11 players who might be first-time All-Stars (2024)

July 7th, 2024

11 players who might be first-time All-Stars (1)

Will Leitch

@williamfleitch

It is a special, special thing to be named to an All-Star Game roster. Tens of thousands of players have made it all the way to the big leagues: a tiny, tiny percentage of those have ever made it to an All-Star Game. It’s something everyone who gets named will be able to say forever: I was an MLB All-Star. Would you believe Kirk Gibson never made an All-Star Game? It’s hard!

With All-Star rosters about to be announced on Sunday night, we thought we’d take a look at 11 of the most notable active players with a good case to be a first-time All-Star in 2024. Each has appeared in the Majors for at least seven seasons and has performed well enough this year to be seriously considered. The Padres’ Jurickson Profar is a great example, but he has already been named a starting NL outfielder via fan voting.

  • MLB Trivia: MVP… but NOT an All-Star

Will this be the best chance for the rest of the people on this list? Here’s a look at 1 players who have the opportunity this year, for the first time, to call themselves an All-Star.

Willy Adames, SS, Brewers
7th MLB season (age 28)

Adames has always been a little bit underrated. He was excellent with the Rays, but he was traded because there were top prospects coming in behind him. The Brewers have won throughout his time in Milwaukee, though. Adames has been a centerpiece of the team this year -- one that has suffered countless injuries but has stayed atop the NL Central, in large part because of him. He’s not having his best season as a big leaguer, but he’s having a fine one: This may well be the time.

Tyler Glasnow, SP, Dodgers
9th MLB season (age 30)

It might seem like Glasnow had made an All-Star Game by now, but it shouldn’t be that surprising that he hasn’t. After all, he has never thrown more than 120 innings a season, though he is likely to pass that number by the All-Star break this year. Glasnow has always been highly effective, but he has never, until this year, been able to sustain his success for long enough. Now that he has done so, that first All-Star nod looks like a lock.

Raisel Iglesias, RP, Braves
10th MLB season (age 34)

Iglesias is coming up on his 500th career big league game and has more than 200 saves to show for it. (Did you realize he was initially a starter for the Reds when he broke in in 2015? He had a 4.15 ERA that season, which is not so bad, really.) He's recorded more than 28 saves five different times in his career and seems well on his way to his sixth, but this might be the best season of his career, save for maybe 2021, when he finished 11th in the AL Cy Young Award voting for the Angels. He may benefit from a thinner Braves roster than usual, with less chance to being crowded out of the All-Star consideration by his teammates.

Reynaldo López, SP, Braves
9th MLB season (age 30)

Then again, this fellow veteran Brave who has never made an ASG could crowd out Iglesias. López has bounced around throughout his nine-year-career -- this is his fifth team and fourth since the start of last season -- and he began as a starter, transitioned into the bullpen and is now back as a starter again. This is unquestionably López’s best year in the rotation, with a stunning 1.83 ERA in 15 starts for a team that -- much to its surprise -- has needed every quality start he could give them. López isn’t just going to make the All-Star Game: There’s a non-zero chance he could start it.

Seth Lugo, SP, Royals
9th MLB season (age 34)

Lugo played seven seasons for the Mets and, like López, entered the bullpen after struggling as a starter. When the Padres signed him as a free-agent starter before the 2023 season, some mocked them for trying to make a famously fragile reliever into a rotation stalwart. But he made 26 starts for the Padres, throwing 146 1/3 innings and putting up a 3.57 ERA. That got the Royals excited enough to give him a two-year, $30 million deal, and he has simply turned into the best starter in baseball, leading the Majors in both ERA and wins. He is yet another reminder that pitching is a deeply mysterious art.

Brandon Nimmo, OF, Mets
9th MLB season (age 31)

Forever the most underrated and underappreciated Met, Nimmo has been excellent every year of his career. He got a little lost because of injuries in 2019 and '21, but has always, always hit and he's a terrific on-base guy with a fun tendency to hit a lot of triples. This is the best full season of his career so far -- you probably can’t count 2020 -- and he has been a sparkplug for the surprising Mets. There have been many Mets over the last decade we have talked about more. But Nimmo has been the one you can count on the most.

Tyler O'Neill, OF, Red Sox
7th MLB season (age 29)

O’Neill has won two Gold Glove Awards and finished eighth in the NL MVP voting in 2021, but he has never been named an All-Star. Injuries have been the biggest reason for that, along with derailing and ultimately ending his time in St. Louis. O’Neill has had a few injuries flare up in Boston, but when he has played, he has looked like the star he was once forecasted to be. He’s a free agent this offseason, and making an All-Star Game would look sterling on his resume.

Anthony Santander, OF, Orioles
8th MLB season (age 29)

Santander’s first Orioles team lost 87 games. His second lost 115. His third, 108. His fourth, 35 (out of 60). His fifth, 110. The guy has been through a lot, is what I’m saying here. Through it all, as he has slowly been surrounded by more talent, he has done nothing but continue to hit. He won’t turn 30 until October, but that makes him the old man on this team. His OBP is down a little this year, but his power certainly isn’t: He’s on pace to pass 40 homers for the first time. The guy has put in his time. It’s time to reward this former Rule 5 Draft pick with an ASG nod, after he narrowly missed out on being voted in as a starter.

Ranger Suárez, SP, Phillies
7th MLB season (age 28)

Suárez has been in the Phillies organization since signing out of Venezuela in 2012, and suffice it to say, they’ve had a lot of patience with him. That patience has paid off magnificently this season, with Suárez essentially being masterful from his very first start, outpacing Phillies aces (and regular All-Stars) Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola. Suárez was wonderful as a reliever/spot starter in 2021, but it’s difficult to find anyone who saw this in his future. He’s as slam dunk of an All-Star pick as anyone on this list.

Christian Walker, 1B, D-backs
10th MLB season (age 33)

Remember when Walker was merely known as the poor guy who had to take over for Paul Goldschmidt at first base in Arizona? He was perfectly respectable in his first year on the job post-Goldschmidt in 2019, and he has gotten better and better since then, winning two Gold Gloves and helping the D-backs reach the World Series last season, something Goldschmidt never did. He’s also having a far better year than Goldschmidt is in 2024.

Jack Flaherty, SP, Tigers
8th MLB season (age 28)
After the second half of the 2019 season, it looked like Flaherty would be pitching in a lot of All-Star Games. Flaherty was magic in that second half, going 7-2 with a jaw-dropping 0.91 ERA over 15 starts for a Cardinals team that ended a three-season playoff drought. But then the truncated 2020 season came, and Flaherty began struggling with injuries. He couldn’t get it back going again in St. Louis, or in Baltimore after a 2023 Trade Deadline deal. But he has found that old form this year in Detroit, putting up a career-high strikeout rate and a 1.000 WHIP for a Tigers team that has struggled to score runs for him.

11 players who might be first-time All-Stars (2024)
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