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Giancarlo Stanton spent All-Star break with model Chase Carter

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Giancarlo Stanton may have come up short last week in the MLB Final Vote that determined the AL squad’s final roster spot for the 2018 All-Star Game. But it appears the New York Yankees superstar slugger consoled himself, if it was needed, by jetting down to the Caribbean with a model.

Stanton reportedly spent the All-Star Break soaking up the sun and enjoying the sand and surf in the Bahamas with Chase Carter, who made her debut in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue this year.

Stanton and Carter reportedly met up at CC Sabathia’s charity softball game last month and hit it off. Sports Gossip shared footage from an Instagram story posted by the 21-year-old model. The video features the couple making S’mores and Stanton gallivanting on the beach.

Meanwhile, on the field, Stanton presumably is looking forward to the unofficial last half of the MLB season after heating up following a slow start.

Stanton’s initiation in pinstripes was the definition of abysmal at the onset — especially at Yankee Stadium — with the slugger batting .218 in April while racking up an absurd amount of strikeouts.

The struggles continued into May to some extent, but Stanton began to turn things around in June. And so far in July, Stanton is on fire, batting .412 with three home runs and eight RBI in 47 at-bats.

All told, Stanton is slashing at a .278/.346/.518 clip with 23 homers and 55 RBI at the break. So, all things considered, Stanton probably was just fine missing out on all the All-Star Game festivities. For a few reasons, apparently.



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How deadline dominoes will fall following Machado deal

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It is true the Orioles possess some kind of all-time record for deals wrecked by failed medical examinations, and yes, their proposed trade of Manny Machado to the Dodgers was slowed by a snag in the doctor review. But the trade is done, about 24 hours after the Dodgers kicked off the production of jerseys and shirts with MACHADO stitched across the back.

Now the dominoes will fall in a lot of different directions:

Los Angeles Dodgers: The addition of Machado and the $6 million he’s owed for the rest of this season chews up just about all of the payroll flexibility they have, in a year in which they have worked to get under the luxury-tax threshold. But with their position-player group fortified by the addition of Machado, the Dodgers’ area of need might only be for bullpen depth — and given the wealth of relief options that could become available in the weeks ahead, the Dodgers probably will be able to find decent and relatively cheap alternatives, like the Marlins’ Kyle Barraclough. If they wanted to focus on a more expensive option, like Zach Britton, they could ask their trade partner to pick up salary.

New York Yankees: They really wanted Machado, who had the potential to be a difference-maker in New York’s AL East showdown against the Red Sox. But with Machado off the board, the Yankees will get back to searching for a starting pitcher capable of credibly matching up against the stacked lineups of the Astros or Boston in October. Toronto’s J.A. Happ made the All-Star team and is coveted by several contenders, but the Yankees have balked at the Jays’ asking price so far — and Happ isn’t someone who dominates hitters. Executives with other teams have serious doubts about whether a highly inspiring starting pitcher will emerge in the market.

It may be that the Yankees’ best hope for improvement is with somebody already on their roster: Sonny Gray, who threw at a higher average velocity (94.7 mph) in his last start before the All-Star break than in any regular-season game in his career. Gray probably will have to pitch a lot better at home, and pitch better against the Red Sox, before he engenders the kind of trust Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia own, but the Yankees might not find a better alternative, with a potential ceiling as high as Gray’s, in the trade market.

Arizona Diamondbacks, San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies: There’s no getting around this possibility — Machado could be the difference-maker for the Dodgers in their effort to win a sixth straight NL West title, and no matter who San Francisco, Arizona and/or Colorado lands before the trade deadline, no individual player acquired will likely offset the production Machado will generate for L.A.

But the Diamondbacks, Rockies and Giants have been engaged with other teams, looking to plug holes. Rival evaluators say the Diamondbacks are highly motivated to follow up on their fast start, in what may be a narrowing window of opportunity: center fielder A.J. Pollock and pitcher Patrick Corbin are headed into free agency in the fall. The Giants are looking for bullpen help, albeit with little payroll flexibility, and have talked to the Mets about Jeurys Familia. The Rockies finished the first half strongly, winning 13 of their last 16 games, and have seen their starting pitching gradually improve.

Milwaukee Brewers: Unable to finish a deal for Machado, the Brewers continue to have need for another hitter, and it seems nobody close to Machado’s ability is going to be available in the next two weeks. But the Brewers will have opportunities to upgrade at second base and/or shortstop, changes that are needed: Milwaukee’s second basemen rank 21st among 30 teams in OPS this year, at .658, and its shortstops are 29th among 30 teams in OPS (at a staggeringly low .567). The Minnesota Twins could be sellers before the trade deadline, and with Brian Dozier heating up — the second baseman hit .298/.369/.632 in the first 15 July games — he could be a good fit for the Brewers.

Philadelphia Phillies: Their pursuit of Machado will need to be postponed until the offseason, when they should be the favorites to land the shortstop in free agency by using their tremendous resources and payroll flexibility. The Phillies should have opportunities in the next 12 days to add pitching depth and a veteran infielder, like the Royals’ Mike Moustakas, as some of the sellers look to dump salaries. Barraclough could be a potential upgrade for their bullpen.

Atlanta Braves: The Braves were on the fringes of the Machado trade conversations, but never really among the finalists. Their focus has been on adding some low-salaried relief help, like Seunghwan Oh (who is making $2 million with an option for 2019) or John Axford.

Manny Machado: In 2008, CC Sabathia was traded to the Brewers, and pitched Milwaukee into its first postseason appearance in 26 years, sometimes taking the ball on three days’ rest. That performance and that leadership vaulted Sabathia into free agency, giving him the leverage to generate a record-setting $161 million deal from the Yankees.

Now Machado has a similar opportunity. He joins the Dodgers, a team that came within one game of winning the World Series, and if he continues to play at an All-Star level and takes advantage of the pennant-race platform, he might further inspire general managers and owners to augment the already enormous offers he is bound to receive in the fall.

Consider all that will be feeding into his market value:

He will be a rare 26-year-old free agent.

He is among the best-hitting middle infielders in baseball.

At worst, he is an average defender at shortstop; at best, he is a Gold Glove-caliber infielder.

Machado might have a monthlong audition on the center stage of postseason baseball.

And like Sabathia, he may sign a record-setting contract.



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Machado exit could start trend for struggling O's

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BALTIMORE — Buried in the AL East cellar and well on their way to a second straight losing season, the Baltimore Orioles enter the so-called second half with this unavoidable realization: It’s time to break up the band.

