Dodger Stadium will host the 2022 Major League Baseball All-Star Game – the first time the stadium has hosted the midsummer classic since 1980.
The All-Star Game itself takes place on Tuesday, July 19, at 7:30 p.m. (Eastern Time). The preceding days feature an array of events, including the popular Home Run Derby, which takes place on July 18 at 8 p.m. (Eastern Time).
There are plenty of familiar names who will certainly vie for spots on the American League and National League teams. Tim Anderson of the Chicago White Sox, Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros, and Ronald Acuna Jr of the Atlanta Braves are just a few of the big stars who should earn spots in Los Angeles.
But what about players who aren’t household names yet? Here are four MLB players who could make the All-Star Game for the first time if they keep their production up.
Josh Naylor, first base, Cleveland Guardians: Naylor has never hit more than eight home runs in a season in his career. He already has six through just 28 games so far this season. In addition to the power he’s showing, he’s also getting on base. His .342 OBP and .857 OPS would both be career highs.
Naylor also made history this season, with a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth and an extra innings 3-run home run in a comeback win over Chicago in May. He became the first player in MLB history to drive in that many runs in the ninth inning or later.
Naylor also has a great personal story, overcoming a serious ankle injury that nearly ended his career. If he’s able to keep producing, he could fight his way onto the All-Star team.
Kole Calhoun, outfield, Texas Rangers: At age 34, could Calhoun, the definition of a journeyman, play his way onto an All-Star team? It’s not out of the question.
He’s currently posting the second-highest batting average and third-highest OPS of his career. He had a 1.092 OPS through May 29, and has helped the Rangers exceed expectations a bit by being competitive in the AL West.
Calhoun overcame a cold start to the season and has won an everyday starting job after beginning the season in a platoon. If he continues hitting the way he did in May, it will be impossible to keep him off of the All-Star team.
Mike Yastrzemski, outfield, San Francisco Giants: Yastrzemski has received MVP votes once in his career, but he’s never made an All-Star team. That could change this season.
Similar to Calhoun, he’s had a hot May that, should he continue the pace, will almost assuredly put him in All-Star conversations.
Four of his five home runs have come since May 8. He’s also batting .279 with a .384 OBP for the season.
Clay Holmes, relief pitcher, New York Yankees: MLB.com’s Will Leitch wrote that Holmes, “is floating above the mound at this point,” when describing his performance through May.
Holmes was 4-0 with a 0.36 ERA through May 31. He has six saves and has given up just one run in 24.2 innings. He was acquired during last season by the Yankees and has been virtually unhittable since joining the team.
Holmes’ sinker is deadly, particularly because of the arm angle he uses to throw it. There’s no reason to think his hot start will subside, so expect him to be among this year’s MLB All-Stars.