers

The two batting leaders at second base are Semien and Brandon Drury. Their stats are nearly identical (both with an OPS+ of 120), and the only statistic with significant separation between the two is RBIs, where Semien tops Drury 54 to 37. That’s enough to decide the close race for me.

Jack Devin – Marcus Semien, Rangers

Brian Ramos – Marcus Semien, Rangers

Semien continues to be one of the best players on the Rangers and one of the hottest second baseman in baseball. His ten homers and 54 RBI’s along with his seven stolen bases is a big part of why they might win the division instead of the usual Houston Astros.

All-Star Round Table: AL Third Baseman –

Ben Schneider Josh Jung, Rangers

Josh Jung was a fringe contender for Rookie of the Year preseason, but he is now miles ahead of any other first-year player in the AL. Not only that, but Jung is pacing the best offense in baseball while the competition can only look on.

Nate PowalieJose Ramirez, Guardians

Another case where my bias shows. But Jose Ramirez is in it for the long haul. Ramirez is the true firepower of Cleveland, and his fan favorite play makes him difficult to pass up for the all-star ballot. 

Paulina Vairo – Josh Jung, Rangers

Entering his second season in the MLB, Jung has been undoubtedly one of the best third baseman’s in the league. He is tied for third most home runs among third basemans in the league, with just one hit away from becoming the league leader in that position. Jung is also batting .279, which is a 73% increase from 2022. Texas can thank his bat for their offensive success in 2023, leading the majors in team RBI’s with 427 holding a five game lead in first in the AL West over the Angels. 

Jeremy Gretzer – Jose Ramirez

Josh Jung nearly made it, but Ramirez has veteran experience, as well as higher numbers in Batting AVG (.293), OPS+ (141), a .869 OPS along with a .514 slugging. He may only have 11 homers compared to Jung’s 15, but Ramirez has more total bases, indicating his frequency to hit balls more in the gap.

Rob Korensky – Josh Jung, Rangers

Trey Plummer – Josh Jung, Rangers

Cliff Connors – Jose Ramirez, Guardians

In an extremely close third baseman class, I went with Ramirez. His OPS and batting average are the best of the group, and his home run and RBI numbers are close enough to the top.

Jack Devin – Josh Jung, Rangers

Brian Ramos – Josh Jung, Rangers

In my opinion, this was probably the toughest to choose from as Jose Ramirez of the Guardians. However, I ultimately went with Jung due to the fact that he has four more home runs, 10 more runs, and one more RBI. Also, Jung has a higher slugging, wOBA, and wRC+.


AL Shortstop 

Ben Schneider Bo Bichette, Blue Jays

While the Blue Jays have underperformed to this point, Bichette looks like the best version of himself. His slash line is above his career averages, and he currently leads the Junior Circuit in hits. Imagine if the rest of the roster woke up.

Nate PowalieCorey Seager, Rangers

Seags is putting together a lights-out first half. A .358 average, 10 bombs, and an OPS of 1.056 are impressive numbers to bolster your case. And the summer heat of Texas is sure to give a major boost to his stat line.

Paulina Vairo – Bo Bichette, Blue Jays 

Bichette could be an undisputed All-Star, leading all American League shortstops in hits, homeruns, RBI’s and qualified batting average. With 101 hits, he is second overall in the major leagues while also maintaining one of the highest batting averages. Not to mention that he is single-handedly carrying the Blue Jays’ offense. There is no doubt that he will be the starting shortstop for the American League in Seattle. 

Rob Korensky – Bo Bichette, Blue Jays 

Trey Plummer – Bo Bichette, Blue Jays

Cliff Connors – Bo Bichette, Blue Jays

Bichette is my pick in a three-man AL shortstop race. He tops Wander Franco in most batting statistics, but Corey Seager has been absolutely dominant when he’s playing. Unfortunately for Seager, I don’t believe he’s played enough games to warrant a selection over Bichette.

Jack Devin – Bo Bichette, Blue Jays

Brian Ramos – Bo Bichette, Blue Jays

Bichette might not only have the best hair in baseball but he is also the best shortstop in baseball. His .317 batting average helps him get on base consistently in addition to his 14 home runs and 46 RBI’s. He also has a .508 slugging.


All-Star Round Table: AL Outfielders

Ben SchneiderRandy Arozarena, Rays, Austin Hays, Orioles, Luis Robert, White Sox

Unlike with postseason awards, I have no problem with making biased selections for the All-Star Games. You won’t find any Yankees here, and Mike Trout is honestly not one of the three best outfielders this season. Arozarena and Robert are flashy players who deserve more attention, while Hays is having by far his best season with little fanfare.

