SEATTLE — Will it be the year of the rookie at the 2023 MLB All-Star Game?
There are 33 – yes, 33 – First-time All-Stars in the roster for Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic at T-Mobile Park. To put it in perspective, that’s the eighth highest ever (the record is 42, set in 2021) and just three fewer than in 1933 – the First All Star Game.
While some of these players are certainly on baseball fans’ radar — especially if they play for their favorite team or one of their rivals — quite a few faces may be unfamiliar.
Here’s a look at some of the most notable newcomers – and how they might rock the All-Star Game.
Corbin Carroll, Arizona Diamondbacks
The number(s) that brought him here: The 22-year-old outfielder, born and raised in Seattle, is the first rookie in MLB history with 15 home runs and 25 stolen bases before the All-Star break.
Most likely to steal the show tonight: By hitting a home run and stealing a base. Or three stolen. He’s so good and so fast.
The quote: “This is a great achievement. I’m very proud of it. It’s very special to be in the stadium and in the hometown where I grew up. The support I have here in Seattle is so cool.” –Carroll
Josh Jung, Texas Rangers
The number(s) that brought him here: Jung is the first rookie primary third baseman with at least 15 homers and 50 RBIs before the All-Star break since Evan Longoria in 2008.
Most likely to steal the show tonight: With a dive stop at third base. Jung is one of only eight third basemen in the majors to have fended off positive defensive runs.
The quote: “Those are pretty big footsteps to fill. It’s cool to be here, but I have a long way to go to catch up on what he did.” — Jung on carrying the All-Star Torch for former ranger Adrian Beltre at third base
The “old” newcomer
Yennier Cano, Baltimore Orioles
The number(s) that brought him here: Cano had the longest scoreless innings streak to start a season by an Orioles reliever (21⅔) during the Expansion era (since 1961). The 29-year-old’s 1.48 ERA is also the lowest first-half ERA by an Orioles rookie with at least 40 innings pitched in franchise history.
Most likely to steal the show tonight: If he concedes even one baserunner, that would be a surprise since Cano has pitched the most innings (42⅔) with the lowest WHIP (.89) of any reliever in the game.
The quote: “This is the biggest thing that has ever happened to me in baseball. To start the year in Triple-A and then to be here is incredible.” — Cano
The star is finally getting his due
Randy Arozarena, Tampa Bay Rays
The number(s) that brought him here: Many votes. Arozarena’s stats are good, but his popularity has made him an All-Star according to fan voting. The star of the 2020 World Series round in Tampa Bay — along with injured former MVPs Aaron Judge and Mike Trout — finished in the top three of the outfielders and was in the game.
Most likely to steal the show tonight: Make your choice. Jump into the stands to snap a selfie while you make a jump catch, hit a game-winning home run, or steal one at the fence. Arozarena could do them all.
The quote: “If I were to bet I’d say he’s going to win the MVP. I know at some point he’ll cross his arms and do his pose.” — Rays teammate and fellow All-Star Wanderer Franco
The Breakout Bats
Adolis Garcia, Texas Rangers
The number(s) that brought him here: García leads MLB in RBIs (75) and outfield assists (10). The only other players to lead MLB in RBIs and outfield assists on the All-Star break? Manny Ramirez in 2005 and Chuck Klein in 1933.
Most likely to steal the show tonight: By throwing out a runner on home plate.
The quote: “Adolis is a great card player. We play a game called Casino. He’s probably the best in our dressing room for sure. Oh, and he’s the best hitter.” — Rangers teammate and fellow All-Star Jonah Heim
Jonah Heim, Texas Rangers
The number(s) that brought him here: Heim has the most RBIs by a Rangers primary catcher before the All-Star break since Ivan Rodriguez in 2000.
Most likely to steal the show tonight: When he knocks out a runner trying to steal. That hasn’t happened in an All-Star Game since Lance Berkman was caught in 2011.
The quote: “He’s such a hard worker. He stays on the field after plays and shots. His work ethic is second to none. But he’s just pretty good at table tennis and his card game is fine. But he is always in a good mood.” — Rangers teammate and fellow All-Star Josh Jung
Brent Rooker, Oakland Athletics
The number(s) that brought him here: Rooker leads the A’s in home runs (16). He’s one of only two Oakland players to score at least 10 goals in the first half (Shane Langeliers is the other).
Most likely to steal the show tonight: If he acted mid-game. Rooker has changed teams three times since the start of last season, but he’s the only A’s All-Star here.
The quote: “As a 27-year-old who spent most of last season at Triple-A, that seemed far-fetched, but here I am. The All Star Game just came to my mind last Sunday when they told me it was in. — Rookers
The breakout arms
Alexis Diaz, Cincinnati Reds
The number(s) that brought him here: Diaz is tied at the MLB lead with 26 saves. Of the three closers he is tied with, he has the fewest missed saves (one).
Most likely to steal the show tonight: When Timmy Trumpet Narco runs in from the bullpen, he rips him off the warning lane in an ode to his brother Edwin, the New York Mets seamer who is out for the season after injuring himself during the World Baseball Classic. Well, maybe not…
The quote: “He told me if you work hard, you’ll make it. He was excited and happy for me. But I won’t let Timmy play the trumpet. I’ll play my song.” – Diaz about his brother Edwin
Camilo Doval, San Francisco Giants
The number(s) that brought him here: Doval is tied at the MLB lead with 26 saves.
Most likely to steal the show tonight: He’ll make headlines when he hits a few batsmen as he’s in the top 5 relievers for hitting pitchers.
The quote: “I took the chances that were given to me. My teammates like to see me play. I really enjoy the game. It’s a dream come true. I’ll never forget it.” — Doval
Michael Lorenzen, Detroit Tigers
The number(s) that brought him here: He has the lowest ERA among Tigers starters, barring Eduardo Rodriguez, who was injured in the pick, and has logged the most innings.
Most likely to steal the show tonight: When Lorenzen, a former quasi-two-wayer, is used as a pinch hitter, he wins the game at plate and throws the last inning.
The quote: “There’s a bit of the question, ‘Do I deserve to be here?’ To be honest, probably not, but I’ll enjoy it. Nobody can take it from me.” — Lorenzen
Justin SteeleChicago Cubs
The number(s) that brought him here: The NL starter is 0.01 points (2.56 to 2.55) behind Clayton Kershaw at the break and leads the league in the ERA.
Most likely to steal the show tonight: As he shoots on the field during an interview after a stellar All-Star Game debut and talks about his beloved New Orleans Saints. Steele may like them more than pitching. If not, it’s close.
The quote: “I’ve thought about it a lot. It’s something very special to be here. I think I’ve started thinking about it.” [the All-Star Game] when it surfaced on social media. And meeting Clayton Kershaw is very cool. I grew up adoring him. Sharing a locker room with him is just great. — Steele