2016 MLB All-Star Game: What you need to know and 10 predictions ahead of the game
Here are nine things to know about Tuesday night's All-Star Game. We threw in 10 bold predictions for good measure
Tuesday night in San Diego, baseball's best players and brightest starts will come together in Petco Park for the 2016 MLB All-Star Game. As always, home field advantage in the World Series is on the line. Here are the rosters.
All-Star week kicked off Sunday night with the Futures Game and continued Monday with the Home Run Derby. Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton won that in convincing fashion. The All-Star Game ties it all together and gets everyone ready for the second half of the season. Here are nine things to know about the Midsummer Classic. We threw in 10 bold predictions as well.
1. Here are the starting lineups.
Monday afternoon, AL manager Ned Yost (Royals) and NL manager Terry Collins (Mets) revealed their starting lineups for the All-Star Game. The starting players are determined by fan vote, of course. The managers put the actual batting order together. Here is the AL lineup:
- 2B Jose Altuve, Astros
- CF Mike Trout, Angels
- 3B Manny Machado, Orioles
- DH David Ortiz, Red Sox
- SS Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox
- 1B Eric Hosmer, Royals
- RF Mookie Betts, Red Sox
- C Salvador Perez, Royals
- LF Jackie Bradley Jr., Red Sox
Yost said Indians righty Corey Kluber, Rangers lefty Cole Hamels, Blue Jays righty Aaron Sanchez, and White Sox lefty Jose Quintana are tentatively scheduled to follow Sale out of the bullpen in that order. The various relievers will take over after that. Here is the NL lineup:
- 2B Ben Zobrist, Cubs
- RF Bryce Harper, Nationals
- 3B Kris Bryant, Cubs
- DH Wil Myers, Padres
- C Buster Posey, Giants
- 1B Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
- CF Marcell Ozuna, Marlins
- LF Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
- SS Addison Russell, Cubs
Starting Pitcher: RHP Johnny Cueto, Giants
Collins played coy and declined to reveal his pitching order after Cueto. He did indicate Cubs lefty Jon Lester will get into the game at some point, and I would bet on Padres southpaw Drew Pomeranz throwing an inning in front of the host San Diego crowd as well.
2. The AL is the home team in the NL park.
MLB is showcasing its newest ballparks in upcoming All-Star Games, which means we are currently in the middle of a four-year stretch of All-Star Games in NL ballparks. Here's the list:
2015: Great American Ball Park (Reds)
2016: Petco Park (Padres)
2017: Marlins Park
2018: Nationals Park
Even though this year's All-Star Game is in San Diego, the AL is the home team and will bat in the bottom of the inning. The leagues alternate home field advantage each year, and the NL was home last season, so now it's the AL's turn. The AL will be the home team in Nationals Park in 2018 as well.
3. The AL has dominated the All-Star Game of late.
The All-Star Game has been very one-sided over the last 20 years. The AL is 15-4-1 in the last 20 All-Star Games -- the infamous tie was in Milwaukee in 2002 -- and they've won the last three Midsummer Classics as well. The combined score of those last three All-Star Games: 14-6. The AL won 12 straight All-Star Games from 1997-2009, not counting that silly tie. Will the NL get off the schneid this year?
4. Home field advantage in the World Series is a pretty big deal.
No one seems to like the rule, but home field advantage in the World Series is on the line in the All-Star Game. That's a result of the tie in 2002. MLB wanted to find a way to make the game more meaningful, and this is what they came up with. I don't like it, but it is what it is.
Since the rule was put in place in 2003, the team with home field advantage has gone 9-4 in the World Series. The home team is 40-28 in 68 games, and in no individual World Series from 2003-15 did the road team win more games than the home team. There have been two World Series Games 7s since 2003 (2011, 2014), though the home team only won one (2011).
Home field advantage goes beyond being in your ballpark and playing in front of your crowd. Players get to sleep in their own beds and go through their routines in the comfort of their home stadium. That stuff matters. Enough to change the balance of power in a series? Maybe! It can't hurt though.
5. Trout is trying for his third straight All-Star Game MVP.
Last year Mike Trout became the first player ever to win back-to-back All-Star Game MVP awards. The All-Star Game has been around since 1933 and they've been naming MVPs since 1962. The list of players to win multiple All-Star Game MVP awards is a short one:
Mike Trout, Angels (2014, 2015)
Cal Ripken Jr., Orioles (1991, 2001)
Gary Carter, Expos (1981, 1984)
Steve Garvey Dodgers (1974, 1978)
Willie Mays, Giants (1963, 1968)
Three Hall of Famers, a 10-time All-Star, and Mike Trout. That's the list. This is Trout's fifth straight All-Star Game and his fourth straight start. He's gone 5 for 10 with two doubles, one triple, one homer, one stolen base, two walks, and one strikeout in his All-Star Game career. Not bad against the best pitchers the game has to offer, eh?
6. There are 33 first-time All-Stars.
Between injury and pitching replacements, a total of 79 players were selected to the All-Star Game this season. 79! There are 750 players on active rosters at any given moment, and if you were one of those players, the odds are better than 1-in-10 that you're an All-Star.