Nate Powalie – Randy Arozarena, Rays, Aaron Judge, Yankees, Alex Verdugo, Red Sox

Arozarena is flashy, but Judge should be the gold standard of All-Star outfielders. I also added Alex Verdugo because his style of play is similar to that of one Mookie Betts. 

Paulina Vairo -Randy Arozarena, Rays, Aaron Judge, Yankees, Yordan Alvarez, Astros 

Even on the injured list, Judge has already hit 19 home runs in 49 games. Arozarena has also been a beast with the Rays, who are flying high in the AL East. Alvarez is also injured, but is still doing great things with 17 home runs and 55 RBI’s. 

Jeremy Gretzer – Randy Arozarena, Rays, Yordan Alvarez, Astros,  Aaron Judge, Yankees

Rob Korensky – Randy Arozarena, Rays, Aaron Judge, Yankees, Yordan Alvarez, Astros 

Trey Plummer – Yordan Alvarez, Astros, Randy Arozarena, Rays, Mike Trout, Angels

Cliff Connors – Aaron Judge, Yankees, Yordan Alvarez, Astros, Randy Arozarena, Rays

Jack Devin – Yordan Alvarez, Astros, Austin Hays, Orioles, Aaron Judge, Yankees 

Brian Ramos – Yordan Alvarez, Astros, Adolis Garcia, Rangers, Randy Arozarena, Rays

My outfield would be different if reigning AL MVP Aaron Judge was healthy. He is easily the best player in baseball, all bias aside as a Yankees fan. Even though Trout is a superstar and a fan favorite, he simply is not having as good of a year as the other three. But Alvarez, Garcia, and Arozarena are each having solid seasons with double digit home runs and they are top-three outfielders in RBI’s.

AL Designated Hitter –

Ben Schneider Shohei Ohtani, Angels

No explanation needed here.

Nate Powalie – Shohei Ohtani, Angels

Ditto, Ben. (Side note: I so wanted to pick Miguel Cabrera because this is his final season.)

Paulina Vairo – Shohei Ohtani, Angels

Ohtani has received the most votes for All Star and is the current favorite for AL MVP. He leads the majors in home runs with 24, not to mention his 3.13 ERA with a 1.04 WHIP. It is hard to think that Ohtani could have a better season than the last, but is on pace for 47 home runs. 

Jeremy Gretzer – Shohei Ohtani, Angels

No Debate here.

Rob Korensky – Shohei Ohtani, Angels

Trey Plummer – Shohei Ohtani, Angels

Cliff Connors – Shohei Ohtani, Angels

As everyone has made clear, there’s no question about this selection.

Jack Devin – Shohei Ohtani, Angels

Brian Ramos – Shohei Ohtani, Angels

Like Ben, not really an explanation needed. He is after Judge the best player in baseball especially with his unique style of being able to pitch and hit at an elite level.


All-Star Round Table: National League All-Stars –

Thoughts on NL Catcher –

Ben Schneider Sean Murphy, Braves

During his tenure with the A’s, Murphy was a decent hitter and an excellent defender. Now that he has escaped the Coliseum, Murphy is crushing the baseball. He has passed JT Realmuto for best catcher in the NL.

Nate Powalie Will Smith, Dodgers

There were a couple of good options here. Sean Murphy was one. But something about Will Smith just makes sense. A 2.5 WAR and a healthy .917 OPS are certainly All-Star likable numbers.

Paulina Vairo – Will Smith, Dodgers

Smith has been the league’s best offensive catcher, with a .293 batting average, which is first in the league among catchers. His OPS this season is a 88% increase from last season, which is a far improvement from other catchers in the league. 

Jeremy Gretzer – Will Smith, Dodgers

Rob Korensky – Sean Murphy, Braves 

Trey Plummer – Sean Murphy, Braves

Cliff Connors – Will Smith, Dodgers

Jack Devin – Sean Murphy, Braves

Brian Ramos – Sean Murphy, Braves

This one is easy as Sean Murphy has been firing on all cylinders with 12 home runs and 42 RBI’s. Also, a .535 slugging percentage is insane and his .287 batting average is also very good considering this year has been an underwhelming year for most catchers.


