With the regular June push to gain visibility on the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, it is time to talk about who could be making their first appearance. The 92nd Major League Baseball All-Star Game will take place on July 19th at Dodger Stadium. Admittedly, Major League Baseball needs to do something to add excitement to the All-Star Game. Could an infusion of young talent be the answer? Definitely.
In 2022, there are plenty of opportunities for young players to make their mark and earn their first All-Star appearance. Below we will have four options based on the latest All-Star Game voting results release. We are not just picking any player doing well. We are picking the players with the best chance to make their first All-Star appearance.
Byron Buxton – OF – Minnesota Twins
The 29-year-old outfielder has had trouble staying healthy and staying on the field. The last year Byron Buxton was able to play over 100 games was in his age-23 season during 2017. Since then, Buxton has appeared in 28, 87, 39, and 61 games from 2018-2021.
Despite those injuries and a very subpar May, Byron Buxton has positioned himself as a fan favorite because of his stellar defense and raw power. On the year, Buxton has hit 19 homeruns in 219 plate appearances. Buxton’s best two months were the first thirteen games of the season and June. In those two months, Buxton has hit 14 of his 19 homeruns with much better slash lines compared to the month of May (.169/.250/.610 and five homeruns).
Buxton is currently sixth in All-Star voting for American League outfielders. Ahead of Buxton are names like Aaron Judge, Mike Trout, George Springer and Giancarlo Stanton. Buxton has to make up an almost 94,000 vote lead by Taylor Ward to jump into the fifth spot from his current spot at sixth. If Buxton continues his June tear (.281/.379/1.133 with eight homeruns in 66 plate appearances), there’s a solid chance he moves up enough to earn his first All-Star appearance.
As it stands, Buxton ranks sixth in slugging percentage and fourth in homeruns (19).
Jazz Chisolm, Jr. – SS – Miami Marlins
Although Jazz Chisolm Jr. has been fighting back spasms this past week, his prospects of making his first All-Star Game appearances remain good. As it stands, Jazz Chisolm is the leading vote getter for National League second basemen and that includes beating Ozzie Albies with a 40,000+ vote delta separating the two stars.
In his third major league season, Chisolm is having a breakout offensively. After OPS+ of 51 and 95 the last two seasons, Chisolm currently has a 140 OPS+, 40 points better than the league average. He has almost hit his career high in homeruns achieved just last year (18). This year, in half as many plate appearances (236), Chisolm already has 14 bombs. His slash line, although never sexy, is improved from last season when it was .248/.303/.728 to a more respectable .255/.328/.866. Even more impressive is that fact that Jazz has already overtaken his WAR (2.5) from last year with 2.6 so far.
Some of Chisolm Jr.’s top rankings including sixth in the National League in slugging percentage (.538), second in triples (four), ninth in runs batted in (45) and fifth in stolen bases with 12.
Ty France – 1B/2B/3B – Seattle Mariners
Looking back on Ty France’s career, he has always been an above average hitter but has not always been given the credit for it. This year is different for Ty and it may have been helped by the Seattle Mariners early, hot start. All of France’s accomplishments are even more incredible when you realize he was a 34th round pick in the 2015 MLB Draft. Like Jazz Chisolm, Jr. above, Ty France is going to have to fight some injuries to make his first All-Star Game appearance but he is positioning himself very well.
In his age-27 season through 70 games and 311 plate appearances, Ty France is slashing a career best .316/.390/.867 with a 154 OPS+. After a solid 2021 season where he accumulated a 4.3 WAR, France is already at 3.0 WAR for the 2022 season. Ty France is sixth in total bases and runs created in the American League. He also ranks top 10 in WAR, offensive WAR, times on base (121), hit by pitch (first place), and happens to be one of the better, more consistent defensive first basemen in the American League.
Currently, he sits behind superstar Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at the first base position by about 300,000 votes. There is no chance Ty France catches up with Vladdy but if he keeps grinding, the manager and fans will take notice.