The trade of shortstop Manny Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night started the inevitable rebuilding process for a team that has bottomed out in 2018. After reaching the playoffs in 2012, 2014 and 2016, the Orioles have the second-worst record (28-69) in the major leagues, have endured six losing streaks of at least a half-dozen games and have been shut out nine times.

Thus, Baltimore approaches the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline in full selling mode. The exit of Machado could be followed by the departure of outfielder Adam Jones, lefty Zach Britton and right-hander Brad Brach, all of whom are in the final year of their contracts.

“Obviously, you never want to be in a position to sell, but that’s just the nature of this business,” nine-year veteran Danny Valencia said. “The front office is going to make moves that they feel [are] going to better this team in the future. Us as players, we have to accept this.”

It hurts even more because the Orioles left spring training fully expecting to be contenders.

“There’s no shortage of talent on this team,” right-hander Kevin Gausman said. “That’s the most frustrating thing.”

The Orioles tried to keep a good thing going. It didn’t work. All they can do now is offer a hug and a wave to those headed elsewhere.

“If Adam Jones is gone, I’d be bummed. He’s one of my friends,” Valencia said before the All-Star break. “Manny, too. It’s a good thing for those guys because they’re going to be going to teams trying to win a World Series, but you don’t want to see guys like that playing in a different uniform.”

Machado has only suited up for the Orioles, but he’ll be wearing Dodger blue Friday night in Milwaukee. Britton has played only for Baltimore, and Jones began his career with Seattle but became a five-time All-Star with the Orioles.

And now, it appears as if it’s time for them to move on.

“It sucks, man,” Valencia said. “When you’re winning, the team stays together. Losing, they break up the team. And I think the saddest part of this is, at the end of the year, guys will be on different teams and the offseason will come, and they’ll look back and have regrets because they will realize this team was super talented and underachieved.”

Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette is carefully weighing all options. It took him a while to unload Machado, and he probably won’t make another deal until he’s absolutely sure he’s getting as much talent as possible,

“Until it happens, it hasn’t happened,” Britton said. “You don’t know the offers that they’re getting.”

Come August, and maybe sooner, it will be time for the Orioles to take a long look at their younger players and try to make the best of a horrific season. Manager Buck Showalter is currently protecting the team’s trade chips (he prevented Machado from playing on a wet field Sunday) while making plans for guiding a different sort of club.

“There’s things I’m trying to do with people who could potentially be moved, trying to do what’s best for the organization long term and short term,” Showalter said. “I stop and think about those factors every decision I make.”

The influx of youth can be invigorating, but there’s a risk in rushing players to the big leagues too early. How this goes is anyone’s guess.

“I have no idea,” catcher Caleb Joseph said. “The five years I’ve been here, we’ve been buyers at the deadline every single time. So, I’ve never experienced it before.

“There is a certain level of energy a young player brings, but they also bring inexperience,” Joseph noted. “Patience is the key. But there are some interesting pieces in the minor leagues, and they may be getting a chance soon. It will indicate where we’re at as an organization.”

Over the final 10 weeks, the focus for the Orioles will be on finishing strong and seeing who’s worthy of being on the retooled 2019 roster.

“We’ve got to forget about what’s happened already,” second baseman Jonathan Schoop said, “and look to the future.”



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Mike Trout on Rob Manfred’s remarks: ‘Everything is cool’

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Trout on Wednesday night attempted to downplay critical remarks made about him by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, saying in part, “Everything is cool.”

Manfred earlier this week seemingly questioned the Los Angeles Angels superstar’s commitment to marketing himself during comments made to the Baseball Writers’ Assn. of America. In essence, Manfred argued that in part explains Trout’s overall popularity beyond baseball fans.

“Mike’s a great, great player and a really nice person, but he’s made certain decisions about what he wants to do and what he doesn’t want to do, and how he wants to spend his free time and how he doesn’t want to spend his free time,” Manfred said. “That’s up to him. 

“If he wants to engage and be more active in that area, I think we could help him make his brand really, really big. But he has to make a decision that he’s prepared to engage in that area. It takes time and effort.”

Trout wanted no part in igniting a war of words with Manfred.

Trout’s comments come on the heels of a scathing rebuttal to Manfred’s comments issued earlier Wednesday by the Angels organization, in which Trout is touted as “an exceptional ambassador for the game.”

Trout without question currently ranks among the best ballplayers in the world, if not the greatest. But his amazing exploits on the field are balanced by an unassuming personality and friendly demeanor. Manfred may have been trying to make a point in some respects to that component of Trout’s persona, but there arguably were much better ways to go about it.

Not that Trout is about to say anything controversial on the subject.



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Rays' Ramos lands on DL with hamstring injury

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The Tampa Bay Rays have placed All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos on the 10-day disabled list with a hamstring injury suffered over the weekend.

The injury is expected to keep Ramos out through the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Ramos was hurt Saturday, failing to run with full effort on a groundout to third base against the Minnesota Twins. He missed the All-Star Game because of the injury, with the Cleveland IndiansYan Gomes replacing him on the AL roster.

Ramos is batting .297 with 14 home runs and 53 RBIs.

The Rays also reinstated lefty Jose Alvarado from family medical emergency list.



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MLB: Hader must take sensitivity training

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Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Josh Hader will be required to take sensitivity training and participate in the league’s diversity and inclusion initiatives after tweets from his past emerged during Tuesday’s All-Star Game.

After a bumpy outing in his first All-Star appearance, some racist and anti-gay tweets that Hader sent when he was a teenager surfaced. He apologized after the game.

“During last night’s game we became aware of Mr. Hader’s unacceptable social media comments in years past and have since been in communication with the Brewers regarding our shared concerns,” the MLB said in a statement Wednesday. “After the game, Mr. Hader took the necessary step of expressing remorse for his highly offensive and hurtful language, which fails to represent the values of our game and our expectations for all those who are a part of it. The Office of the Commissioner will require sensitivity training for Mr. Hader and participation in MLB’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.”

The Brewers also issued a statement Wednesday, admonishing the pitcher for the tweets, but adding that they don’t represent who Hader has become.

“His comments are inexcusable, and he is taking full responsibility for the consequences of his actions,” the statement said. “Those of us that have come to know Josh do not believe that these posts are representative of his beliefs. He has been a good teammate and contributor to the team in every way. We will continue to work through this issue with Josh as we prepare to resume games after the break.”

