The first half of the Major League Baseball season was dominated by a trio of American League powerhouses, and that was reflected in rosters for the 89th All-Star Game that were revealed on Sunday.
The East-leading Boston Red Sox, Central-leading Cleveland Indians and defending World Series champion Houston Astros each placed five players on the AL squad, while the similarly dominant New York Yankees have four representatives – including a young star not yet three months into his career.
While there are still plenty of moving parts as players are replaced due to injury and other circumstances before the July 17 game at Washington’s Nationals Park, here are the starters and reserves named (statistics through Saturday):
American League starters
C Wilson Ramos, Rays
Appearance: Second. Age: 30
Why he’s an All-Star: Ramos, the former National who tore his ACL a week before the 2016 NL Division Series, returns to Washington as an All-Star. An All-Star in 2016, Ramos is one of the more productive offensive catchers, leading AL backstops in batting (.289) and second in OPS (.802).
Fun fact: Ramos worked Max Scherzer’s two no-hitters and his 20-strikeout game.
Reserve: Salvador Perez, Royals
1B Jose Abreu, White Sox
Appearance: Second. Age: 31
Why he’s an All-Star: Despite a June slump, he is batting .259 and leads AL first basemen with 50 RBI and is fourth with a .766 OPS.
Fun fact: Abreu is the first White Sox player to be voted by the fans into the All-Star Game since Frank Thomas in 1996 and just the sixth in franchise history.
Reserve: Mitch Moreland, Red Sox
2B Jose Altuve, Astros
Appearance: Sixth. Age: 28
Why he’s an All-Star: With 121 hits at the break, the reigning AL MVP is on pace for his fifth straight 200-hit season.
Fun fact: Altuve logged 1,272 hits in his first 1,000 games. Of the 25 players ever to collect more in that span, 18 are in the Hall of Fame.
Reserve: Gleyber Torres, Yankees
3B Jose Ramirez, Indians
Appearance: Second. Age: 25
Why he’s an All-Star: Ramirez is making a strong case for the AL MVP up against Mike Trout and Mookie Betts. Since May 1, Ramirez has slugged 17 homers, putting him on a 50-homer pace. He is one of four players with at least 20 home runs (25) and doubles (24) and ranks fourth in the majors in OPS (.991).
Fun fact: In 2017, Ramirez finished third in AL MVP voting behind Altuve and Aaron Judge.
Reserve: Alex Bregman, Astros
SS Manny Machado, Orioles
Appearance: Fourth. Age: 26
Why he’s an All-Star: After his first five full seasons as a Gold Glove third baseman, Machado leads a deep position in RBI (60) and is fourth in OPS (.936).
Fun fact: He’s the brother-in-law to Indians first baseman Yonder Alonso.
Reserve: Francisco Lindor, Indians
OF Mookie Betts, Red Sox
Appearance: Third. Age: 25
Why he’s an All-Star: An AL MVP candidate, Betts is the ultimate leadoff hitter with bona fide power. With 22 home runs and a league-leading at-bat/home run ratio (12.31), he is on pace for a career-high 39 homers. He also leads the league in in slugging (.679), OPS (1.112).
Fun fact: He was named after former NBA point guard Mookie Blaylock and the nephew to former MLB player Terry Shumpert.
OF Mike Trout, Angels
Appearance: Seventh. Age: 27
Why he’s an All-Star: Trout is the best position player in the majors and is having another MVP-type season. He’s threatening to surpass Babe Ruth for the greatest Wins Above Replacement season ever produced.
Fun fact: Trout has made the All-Star team every year since his rookie season in 2012.
OF Aaron Judge, Yankees
Appearance: Second. Age: 26
Why he’s an All-Star: Judge has overpowered the sophomore slump thus far. Despite being slightly off his home run pace from last season, he’s on pace for a second straight 40-homer, 100-RBI season.
Fun fact: Judge slugged 52 home runs in 2017, breaking Mark McGwire’s MLB rookie record of 49 and the Yankees’ full-season rookie record, previously held by Joe DiMaggio with 29.
Reserves: Michael Brantley, Indians; Shin-Soo Choo, Rangers; Mitch Haniger, Mariners; George Springer, Astros.
DH J.D. Martinez, Red Sox
Appearance: Second. Age: 30
Why he’s an All-Star: Martinez is a Triple Crown threat who has proven he’s best free agent signing in the offseason. He leads the majors in homers (27), RBI (74) and total bases (212) and ranks fourth in the AL in batting (.329).
Fun fact: Martinez became the 18th player in MLB history to hit four home runs in a game in 2017.
Reserve: Nelson Cruz, Mariners.
Starters: Trevor Bauer, Indians; Jose Berrios, Twins; Gerrit Cole, Astros, J.A. Happ, Blue Jays; Corey Kluber, Indians; Chris Sale, Red Sox; Luis Severino, Yankees; Justin Verlander, Astros (inactive).