All-Star Round Table: NL First Baseman –

Ben SchneiderLaMonte Wade Jr., Giants

The “correct” answer here is Freddie Freeman, but Wade deserves a lot of love. He is carrying the streaking Giants with a .415 on-base percentage, and his other skills are nothing to sneeze at, either.

Nate PowalieChristian Walker, Diamondbacks

No one expected the D-Backs to be playing as well as they have. Christian Walker is one of the reasons why. He leads the team with 20 doubles and 49 RBIs, and is second to only rookie Corbin Carroll with 15 dingers. He almost kinda plays similar to an Albert Pujols.

Paulina Vairo Freddie Freeman, Dodgers

Freeman is by far the best first baseman in the National League, leading the league in hits and batting average for that position. The six-time all star could be on his way to his seventh and his potential third in a row while keeping healthy and consistent within the last few seasons. 

Jeremy Gretzer – Freddie Freeman, Dodgers

Rob Korensky – Freddie Freeman, Dodgers

Trey Plummer – Freddie Freeman, LA Dodgers

Cliff Connors – Freddie Freeman, Dodgers

Jack Devin – Freddie Freeman, Dodgers

Brian Ramos – Freddie Freeman, Dodgers

Freddie Freeman has been insane this season as he shows no sign of regressing at 33 years old. A .324 batting average with 46 RBI’s should not be taken lightly. Also, he has never been known for his speed but also has nine stolen bases this season.


All-Star Round Table: NL Second Baseman –

Ben Schneider Luis Arraez, Marlins

He is chasing .400. I hope he plays the whole game and goes 5-5 with the world watching.

Nate Powalie – Luis Arraez, Marlins

See Ben.

Paulina Vairo – Luis Arraez, Marlins

Arraez has stunned the league while hovering over a .400 average. He leads the league in hits with 105, failing to go more than three games without a hit. This should be a no-brainer for starting second baseman for the National League, who could potentially end the season batting around .400.

Jeremy Gretzer – Luis Arraez, Marlins

Rob Korensky – Luis Arraez, Marlins

Trey Plummer – Luis Arraez, Marlins

Cliff Connors – Luis Arraez, Marlins

Jack Devin – Luis Arraez, Marlins

Brian Ramos – Luis Arraez, Marlins

Simply put, one of the best pure contact hitters in awhile. Currently hitting .400 with 35 RBI’s. He has been a huge part of keeping the Miami Marlins in the playoff picture. 


All-Star Round Table: NL Third Baseman –

Ben Schneider Ryan McMahon, Rockies

The many stars at third base are all having down years. McMahon is one of the few bright spots on the Rockies and gets lost in the shuffle given how tough his team is to watch. McMahon is finally the above-average player he always seemed capable of being.

Nate PowalieNolan Arenado, Cardinals

Nolan Arenado felt like an easy choice based on his previous experience. Simple as that.

Paulina Vairo – Nolan Arenado, Cardinals

Arenado has been the little light of the Cardinals’ struggling lineup, batting a .272 with 15 home runs and 50 RBI’s. Despite his slugging percentage slightly lower than last season, he is continuing to rank and bring in runners for the team.

Jeremy Gretzer – Nolan Arenado, Cardinals

Rob Korensky – Nolan Arenado, Cardinals

Trey PlummerAustin Riley, Braves

Cliff Connors – Nolan Arenado, Cardinals

Jack Devin – Nolan Arenado, Cardinals

Brian Ramos – Nolan Arenado, Cardinals

Arenado had an awful start to the beginning of the year, but now he has been on fire and got his batting average all the way up to .275. His 15 home runs and 49 RBI’s have also been a huge part of the Cardinals offense. It is not his fault they are last in the NL Central and 13 games under .500.


All-Star Round Table: NL Shortstop –

Ben Schneider Geraldo Perdomo, Diamondbacks

Perdomo is handily outperforming his expected stats, the All-Star Game is only about what has already happened. The Diamondbacks are in first place in part because Perdomo is in the midst of a huge breakout.

Nate PowalieMatt McLain, Reds

Honestly, Matt McLain is surprising a lot of people as a rookie shortstop. That, and considering how hot the Reds are, McLain may be a sleeper pick for Rookie of the Year in the NL.

Paulina VairoFrancisco Lindor, Mets

The Mets have had a disappointing season, but they could lean on Lindor as their only light to their season. He leads all shortstops in RBI’s with 51 while maintaining a .740 OPS. He has struggled with getting big hits, which has been a huge part of the Mets’ struggles, however continues to be one of the league’s most dynamic and athletic players in the infield. 