Hader said after the game that he was immature when he posted the tweets.

“You know, it was something that happened when I was 17 years old,” he said. “As a child, I was immature, and I obviously said some things that were inexcusable. That doesn’t reflect on who I am as a person today, and that’s just what it is.”

Hader, 24, said that his old messages do not reflect his current beliefs.

“Obviously, when you’re a kid, you just tweet what’s on your mind, and you know, that’s what’s on,” he said.

The reliever, who appeared in the eighth inning and gave up three runs and four hits, including a three-run homer to Mariners shortstop Jean Segura, said he wasn’t aware of the controversy until after the game.

“Just came in, and my phone was blowing up,” he said. “You can’t, there’s no excuse for what was said. I’m deeply sorry for what I’ve said and what’s been going on, and like I said, it doesn’t reflect any of my beliefs going on now.”

As Hader’s tweets were going viral, some of Hader’s friends and family in attendance were given generic gear while sitting in the stands. They were wearing generic National League gear outside the clubhouse toward the end of the game.

Fellow Brewers All-Star Lorenzo Cain addressed reporters postgame and revealed that, by that time, he had spoken with Hader.

“We just talked a little bit. I was just trying to understand the situation,” Cain said. “He was young. We all say some crazy stuff when we’re young. That’s one reason why I don’t have social media — for things like this. You always in trouble for things you said when you’re younger. So we move on from it. The situation is what it is. I know Hader, I know he’s a great guy, he’s a great teammate. So I’m fine. Everybody will be OK. We’ll move on from it, for sure.”

The Brewers entered the All-Star break with a record of 55-43 and are 2½ games behind the Chicago Cubs in the National League Central.

Buoyed by Hader’s standout relief pitching and the offseason signing of Cain and fellow free agent Christian Yelich, Milwaukee was in first place for much of the first half but lost its last six games heading into the All-Star break to fall behind Chicago.

A 19th-round pick of the Baltimore Orioles in 2012, the left-handed Hader was traded to the Houston Astros in July 2013. Two years later, he was dealt to the Brewers before the 2015 trade deadline. This season, in 31 games with Milwaukee, Hader is 2-0 with seven saves and a 1.50 ERA. In 48 innings, he has recorded 89 strikeouts, most among relievers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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From the All-Star Game to the trade rumor mill

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WASHINGTON — During the All-Star Game festivities this week, players throughout the game spent time mingling in the clubhouse while signing box after box of baseballs. The game’s respective starting pitchers, Max Scherzer and Chris Sale, called it an “honor” to represent their leagues on the biggest stage.

And in another bow to tradition, Brad Hand sat and addressed media inquiries about his next career stop beyond San Diego.

Hand, 28, has 280 strikeouts in 213 innings as a Padre since 2016, so he’s attracting lots of attention as a potential trade acquisition. The Cubs and Indians are among several contending clubs that like him for his 94 mph fastball and a reasonably priced contract that keeps him under team control through 2021.

The flurry of attention is reminiscent of last summer, when Hand attended the All-Star Game in Miami and addressed a wave of trade speculation that amounted to nothing.

“I feel like I’ve been getting asked my thoughts on getting traded for the past year and a half now,” Hand said. “Nothing happened last year, so I don’t think my mindset is really going to change. I was designated for assignment out of Miami [in 2016] and nobody really wanted me, so obviously it’s a good thing to have teams really want you and talk about you.”

The All-Star break often puts a slight crimp in trade deadline speculation, but two days off have merely heightened the sense of anticipation this time. The Baltimore Orioles stoked Manny Machado buzz when they pulled him from Sunday’s game because of a wet infield after a rain delay and that buzz turned into full-steam trade momentum with the Dodgers now on the verge of landing the star shortstop.

As the rumors continued to grow, everybody waited out Machado Watch at All-Star media day. While Machado might have preferred talking about baseball, he spent part of his time speculating on how he might enjoy the relatively tame off-field environs in Milwaukee. Naturally, reporters from Los Angeles and Philadelphia solicited reaction on how he might embrace life in their respective markets as well.

“It’s hard,” Machado said. “I mean, it’s tough. A couple guys have reached out and told me how to handle it a little bit. But at the end of the day, it’s always hard. Getting microphones in your face every day and cameras, it’s not easy. You’ve just got to deal with it and try to handle it as best as possible.”

Among the other All-Stars who’ve been deluged with trade speculation or can expect to see more of it between now and July 31: Mets starter Jacob deGrom; Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo; Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ; and Rays catcher Wilson Ramos, whose market might have been scuttled by a hamstring injury last week that may force him to the disabled list.

Oakland infielder Jed Lowrie was also considered potential trade bait several weeks ago. But the Athletics’ surge up the AL West standings has nudged the front office into “buy” mode, so Lowrie is most likely staying put.

DeGrom provides an interesting case study for the Mets. He’s a prime Cy Young Award candidate, with a major-league-best 1.68 ERA. But New York has faded from contention in the National League East, and the front office is in a state of flux as ownership looks for a replacement for general manager Sandy Alderson.

DeGrom’s agent, Brodie Van Wagenen, ran some interference Monday and said the Mets might want to consider trading deGrom if they have no interest in signing him to a long-term contract. It was a coordinated strategy to help frame the debate in a bigger-picture light.

“I like it in New York, and I would like to get back to winning here,” deGrom said. “I figured there would be a lot of questions about trade stuff, and this was our way of getting ahead of it. Brodie and I talked about it, and it was something we felt like we needed to do.

“I have a good relationship with the Mets. We were just expressing that I’d like to stay and be a part of the future. But if they don’t see me in the future, I think Brodie was saying, ‘Get what you can.'”

While deGrom won’t be eligible for free agency until 2020, the short-termers in the trade market are dealing with emotional fluctuations on a daily basis. Happ, a free agent this winter, is a potential trade target for the Yankees, Phillies, Cubs and several other clubs. He’s 0-3 with a 9.75 ERA in July, but he declines to use his unsettled status as a crutch for his recent poor performances.

“If an unknown number pops up on my phone, I wonder sometimes,” Happ said. “There’s a little anxiety that comes with that. But I’m certainly not going out there while I’m pitching and worrying about being traded.”

For some lucky players, circumstances can change in the span of a single conversation. Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett was the subject of trade rumors until general manager Nick Krall approached him recently with a comforting declaration: The team had no plans to trade him, and might be interested in discussing a contract extension soon.