Of those 79 players, 33 are All-Stars for the very first time, so a little more than 40 percent. Here's the list of first time All-Stars:
RHP Jake Arrieta, Cubs
1B Brandon Belt, Giants
OF Mookie Betts, Red Sox
SS Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox
RHP Brad Brach, Orioles
OF Jackie Bradley Jr., Red Sox
RHP Alex Colome, Rays
SS Aledmys Diaz, Cardinals
OF Adam Duvall, Reds
RHP Marco Estrada, Blue Jays
RHP Jeurys Familia, Mets
OF Dexter Fowler, Cubs
RHP Will Harris, Astros
OF Odubel Herrera, Phillies
1B Eric Hosmer, Royals
RHP Corey Kluber, Indians
SS Francisco Lindor, Indians
OF Starling Marte, Pirates
LHP Andrew Miller, Yankees
1B Wil Myers, Padres
IF Eduardo Nunez, Twins
OF Marcell Ozuna, Marlins
LHP Drew Pomeranz, Padres
LHP Jose Quintana, White Sox
RHP A.J. Ramos, Marlins
C Wilson Ramos, Nationals
SS Addison Russell, Cubs
RHP Danny Salazar, Indians
RHP Aaron Sanchez, Blue Jays
OF Michael Saunders, Blue Jays
SS Corey Seager, Dodgers
RHP Noah Syndergaard, Mets
RHP Steven Wright, Red Sox
There are two Cy Young award winners (Arrieta, Kluber) and several World Series champs on that list. Not a bad set of names at all.
On the other side of the coin, Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera is the most veteran All-Star this year. This is his 11th All-Star Game overall and seventh straight. Red Sox DH David Ortiz will be playing in his 10th All-Star Game in his final season. Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran is an All-Star for the ninth time.
7. The AL has the youngest starting infield ever.
The starting position players for each team are determined by the fans, and as a result of this year's voting, the AL has the youngest starting All-Star infield ever. All four players are age 26 or younger:
1B Eric Hosmer, Royals: 26 years, 262 days
2B Jose Altuve Astros: 26 years, 67 days
SS Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox: 23 years, 285 days
3B Manny Machado, Orioles: 24 years, 6 days
In fact, this extends beyond the infield. Not including Ortiz, the DH, all eight of the AL's starting position players are age 26 or younger. Here are the others:
C Salvador Perez, Royals: 26 years, 63 days
LF Jackie Bradley, Red Sox: 26 years, 84 days
CF Mike Trout, Angels: 24 years, 340 days
RF Mookie Betts: 23 years, 279 days
I think it's safe to call this AL squad the youngest starting lineup in All-Star Game history.
8. Chances are an All-Star will be traded before the deadline.
In all likelihood, an All-Star or two will be moved before the August 1 trade deadline. Last year both David Price and Jonathan Papelbon were dealt at the deadline after being selected to the All-Star Game. The year before Price, Yoenis Cespedes, Huston Street, and Jeff Samardzija were all traded after being All-Stars.
In fact, Samardzija was traded from the Cubs to the Athletics after being named an All-Star, but before the actual All-Star Game. He was ineligible to play in the game and wore a generic National League jersey during baseline introductions. Check it out:
Awkward! That was Samardzija's only All-Star Game selection to date. Hopefully he goes back at some point so he can get a proper introduction and, you know, play in the game.
Which All-Star is most likely to be traded at the deadline this year? That's impossible to say. Trades seem to come out of nowhere these days. Yankees lefty Andrew Miller, Padres first baseman Wil Myers and lefty Drew Pomeranz, and Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez have been mentioned in trade rumors more than anyone else the last few weeks.
9. MLB has, by far, the best All-Star Game among the four major sports.
It's become cool and cliche to say the All-Star Game is lame and you're not going to watch, but in terms of entertainment value, the MLB All-Star Game is by far the best among the four major sports. It's not even close. The NBA All-Star Game is a glorified pickup game, the NHL has had to resort to giving a $1 million prize to winning team to make its All-Star Game more competitive, and I'm not even sure the Pro Bowl exists anymore. (It does. I checked.) Knock it if you want, but no other league offers an All-Star Game as exciting or competitive as MLB.
Time for some bold predictions for the 2016 All-Star Game. Ready? Here we go.
- Mike Trout goes deep again and wins his third straight All-Star Game MVP award.
- David Ortiz homers in his final All-Star Game. Wil Myers homers in his first All-Star Game.
- Marcell Ozuna makes a stunning throw to cut a runner down at the plate.
- The four Cubs in the starting lineup combine to go hitless.
- Yankees setup duo Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller combine to strike out every batter they face.
- Corey Seager picks up an extra-base hit. I'll say a double. The Petco Park crowd boos.
- Ian Desmond picks up the big go-ahead hit in the seventh inning. Fernando Rodney gives it up.
- The Fox broadcast shows a player catching a Pokemon with Pokemon Go.
- The San Diego Chicken makes an appearance.
- The AL continues its recent dominance with another win. The final score: 8-4.
And there you have it.
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