Full MLB All-Star Game rosters were announced Sunday, nine days before the first Bmidsummer classic at Dodger Stadium since 1980.
Four Dodgers were named to the National League All-Star team. Mookie Betts and Trea Turner were voted as starters by fans, and they were joined by pitchers Tony Gonsolin and Clayton Kershaw.
Because there is so much focus on who didn’t make it for the Dodgers — namely, catcher Will Smith and first baseman Freddie Freeman — it’s important to look at the process of how rosters are selected in the first place.
Each league is allowed 32 players on its All-Star roster, with 20 position players, and 12 pitchers. Every MLB team must be represented on an All-Star roster, which is important in how the sausage is made.
This year, and going forward, the commissioner can add special selections for legendary players, which this year went to Albert Pujols of the Cardinals and Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers. Those 33rd players are extra, but also active for their teams.
The process for roster selection in each league happens in this order:
- Fans vote for nine (9) position player starters
- Players vote for nine (9) position players, one at each position and three outfielders
- Players vote for five (5) starting pitchers, and three (3) relievers
- That leaves four (4) pitchers and two (2) position players for the MLB office to pick
All-Star managers have no say anymore in roster selection. It’s solely up to the MLB offices to pick those final spots to round out the roster, but the rule that every MLB team must be represented often drives many of those final selections.
For instance, let’s look at the National League All-Stars, and how they were picked.
NL All-Star pitchers
NL All-Star position players
|C starter||Willson Contreras||Cubs||fans|
|1B starter||Paul Goldschmidt||Cardinals||fans|
|2B starter||Jazz Chisolm Jr.||Marlins||fans|
|3B starter||Manny Machado||Padres||fans|
|SS starter||Trea Turner||Dodgers||fans|
|OF starter||Ronald Acuña Jr.||Braves||fans|
|OF starter||Mookie Betts||Dodgers||fans|
|OF starter||Joc Pederson||Giants||fans|
|DH starter||William Contreras*||Braves||players|
After fans and players selected their 26 All-Stars, only 10 National League teams were represented. Needing to pick four pitchers and two position players to round out the NL roster, the Rockies, Diamondbacks, Reds, Pirates, and Nationals had to account for at least five of those six slots.
Juan Soto and C.J. Cron took the final two position player spots, with Luis Castillo plus relievers David Bednar and Joe Mantiply claiming three pitcher spots.
On the only remaining roster spot that the commissioner’s office could have picked from any team, Clayton Kershaw got the nod.
There was a similar scenario in the American League.
AL All-Star position players
|C starter||Alejandro Kirk||Blue Jays||fans|
|1B starter||Vladimir Guerrero Jr.||Blue Jays||fans|
|2B starter||Jose Altuve||Astros||fans|
|3B starter||Rafael Devers||Red Sox||fans|
|SS starter||Tim Anderson||White Sox||fans|
|OF starter||Aaron Judge||Yankees||fans|
|OF starter||Mike Trout||Angels||fans|
|OF starter||Giancarlo Stanton||Yankees||fans|
|DH starter||Shohei Ohtani||Angels||fans|
|SS||Xander Bogaerts||Red Sox||players|
|OF||George Springer||Blue Jays||players|
AL All-Star pitchers
|SP||Alek Manoah||Blue Jays||players|
After fan and player voting in the American League, five teams were unaccounted for with only six spots to be picked by the commissioner.
Those final spots went to outfielders Andrew Benintendi (Royals) and Julio Rodíguez (Mariners), plus pitchers Paul Blackburn (A’s), Martín Pérez (Rangers), and Gregory Soto (Tigers).
The other MLB pick was Shohei Ohtani as a pitcher. But since he was also voted to start at designated hitter by the fans, MLB allowed itself another pick on the AL roster, selecting Astros pitcher Framber Valdez.
One important thing to remember that in the week-plus between now and the All-Star Game, a handful of players will likely drop out, either due to injury or, in the case of some pitchers, unavailability depending on when they pitch this coming week.
Bryce Harper is on the injured list after thumb surgery and won’t play for the National League for instance. William Contreras, the player selection at DH, takes Harper’s spot in the NL starting lineup, but Harper’s All-Star roster spot still needs to be filled. MLB said his roster replacement would be announced in the coming days.