Gennett rolled into the All-Star break as the National League leader with a .326 batting average, and secure in the knowledge that he’s not going anywhere. That’s doubly gratifying given that he was born in Cincinnati and grew up a Reds fan.

“There were times earlier this year where after the game I was like, ‘Am I going to get called in? Am I going to get traded?'” Gennett said. “You don’t want that on your mind. I think they recognized that and kind of put my mind at ease in that sense.

“From the fan reaction and the guys in control of these decisions, I just feel like they want me here. They like what I’ve been doing. I think they like the way I play the game and approach the game. To hear that feedback is an honor for me, because that’s all I ever wanted.”



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Nolan Arenado fuels speculation about future by wearing California hat

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Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Nolan Arenado can’t become a free agent until after the 2019 season, but some are already getting a head start on the hysteria.

The Colorado Rockies third baseman wore a “California Republic” hat to All-Star festivities on Tuesday, leading to a bit of speculation about his future.

Granted the four-time All-Star is a native of California, having been born and raised in the Orange County area, but that didn’t stop several Twitter users from cracking jokes, spitballing about Arenado signing with their favorite California-based teams or otherwise overreacting to his choice of fashion.

Arenado, 27, will be entering his fourth year of arbitration after the season and can then become a free agent the winter after that. As a two-way star who has only made the playoffs once during his entire career with Colorado (losing last year’s NL Wild Card game to Arizona), speculation about his future will surely increase if the Rockies continue to falter in their attempts to contend.

While the hat itself is most likely innocuous, one does have to wonder if the memories of this move that Colorado made still linger for Arenado.

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63 SLIDES
Ranking every 2018 MLB All-Star


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title: ’62. Jose Abreu, 1B, White Sox’,
description: ‘

One of baseball’s most consistent players, Abreu’s bat has been uncharacteristically quiet in the first half. He has a career-worst .762 OPS to date, hitting .259-12-50 through 88 games. However, he meets the White Sox All-Star requirement, making his second career appearance.

Patrick Gorski / USA Today Sports Images


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title: ’61. Brad Hand, RP, Padres’,
description: ‘

Hand is San Diego’s only All-Star, making his second appearance in as many seasons. He’s had a solid first half with 24 saves and a 2.91 ERA, along with 64 strikeouts in 43.1 innings.

Jake Roth / USA Today Sports Images


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title: ’60. Charlie Blackmon, OF, Rockies’,
description: ‘

A superstar before this year, Blackmon’s 2018 season hasn’t been quite up to his standards. The bearded center fielder is hitting .276-17-40 with an .822 OPS but is still set for his third All-Star appearance.

Aaron Doster / USA Today Sports Images


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title: ’59. Mitch Moreland, 1B, Red Sox’,
description: ‘

Moreland has rewarded the Red Sox for bringing him back this season, posting an .884 OPS with outstanding defense at first base. Now in his ninth MLB season, he is set for his first All-Star appearance.

Brian Fluharty / USA Today Sports Images


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title: ’58. Gleyber Torres, 2B, Yankees’,
description: ‘

Torres didn’t break camp with the Yankees, but he’s been hot since getting promoted in late April. The AL Rookie of the Year candidate gets the All-Star nod after hitting .294-15-42 with a .905 OPS, though he’s questionable for the game due to a hip injury.

Kim Klement / USA Today Sports Images


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title: ’57. Kenley Jansen, RP, Dodgers’,
description: ‘

Jansen started off the year slowly, but he’s made up for lost time. The L.A. closer has a 2.34 ERA and 0.95 WHIP with 45 strikeouts in 42.1 innings. He had an NL-leading 41 saves last year and is well on his way to 40 saves for the third consecutive year with 24 now. This will be his third consecutive All-Star appearance.

Kirby Lee / USA Today Sports Images


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title: ’56. Wilson Ramos, C, Rays’,
description: ‘

Ramos has returned successfully from a torn ACL to make his second All-Star Game this year. The catcher is hitting .289-12-47 with an .802 OPS and has been mentioned in trade rumors as a pending free agent.

Troy Taormina / USA Today Sports Images


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title: ’55. Craig Kimbrel, RP, Red Sox’,
description: ‘

Kimbrel hasn’t been able to match last year’s epic numbers, but he’s still been very good as Boston’s closer in the first half. The high-octane right-hander has a 1.98 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 54 strikeouts in 36.1 innings while producing 27 saves. This will be his seventh All-Star appearance.

Brad Mills / USA Today Sports Images


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title: ’54. Michael Brantley, OF, Indians’,
description: ‘

Brantley is often injured but extremely reliable when he’s on the field. That’s continued to be the case this year, as he’s hitting .306-11-49 with an .841 OPS in 77 games. He’s set for his third All-Star appearance.

Rick Osentoski / USA Today Sports Images


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title: ’53. Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals’,
description: ‘

Harper is set to start in the outfield for the NL All-Stars, but his first half hasn’t been deserving. He’s hitting only .218 in 88 games, though Harper does have 21 home runs and an .846 OPS. The 25-year-old will be making his sixth All-Star appearance and hopes to play better in the second half as he approaches free agency.

Gregory Fisher / USA Today Sports Images


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title: ’52. Nelson Cruz, DH, Mariners’,
description: ‘

A late bloomer, Cruz continues to rake at age 38. He will be making his sixth All-Star appearance, hitting .267-22-53 with a .909 OPS in 76 games for the Mariners.

Evan Habeeb / USA Today Sports Images


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,
{
src: ‘https://res-1.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/e/b/eb0bfe045f8ac7fcbfd4ec5e03d1ae98818ef3cc/51.jpg’,
title: ’51. Jon Lester, SP, Cubs’,
description: ‘

In spite of mediocre peripherals, Lester is tied for the NL lead with 11 wins and has a 2.45 ERA in 18 starts. His 6.9 K/9 and 4.28 FIP provide reason for Cubs fans to worry in the second half, but the veteran lefty is certainly deserving of his fifth All-Star appearance.

Gary A. Vasquez / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-1.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/3/b/3bf1d886cda85b13204b411fc32e38603cd8a22b/50.jpg’,
title: ’50. George Springer, OF, Astros’,
description: ‘

Springer’s offensive numbers aren’t up to his usual standards in the first half, but he was still named to his second straight All-Star Game. He’s hitting .248-15-43 with 63 runs and a .758 OPS for the defending champs.