Relievers: Aroldis Chapman, Yankees; Edwin Diaz, Mariners; Joe Jimenez, Tigers; Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox; Blake Treinen, Athletics.
AL final vote
Andrew Benintendi, OF, Red Sox; Eddie Rosario, OF, Twins; Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Yankees; Jean Segura, SS, Mariners; Andrelton Simmons, SS, Angels.
National League starters
C Willson Contreras, Cubs
Appearance: First. Age: 26
Why he’s an All-Star: Contreras edged Buster Posey in fan voting at the wire, and has perhaps surpassed the Giants catcher as the premier offensive backstop in the NL. He matches Posey’s .371 on-base percentage but is outslugging him .469 to .420, and has emerged as a rock on the Cubs.
Fun fact: Contreras made perhaps the best use of an off day this season when he and Andrea Villamazar were married at Chicago’s City Hall on May 4.
Reserves: Buster Posey, Giants, J.T. Realmuto, Marlins
1B Freddie Freeman, Braves
Appearance: Third. Age: 28
Why he’s an All-Star: He’s the people’s choice, the top vote-getter in the NL. Freeman, with 105 hits, leads all first baseman with a .310 batting average.
Fun fact: Freeman was rescued by former teammate and Hall of Famer Chipper Jones when he was stranded on the interstate after a rare winter storm paralyzed Atlanta in January 2014.
Reserve: Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks, Joey Votto, Reds
2B Javier Baez, Cubs
Appearance: First. Age: 21
Why he’s an All-Star: Baez’s charismatic style of play has been matched – or exceeded – by his production, as he’s produced 17 homers and 16 stolen bases while toggling between second and shortstop. He still has the flash – Baez has stolen home twice this season.
Fun fact: He’s a two-time winner of the Fielding Bible’s Multi-Position Award.
Reserves: Ozzie Albies, Braves, Scooter Gennett, Reds
3B Nolan Arenado, Rockies
Appearance: Fourth. Age: 27
Why he’s an All-Star: Arenado is having another monster year and is a leading candidate for the NL MVP award. Known more for his offensive production, Arenado is on his way to a sixth Rawlings Gold Glove Award.
Fun fact: Arenado is of Cuban-American heritage. His grandfather was a political prisoner of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
Reserve: Eugenio Suarez, Reds
SS Brandon Crawford, Giants
Appearance: Second. Age: 31
Why he’s an All-Star: Crawford, winner of the NL’s past three Gold Glove awards at his position, entered the month of May batting .191. Since then, he’s been one of baseball’s best hitters, batting .347 with a .974 OPS — all before the birth of his fourth child in June.
Fun fact: He’s the brother-in-law of Astros pitcher Gerrit Cole.
Reserve: Trevor Story, Rockies
OF Nick Markakis, Braves
Appearance: First. Age: 34
Why he’s an All-Star: After 1,927 regular season games and 13 seasons in the big leagues, Markakis is enjoying his most consistent season yet. The first-time All-Star leads the NL with 112 hits and ranks second in batting with a .324 average.
Fun fact: Markakis has more hits (2,164) than any player without an All-Star appearance. Since 1933, the year of the first All-Star game, 158 other players have collected at least 2,100 hits. All of them, except Juan Pierre, made at least one All-Star team.
OF Bryce Harper, Nationals
Appearance: Sixth. Age: 25
Why he’s an All-Star: Despite hitting a career-low .219, Harper remains a marquee attraction and his 21 homers rank third in the NL.
Fun fact: Bryce’s older brother Bryan is a pitcher in the Nationals organization and is currently in Class AA Harrisburg.
OF Matt Kemp, Dodgers
Appearance: Third. Age: 33
Why he’s an All-Star: Kemp has been a forgotten name since his last All-Star appearance in 2012. After five lost seasons with stops in San Diego and Atlanta, Kemp has returned to Los Angeles and has been the club’s best offensive performer this season, batting .317 with a .905 OPS.
Fun fact: Kemp nearly won the Triple Crown in 2011, finishing first in homers (39), RBI (126) and third in batting (.324).
Reserves: Charlie Blackmon, Rockies; Lorenzo Cain, Brewers; Christian Yelich, Brewers.
Starters: Patrick Corbin, Diamondbacks; Jacob deGrom, Mets; Mike Foltyniewicz, Braves; Jon Lester, Cubs; Miles Mikolas, Cardinals; Aaron Nola, Phillies; Max Scherzer, Nationals.
Relievers: Sean Doolittle, Nationals; Josh Hader, Brewers; Brad Hand, Padres; Kenley Jansen, Dodgers; Felipe Vazquez, Pirates.
NL final vote
Jesus Aguilar, 1B, Brewers; Brandon Belt, 1B, Giants; Matt Carpenter, INF, Cardinals; INF/OF Max Muncy, Dodgers; Trea Turner, SS, Nationals.