Jeremy GretzerOrlando Arcia, Braves

Rob Korensky – Orlando Arcia, Braves

Trey Plummer – Orlando Arcia, Braves

Cliff Connors – Orlando Arcia, Braves

Jack Devin – Orlando Arcia, Braves

Brian Ramos – Dansby Swanson, Cubs

In honestly, the weakest position in the National League, someone has to earn it and I would give it to Dansby Swanson. I would give it to Francisco Lindor due to his 50 RBI’s. However, I am not touching that .216 batting average. Swanson has 31 RBI’s with a .266 batting average. The Cubs also are not having that good of a season, but not because of Swanson.

Votes on NL Outfielders –

Ben SchneiderRonald Acuna Jr., Braves, Corbin Carroll, Diamondbacks, Juan Soto, Padres

The stars shine brightest on the grass. Acuna, Carroll, and Soto might be the three finalists for MVP at the end of the year. 

Nate Powalie – Ronald Acuna Jr., Braves, Corbin Carroll, Diamondbacks, Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres

Carroll and Acura are having dynamite first half numbers. And Fernando Tatis Jr is showing that the transition to outfield doesn’t seem to be bothering him at all.

Paulina Vairo – Ronald Acuna Jr., Braves, Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers, Nick Castellanos, Philadelphia Phillies 

These three are listed as the top four RBI leaders among NL outfielders and have been ranking it in their prospective teams. Acuna is on a different level with 15 home runs and a batting average of .327. Betts continues to be dynamic in the outfield with his speed and agility, not to mention his hot bat with a .260 batting average along with 17 home runs. Along with Arenado, Castellanos has tried to help the struggling Phillies with 43 RBI’s and a .315 batting average. 

Jeremy Gretzer – Ronald Acuna Jr, Braves, Juan Soto, Padres, Corbin Carroll, Diamondbacks

Rob Korensky – Ronald Acuna Jr., Braves, Corbin Carroll, Diamondbacks, Mookie Betts, Dodgers 

Trey Plummer – Ronald Acuna Jr., Braves, Mookie Betts, Dodgers, Juan Soto, Padres

Cliff Connors – Ronald Acuna Jr., Braves, Mookie Betts, Dodgers, Corbin Carroll, Diamondbacks

Jack Devin – Ronald Acuna Jr., Braves, Mookie Betts, Dodgers, Corbin Carroll, Diamondbacks

Brian Ramos – Corbin Carroll, Diamondbacks, Ronald Acuna Jr. Braves, Mookie Betts, Dodgers

This outfield is truly spectacular and star-touted. You have the pretty much lock for NL Rookie of the Year in Corbin Carroll who is having an unbelievable season. Carroll has been the main reason the Diamondbacks are having this surprise season and looking to get to the playoffs for the first time since 2017. Acuna Jr. and Betts are each World Series Champions and some of the best five tool players and outfielders in the league. 

All-Star Round Table: NL Designated Hitter –

Ben Schneider Jorge Soler, Marlins

Christopher Morel is tearing the cover off the ball, but he has played less than 40 games. Soler is pummeling baseballs and is part of the most amusing one-two punch in baseball. The Marlins might as well rebrand as the Miami Luis and Jorge Bunch.

Nate PowalieAndrew McCutchen, Pirates

Honestly, for his first season back in Pittsburgh, Andrew McCutchen hasn’t missed a beat. He should be an All-Star.

Paulina Vairo – Jorge Soler, Marlins

Solar has finally found his 2019 self, with 21 home runs that puts him at fourth most in the league. It seems like he cannot be stopped as he is on pace for 36 home runs this season. Miami can also be thanking him for their surprising good form, who currently hold a wild card spot.

Jeremy Gretzer – Jorge Soler, Marlins

Rob KorenskyChristopher Morel, Cubs

Trey Plummer – Jorge Soler, Marlins

Cliff Connors – Jorge Soler, Marlins

Jack DevinBryce Harper, Phillies

Brian Ramos – Jorge Soler, Marlins

While previously mentioned Arraez is bringing the contact, Jorge Soler is bringing the power with his 21 home runs. He also has 40 runs and 45 RBI’s so far this season. Soler is currently third in the league in homers behind Pete Alonso and Shohei Ohtani.

And that is the Back Sports Page MLB All-Star Round Table. With phase one of voting now complete, fans now get to decide who will be named starters beginning June 26 and ending June 29.

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