Erik Williams / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-3.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/a/4/a4751b109a5d94040e07aaad4e061147c16ae7b9/49.jpg’,
title: ’49. Buster Posey, C, Giants’,
description: ‘

The years of wear and tear have clearly taken a toll on Posey, but he remains one of the league’s top catchers. He’s hitting .285-5-27 with a .780 OPS in 74 games and will be representing the Giants for the sixth time in the All-Star Game.

Steve Mitchell / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-5.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/d/1/d1ff612d6ba0349a56c7d13bfa8d491d9d7106ee/48.jpg’,
title: ’48. Joe Jimenez, RP, Tigers’,
description: ‘

A key setup man for the Tigers, Jimenez has been good with a 2.85 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 41 innings. He’s briefly served as the team’s closer while Shane Greene has been on the DL and could be the Tigers’ closer of the future. He’s making his first All-Star appearance in his first full season.

Dan Hamilton / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-2.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/5/2/520f53cd52289608ca26b9fd5568e057a2916391/47.jpg’,
title: ’47. Trevor Story, SS, Rockies’,
description: ‘

Story is rebounding from a mediocre sophomore season to make his first All-Star appearance. The Rockies shortstop is hitting .284-17-62 with 11 steals and a solid .879 OPS.

Russell Lansford / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-3.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/1/a/1a6e893eda9960b4e97c8d28246d58a5a2d6ae70/46.jpg’,
title: ’46. Felipe Vazquez, RP, Pirates’,
description: ‘

Vazquez started the season known as Felipe Rivero, but he’s been excellent by any name. The Pittsburgh closer has a 3.38 ERA and 12.3 K/9 this season, though his ERA has inflated nearly two runs compared to last season. The lefty will be making his first All-Star appearance.

Jake Roth / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-5.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/3/1/3154dbd8945b0f2eb57a78ce41046480f498735c/45.jpg’,
title: ’45. Matt Kemp, OF, Dodgers’,
description: ‘

Kemp was sent from Atlanta to the Dodgers in the a salary dump during the offseason and didn’t even look like he’d make the team. Now he’s an All-Star, making his third appearance. Kemp is hitting .319-15-57 with a .910 OPS in 85 games, and his defense has improved drastically this season.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-4.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/6/7/676b04797ba12a57e08d319aebc5d2e9e2cc67ae/44.jpg’,
title: ’44. Christian Yelich, OF, Brewers’,
description: ‘

Traded from Miami in the offseason, Yelich makes his first All-Star appearance this year. As usual, he’s been solid across the board, hitting .285-11-36 with 11 steals and an .821 OPS in 74 games while playing solid outfield defense.

Charles LeClaire / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-2.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/d/2/d2f8adeed1d2810c0276a073f55cdd92daa8a7f7/43.jpg’,
title: ’43. Sean Doolittle, RP, Nationals’,
description: ‘

Doolittle has been lights out as Washington’s closer this season. The lefty has a 1.45 ERA and incredible 0.54 WHIP with 22 saves. His strikeout and walk numbers are jaw-dropping with 49/3 K/BB in 37.1 innings. The converted first baseman is making his second All-Star Game after representing Oakland in 2014.

Brad Mills / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-2.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/0/3/03d57d31d6f4761f3cefc20c2f260311851495ac/42.jpg’,
title: ’42. J.A. Happ, SP, Blue Jays’,
description: ‘

Happ’s ERA has inflated due to his last two starts, but the lefty has been excellent overall this season. He’s 10-5 with a 4.44 ERA, but his 3.97 FIP, 9.8 K/9 and 3.38 K/BB ratio show a much better pitcher. He’s making his first All-Star appearance at age 35.

Nick Turchiaro / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-1.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/7/9/79337997fc534e6fe4eeae32b03d7612911908e4/41.jpg’,
title: ’41. Brandon Crawford, SS, Giants’,
description: ‘

Crawford will start at shortstop for the NL, hitting .300-10-39 with an .844 OPS in the first half of the season. The three-time Gold Glover will be making his second All-Star appearance.

Matt Marton / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-4.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/7/9/791fe1fe5c2f59a7d838714ab84cce6d33484fe8/40.jpg’,
title: ’40. Willson Contreras, C, Cubs’,
description: ‘

Contreras gets his first All-Star nod in his third MLB season. He’s played at an All-Star level all along for the Cubs with an .847 OPS over three seasons. His OPS is .838 this season, hitting .287-7-34 with excellent defense behind the plate.

Jim Young / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-4.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/f/7/f748096f7da7d43aeb7e3c027472efbf86696ee2/39.jpg’,
title: ’39. Nick Markakis, OF, Braves’,
description: ‘

Markakis is one of the best stories of 2018. After posting a combined .743 OPS in his first three seasons with Atlanta, Markakis’ offense is back this year. He’s hitting .322-10-59 with an .879 OPS and now makes his first All-Star appearance at age 34.

Brett Davis / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-4.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/5/8/58fc065d58820e6207217fdf70d815bdb3f50170/38.jpg’,
title: ’38. Mitch Haniger, OF, Mariners’,
description: ‘

Haniger had a very good 2017, albeit with significant time missed to injury. He’s picked up this season right where he left off, hitting .271-17-62 with an .847 OPS and excellent defense. His all-around performance was rewarded with his first All-Star appearance.

Kevin Jairaj / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-1.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/a/0/a0406ebe326c180535f6f829599be10be750b33c/37.jpg’,
title: ’37. Shin-Soo Choo, OF, Rangers’,
description: ‘

Now in his 14th season, Choo will be making his first All-Star Game after a great first half. He has a .903 OPS, hitting .293-17-42 with 52 runs scored and a .399 on-base percentage for Texas. At age 35, it’s been a long time coming for the outfielder.

Kevin Jairaj / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-5.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/d/9/d93ef7419155552d21adac9a566eb8ba2f6299fb/36.jpg’,
title: ’36. Jose Berrios, SP, Twins’,
description: ‘

Minnesota’s season hasn’t gone as planned, but Berrios is having a fine year. Through 18 starts, the right-hander is 8-7 with a 3.54 ERA and 1.00 WHIP with 114 strikeouts in 114.1 innings for the Twins. He’s making his first All-Star appearance.

Bruce Kluckhohn / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-3.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/d/8/d81338686a31a4ac41a4e872d83a8d883a767cbc/35.jpg’,
title: ’35. Blake Treinen, RP, Athletics’,
description: ‘

Oakland bought low on Treinen last year, acquiring him in July from Washington. He had a 2.13 ERA and 13 saves in his first go-around with the team and has been far better this year. Flashing his nasty high-90s sinker, Treinen is 5-1 with 22 saves, a 0.81 ERA and 0.90 WHIP in 44.2 innings. He’s been rewarded with his first All-Star appearance.

Kelley L. Cox / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-5.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/5/0/50463d309786490501f2faae2b47f93f41b7d798/34.jpg’,
title: ’34. Aroldis Chapman, RP, Yankees’,
description: ‘

Chapman has rebounded from a disappointing 2017 season to put together the type of year we’re accustomed to seeing from him. The hard-throwing lefty has 24 saves and a 1.42 ERA with 66 strikeouts in 38 innings. He’s been named to his fifth All-Star Game, though a knee issue that popped up about 10 days before the Midsummer Classic could be worth watching for his game status.

Adam Hunger / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-4.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/7/e/7eb355b619c7c32b79fa798d61ff6f4afb325f8e/33.jpg’,
title: ’33. Mike Foltynewicz, SP, Braves’,
description: ‘

Foltynewicz has shown a great arm during his pro career, but it took him a while to put everything together. He’s done just that in the first half with a 2.37 ERA and 114 strikeouts in 95 innings as the Braves’ ace. His 3.8 BB/9 is still a concern going forward, but the Braves have to be happy with the development as he makes his first All-Star appearance.

Jeff Curry / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-2.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/3/2/325a56c10c579cef5aad843941345c1aa0e7a2ac/32.jpg’,
title: ’32. Joey Votto, 1B, Reds’,
description: ‘

Votto’s season started off slowly, but he’s made up for lost time. The former MVP and now six-time All-Star leads the NL in on-base percentage for the third consecutive season, though he has only eight home runs in 89 games.

David Kohl / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-2.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/3/6/36c94f3b1ec18f23186a0d67441e524c21287074/31.jpg’,
title: ’31. Edwin Diaz, RP, Mariners’,
description: ‘

He has a long way to go, but Francisco Rodriguez’s single-season record of 62 saves is within reach for Diaz. The flame-throwing right-hander has 35 saves through 91 games for the Mariners, also posting a 2.30 ERA, 0.81 WHIP and 78 strikeouts in 47 innings. He’s been the top closer in the game this year by nearly every measure and is making his first All-Star appearance in his third season.

Evan Habeeb / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-3.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/f/5/f52b9d847c4545834f78ab963ec150c3de510f6f/30.jpg’,
title: ’30. Miles Mikolas, SP, Cardinals’,
description: ‘

When the season started, many predicted that a pitcher coming over from Japan would be making the All-Star Game, but few predicted that it would be Mikolas. He’s been the Cardinals’ best pitcher in the first half, going 9-3 with a 2.63 ERA and 1.03 WHIP while displaying nearly perfect control.

Benny Sieu / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-4.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/9/1/913ed675fbf49f7c2726ccff4c16786ffa96e92a/29.jpg’,
title: ’29. Scooter Gennett, 2B, Reds’,
description: ‘

Gennett has gone from waiver claim to star for the Reds. After hitting .295-27-97 last season, he leads the NL with a .326 batting average and has added 14 home runs, 58 RBI and an .883 OPS. Milwaukee has to be kicking itself after letting Gennett go elsewhere for nothing, and he’s set to play in his first All-Star Game.

Kareem Elgazzar / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-2.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/9/2/925f7c6d158b061f2bbdbdb852fbe8094e6c7d7d/28.jpg’,
title: ’28. Eugenio Suarez, 3B, Reds’,
description: ‘

The Reds could have a star on their hands, as Suarez leads the NL in RBI (68) and holds a .995 OPS despite missing significant time in April with a wrist injury. He’s in the first year of a seven-year, $66 million contract and making his first All-Star appearance.

Charles LeClaire / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-4.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/0/5/05d82038c4a6ad486df8b40c2e8e3a2c9ed37a17/27.jpg’,
title: ’27. Javier Baez, 2B, Cubs’,
description: ‘

Baez is having a true breakout season for the Cubs. The power-hitting middle infielder has 17 home runs, just six off his career high, and his .893 OPS is nearly 100 points higher than his previous career high. He’s also added 16 steals in 17 attempts. Baez will be making his first All-Star appearance.

Dennis Wierzbicki / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-1.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/7/a/7a4a964927f8552475a72d373145a34428642bd0/26.jpg’,
title: ’26. Josh Hader, RP, Brewers’,
description: ‘

Hader’s value can’t be overstated. He’s been a true stopper in the Milwaukee bullpen, posting a 1.21 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, 83 strikeouts and seven saves over 44.2 innings. The lefty has the 15th highest WAR among all pitchers and a ridiculous 16.7 K/9. He’s making his first All-Star appearance in his first full season.

David Kohl / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-1.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/b/d/bda12739fde7daedf599ba1a351351f67c3bd443/25.jpg’,
title: ’25. Patrick Corbin, SP, Diamondbacks’,
description: ‘

The development of Corbin’s slider has turned him from a middle-of-the-rotation pitcher to an ace. During the first half, he’s 6-3 with a 3.05 ERA and 140 strikeouts in 112 innings for the Diamondbacks. The lefty will be making his second All-Star appearance after making the Midsummer Classic in 2013.

Charles LeClaire / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-2.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/c/6/c62e68ed903943c4d03995ba112210aad8237f79/24.jpg’,
title: ’24. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Diamondbacks’,
description: ‘

If you fell asleep on June 1, you’re probably shocked to wake up and find Goldschmidt in the All-Star Game. He was hitting just .209-7-19 with a .719 OPS before his bat woke up. He’s been on fire since, and he’s now up to .281-20-51 with a .929 OPS for the season, making his sixth All-Star appearance.

Charles LeClaire / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-4.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/6/5/65586f9b5c115ef1efc71224df00e1213c7676ea/23.jpg’,
title: ’23. Corey Kluber, SP, Indians’,
description: ‘

Kluber’s ERA has inflated somewhat recently, but the defending AL Cy Young winner has still been terrific. He’s 12-4 with a 2.49 ERA, leading the league with 126.1 innings. Kluber also has an AL-best 1.1 BB/9, but he has seen his strikeout rate regress significantly after posting a career-best 11.7 K/9 last year. This will be his third All-Star appearance in a row.

Jeff Curry / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-3.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/1/4/14ef13101abbca1c9e81830c20c90d01d2caa3d4/22.jpg’,
title: ’22. Ozzie Albies, 2B, Braves’,
description: ‘

Albies is one of the biggest reasons Atlanta is in the playoff hunt, emerging as a star at age 21. He’s hitting .281-18-50 and leads the NL in at-bats, runs scored and doubles. Albies has also made only six errors during the first half while showing great range.

Jeff Hanisch / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-5.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/6/8/68b7d2b57565e8af451ff1ab2976bf835d9f8bf9/21.jpg’,
title: ’21. Manny Machado, SS, Orioles’,
description: ‘

The only Oriole selected to the All-Star Game, there’s a chance Machado could be wearing another uniform for the All-Star Game with the O’s looking to trade the pending free agent. He’s having a career year offensively, hitting .313-21-60 with a .943 OPS, though he hasn’t graded outstanding defensively with the position switch. Machado is set for his fourth All-Star appearance at age 26.

Evan Habeeb / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-4.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/f/0/f03c391c4f9e99ae717ca3c2541ad443c86c8f67/20.jpg’,
title: ’20. Gerrit Cole, SP, Astros’,
description: ‘

Acquired from the Pirates in the offseason, Cole is pitching like the Cy Young candidate many saw when he was drafted first overall in 2011. The right-hander is 9-2 with a 2.70 ERA and 158 strikeouts in 116.2 innings, showing a significant jump in strikeouts this season. He’s making his second All-Star appearance.

Troy Taormina / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-2.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/b/a/ba249e248f156daae80a2a303f7be78649707fd2/19.jpg’,
title: ’19. Lorenzo Cain, OF, Brewers’,
description: ‘

Milwaukee surprisingly emerged in the Cain sweepstakes this offseason, signing the free agent to a five-year, $80 million contract. He’s delivered in the first half with an .829 OPS, hitting .290-8-26 with 16 steals, a career-high .394 on-base percentage and elite defense. It’s the defense that makes him crack the top 20 in the first half. Cain will be making his second All-Star appearance.

Jeff Hanisch / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-1.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/9/3/938ee0608b209ccd3dcaf160cbd73b86e51a73db/18.jpg’,
title: ’18. Trevor Bauer, SP, Indians’,
description: ‘

Bauer has never posted an ERA below 4.00 until this season. Finally establishing his control and keeping the ball in the park, Bauer is 8-6 with a 2.45 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 121.1 innings. His 2.17 FIP suggests Bauer could be headed for even better results in the second half. He represents Cleveland with his first All-Star appearance.

Kelley L. Cox / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-2.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/b/5/b51f5422ecac64fa940ef788291c673dabdbc88a/17.jpg’,
title: ’17. J.T. Realmuto, C, Marlins’,
description: ‘

Realmuto is Miami’s only All-Star, but this wasn’t a charitable pick. He’s been an elite hitter, batting .317-12-44 with a .919 OPS in 66 games played. This will be his first All-Star appearance.

Orlando Ramirez / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-4.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/4/d/4d6bb438cd301ef82baff6af7a94da1f8f4d6706/16.jpg’,
title: ’16. Aaron Nola, SP, Phillies’,
description: ‘

Nola is making his first All-Star appearance this year, though he’s quickly ascended since being drafted seventh overall in 2014 out of LSU. The right-hander is tied for the NL lead with 11 wins and has a 2.41 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 116 innings for the emerging Phillies.

Eric Hartline / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-3.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/2/6/26ddd77f5849ec632d8a931354e22dcc0b5d6c4a/15.jpg’,
title: ’15. J.D. Martinez, DH, Red Sox’,
description: ‘

Martinez signed a five-year, $110 million contract with Boston in the offseason, and so far it’s been money well spent. Playing mostly at DH, Martinez is a legitimate candidate for the AL Triple Crown, ranking fourth in batting average (.329), first in home runs (27) and first in RBI (74). This will be only his second All-Star appearance.

Troy Taormina / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-1.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/4/b/4b2719b3267be975e271b945effbc1f35b0a8ed1/14.jpg’,
title: ’14. Freddie Freeman, 1B, Braves’,
description: ‘

Atlanta’s offense has been surprisingly elite this season, led by Freeman. The star first baseman has an OPS above .900 for the third straight year and is hitting .315-16-59 in 89 games. Surprisingly, this will be just his third All-Star appearance.

Wendell Cruz / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-1.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/1/3/13cea27af01e32c103f57162a631cccbef9ec66b/13.jpg’,
title: ’13. Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies’,
description: ‘

It’s hard to be more consistent than Arenado has been since 2015. He’s headed to his fourth straight All-Star Game and has won five straight Gold Gloves and three straight Silver Sluggers. Arenado has a career-best .970 OPS and is tied for the NL lead with 22 home runs, adding a .305 batting average and 63 RBI.

Ron Chenoy / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-5.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/7/8/78abe0904d618759731e21861e11902b5e79ac84/12.jpg’,
title: ’12. Alex Bregman, 3B, Astros’,
description: ‘

Bregman became a household name in last year’s playoffs, and he’s a superstar with his performance in the first half of 2018. The third baseman has a .903 OPS, hitting .281-17-57 while showing elite defense at the hot corner for Houston.

Troy Taormina / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-2.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/e/6/e690fd107e562966f8dc0b0230a4b15448f09db6/11.jpg’,
title: ’11. Jacob deGrom, SP, Mets’,
description: ‘

The Mets are imploding, but that’s not deGrom’s fault. The ace is just 5-4 despite an NL-best 1.79 ERA, and he’s added 142 strikeouts in 115.1 innings. 2018 is just his second All-Star appearance, but he’s certainly deserving.

Jason Getz / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-4.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/c/c/cc08b61ff99e0e33cbc611c31ff8c2c1000f979c/10.jpg’,
title: ’10. Aaron Judge, OF, Yankees’,
description: ‘

There was some skepticism regarding Judge’s rookie campaign after he struggled in the second half and led the league with 208 strikeouts. He’s getting the last laugh with a .971 OPS and 25 home runs through 85 games. The numbers aren’t quite what he produced in the first half of last season, but Judge has been phenomenal.

Nick Turchiaro / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-2.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/4/6/465db2a0f792203fc932a5e8c5fb503c0f300dbf/9.jpg’,
title: ‘9. Justin Verlander, SP, Astros’,
description: ‘

Verlander picked up this year right where he left off last season, but he’s slowed recently. Still, the former Detroit Tiger has elite numbers with nine wins, a 2.15 ERA, AL-best 0.84 WHIP and 154 strikeouts in 125.2 innings. He certainly remains in the hunt for the AL Cy Young, which would be his second.

Shanna Lockwood / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-4.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/f/d/fdcf05e78bd55b385aee296668ad332fe3a8dad6/8.jpg’,
title: ‘8. Jose Altuve, 2B, Astros’,
description: ‘

The reigning AL MVP got off to a bit of a slow start, but he’s made up for it. Altuve has won three AL batting titles in the last four seasons, and he trails only Mookie Betts for the lead this season. In addition, he leads the AL in hits for the fifth straight year and has an .892 OPS at a premium position. His nine home runs and 13 steals are somewhat of a disappointment, but this remains one of the truly elite players in the game.

Kim Klement / USA Today Sports Images


}
,
{
src: ‘https://res-4.cloudinary.com/ybmedia/image/upload/q_auto/v1/m/0/2/0207b86a221c135d61ef25fedbd528e54fca37da/7.jpg’,
title: ‘7. Luis Severino, SP, Yankees’,
description: ‘

Severino finished third in the AL Cy Young voting last year while making his first All-Star appearance. He’s been even better this year, leading the AL with 14 wins and posting a 2.12 ERA in 123.1 innings. Severino has done a great job keeping the ball in the park at Yankee Stadium and is challenging Chris Sale and Justin Verlander for the Cy Young thus far.

Wendell Cruz / USA Today Sports Images


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Sale has never won the Cy Young Award, but he’s finished in the top six in the voting in each of the last six seasons. This could be the year. The lefty leads the AL in strikeouts for the third time in four seasons with 176 and has a miniscule 2.36 ERA to go along with nine wins.

Noah K. Murray / USA Today Sports Images


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Scherzer has won two straight NL Cy Young Awards and has his sights set on his third straight and fourth Cy Young overall. The Nats ace leads the NL in wins (11), innings (127.2), strikeouts (177) and WHIP (0.89). He’s making his sixth consecutive All-Star appearance.

Amber Searls / USA Today Sports Images


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title: ‘4. Francisco Lindor, SS, Indians’,
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A very good offensive player before this season, Lindor has turned into a great one this year. He has a .940 OPS and is hitting .298-23-56 with 12 steals in 87 games for Cleveland. Now in his third straight All-Star Game, Lindor has clearly become the best of a great crop of young shortstops in MLB.

Peter Aiken / USA Today Sports Images


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title: ‘3. Jose Ramirez, 3B, Indians’,
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Those who thought Ramirez’s power breakout from 2017 was a fluke are now sorely mistaken. After hitting 29 home runs last season, the third baseman has 24 homers and a .985 OPS. He finished third in the AL MVP race last year and is well on his way to finishing high in the voting this year.

Rick Osentoski / USA Today Sports Images


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title: ‘2. Mookie Betts, OF, Red Sox’,
description: ‘

Betts is rebounding from a “down” year to put up an epic first half as the Boston leadoff man. The right fielder has a league-leading .342 batting average and 1.105 OPS with 22 home runs and 16 stolen bases. He’s a two-time defending Gold Glove winner heading into this third straight All-Star game at age 25.

Brad Mills / USA Today Sports Images


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Trout is the best player in baseball by almost any measure. The two-time MVP is now on his third straight year leading the league in on-base percentage and will make his seventh straight All-Star appearances. He has a career-high 1.085 OPS heading into the final week of the first half.

Kelvin Kuo / USA Today Sports Images


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Ranking every 2018 MLB All-Star

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Sources: O's have deal in place for Machado

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The Baltimore Orioles have the structure of a deal in place for Manny Machado and are working through specific aspects of a trade, sources told ESPN’s Buster Olney.

As Machado prepares for Tuesday night’s All-Star Game in what could be his final appearance in a Baltimore uniform, the Orioles were going through medical records and other paperwork involved in the transaction, sources told Olney.

It is not yet known which team Machado will be traded to, but the Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies have been invested in their pursuit of the All-Star shortstop.

Fancred reported earlier Tuesday that the Dodgers had emerged as the leading contender to acquire Machado but also noted that the talks were fluid and identified the Phillies, Milwaukee Brewers and Arizona Diamondbacks as contenders with an “outside chance” to land the four-time All-Star.

MLB.com reported Monday night, however, that Philadelphia was the “most likely destination” for Machado because of the Phillies’ willingness to include pitching prospect Adonis Medina. MASN Sports was first to report Monday that the Orioles were very close to a Machado trade.

As rumors swirled about his imminent departure from the Orioles, Machado addressed the media Monday, acknowledging it would feel different to play for another team.

“The only thing I’ve ever known has been the Orioles organization,” he said. “They drafted me, I came up with them, played with them. So I don’t know anything different.”

Olney reported Sunday that even if the Phillies do not trade for Machado this summer, they would ardently pursue him as a free agent after the season. Philadelphia’s front office is loaded with former Orioles officials who were involved in the drafting and developing of Machado — including president Andy MacPhail, general manager Matt Klentak and assistant GM Ned Rice.

According to Olney, the Phillies prospects being evaluated by the Orioles were Medina, pitcher Franklyn Kilome, outfielder Jhailyn Ortiz and infielder Arquimedes Gamboa.

Machado, 26, was drafted by the Orioles with the No. 3 pick in 2010 and has been a starter in Baltimore since 2012. His contract expires after this season, and the Orioles aren’t in a position to match the offers the four-time All-Star is expected to receive on the open market.

Machado insists he’s not thinking about whether Tuesday night might be his last in Orioles attire.

“No, no. I’m putting it on and I’m going to represent the organization in the right way,” he said Monday. “If it is, it is. If not, I’ll be there on Friday [in Toronto], back with my teammates.”

Machado would be a solid addition to any contender. He converted from third base to shortstop this season and has played the position well enough to easily win the All-Star fan vote at the position.

“People didn’t think I should have made the move in my walk year, but I did. I’m going to the All-Star Game as an Oriole and as a shortstop,” Machado said.

By far the best performer on a last-place team, Machado leads the Orioles in batting average (.315), home runs (24), RBIs (65) and walks (45).

“We’ll see where he ends up in the next week or two,” Milwaukee outfielder Christian Yelich said. “I know we’re one of the teams rumored to be in to get him.”

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.



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