Predicting the MLB All-Star Game Rosters 5 Years from Now
The 85th MLB All-Star Game will commence Tuesday night, airing at 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX and features a mix of baseball's most well-known veterans as well as its stars of tomorrow.
In addition to high-profile talents such as Andrew McCutchen, Mike Trout, Clayton Kershaw, Miguel Cabrera, Jose Bautista and Felix Hernandez, this year's All-Star Game features a long list of first-timers such as Yasiel Puig, Anthony Rizzo, Todd Frazier, Josh Donaldson, Julio Teheran, Masahiro Tanaka and Dellin Betances.
However, since we're always interested in the future here at Prospect Pipeline, I thought we'd warm up for tonight's Midsummer Classic with a look at what each league's All-Star roster might look like five years from now.
That being said, there’s a realistic chance there will be players on the 2019 All-Star team that aren’t currently on the major league radar or, in some cases, that are yet to be drafted. Similarly, many of the veteran players named to this year's game will have either retired by the 2019 season or at least be in the final stages of their careers.
Here's a very early look at the potential AL and NL rosters for the 2019 All-Star Game.
National League: Pitchers
SP: Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (31)
The two-time Cy Young Award winner is a generational star and has the potential to serve as one of baseball’s top starting pitchers well past his prime, even if his stuff regresses due to a heavy workload early in his career.
SP: Jose Fernandez, RHP, Miami Marlins (26)
Fernandez, 21, emerged as one the game’s top pitchers last season after making a nearly unprecedented jump from High-A Jupiter to the major leagues, but unfortunately his career was put on hold this season due to Tommy John surgery. However, the sky is the limit for the Marlins right-hander, who will be only 26 in 2019.
SP: Gerrit Cole, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (28)
Gerrit Cole is yet to put everything together and dominate at the major league level, but there’s never been any question as to whether or not the 23-year-old right-hander has the pure stuff to serve as an ace.
SP: Michael Wacha, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals (27)
The 23-year-old Wacha is on pace for a tremendous career after carrying the Cardinals into the postseason and capturing NLCS MVP honors. That said, his recent shoulder injury has raised questions about his long-term durability as a starter.
SP: Lucas Giolito, RHP, Washington Nationals (24)
Giolito, 20, arguably has the highest ceiling of any pitching prospect, with a projectable 6’6” frame and two pitches (fastball/curveball) with legitimate 80-grade potential. He’s currently in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery, so the right-hander’s career could just be taking off in 2019.
SP: Julio Urias, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (22)
Urias, a 17-year-old left-hander, is currently excelling at the High-A level, a testament both to his stuff and feel for pitching. All signs point to him debuting in the major leagues as a teenager and then becoming a front-of-the-rotation fixture in subsequent years.
SP: Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets (26)
Syndergaard, 21, is one of the more promising pitching prospects in the minor leagues, with a dominant four-pitch mix and projection of a No. 1 or 2 starter at maturity.
RP: Craig Kimbrel, RHP, Atlanta Braves (31)
Barring an injury, Kimbrel, 26, should serve as one of baseball’s elite closer for the duration of his career.
RP: Aroldis Chapman, LHP, Cincinnati Reds (31)
See above blurb for Kimbrel.
RP: Ken Giles, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies (28)
Giles, 23, has dominated during his brief major league career thanks to an elite fastball that frequently reaches triple digits and a devastating, bat-missing slider. The right-hander could take over as the Phillies closer as early as this season should they decide to trade Jonathan Papelbon.
RP: Carlos Martinez, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals (27)
Martinez is currently a member of the Cardinals starting rotation, but, as he showcased in last year’s postseason, his highest ceiling arguably is as shutdown, late-inning reliever.
RP: Neil Ramirez, RHP, Chicago Cubs (30)
Ramirez quietly has emerged as one of the more dominant relievers in the National League thanks to his deep arsenal—he primarily was developed as a starter—of swing-and-miss pitches and willingness to attack hitters.
Honorable Mentions: Julio Teheran (ATL), Matt Harvey (NYM), Jon Gray (COL) and Robert Stephenson (CIN).
American League: Pitchers
SP: Masahiro Tanaka, RHP, New York Yankees (31)
While Tanaka’s current elbow injury obviously is worrisome, the 25-year-old right-hander is still young and already has proved to be an elite starting pitcher just halfway into his first professional season.
SP: Hunter Harvey, RHP, Hunter Harvey (24)
Harvey, 19, projects as future front-of-the-rotation arm like fellow first-rounders Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman, and he has the potential to reach the major leagues faster than his high school peers from the 2013 draft class.
SP: Yu Darvish, RHP, Texas Rangers (32)
Darvish has the pure stuff to be a perennial All-Star and headline a starting rotation the foreseeable future, though there are concerns about his durability due to the heavy workload early in his career.
SP: Daniel Norris, LHP, Toronto Blue Jays (26)
Norris has shot up the prospect rankings this year with his success between the High-A and Double-A levels, as the 21-year-old the left-hander has improved his delivery and shown the ability to consistently miss bats with an advanced four-pitch mix.
SP: Taijuan Walker, RHP, Seattle Mariners (26)
Walker has flashed his front-of-the-rotation ceiling over five starts in the major leagues, and considering he’s still only 21, the right-hander could be hitting his stride in 2019.
SP: Henry Owens, LHP, Boston Red Sox (26)
Owens, 21, is currently in Double-A and already knocking on the door of the major leagues, and it’s easy to envision the 6’6” left-hander making strides with his command over the next five seasons.
SP: Dylan Bundy, RHP, Baltimore Orioles (26)
Bundy reached the major leagues in 2012 as a 19-year-old but was forced to miss the next year-and-a-half after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Well, the now-21-year-old right-hander is swiftly working his way back up the ladder and likely to rejoin the Orioles rotation during the second half.
RP: Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Houston Astros (27)
The Astros have remained steadfast in their development of Foltynewicz as a starting pitcher, but his ongoing command issues and the fact he boasts a legitimate triple-digit fastball (especially when working in short bursts) could finally lead to a move to the bullpen in the coming years.
RP: Dellin Betances, RHP, New York Yankees (31)
Betances, a first-time All-Star this year, has been the nastiest and most effective non-closer in the major leagues this season, as the 26-year-old right-hander enters the All-Star break with the highest Fangraphs WAR (2.1) among all relievers.
RP: Sean Doolittle, LHP, Oakland Athletics (32)
Doolittle, 27, has been a revelation for the A’s in his first full season as a closer, highlighted by a ridiculous 63-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 43.2 innings at the All-Star break. His contract includes team options both for the 2019 and 2020 seasons, which means the left-hander could hold down his current role for a long, long time.
RP: Cam Bedrosian, RHP, Los Angeles Angles (27)
Bedrosian has been one of the more dominant relievers in the minor leagues this year, despite his inconsistent showing during several stints with the Angels, but the right-hander has the makings of an impact closer once fully developed.
RP: Alex Meyer, RHP, Minnesota Twins (29)
Meyer, 24, has been developed as a starter and likely will be given an opportunity to prove himself in the role at the highest level, but the 6’9” right-hander’s power arsenal also suggests a bright future as late-inning reliever.
RP: Luke Jackson, RHP, Texas Rangers (27)
Jackson, 22, has figured things out as a starting pitcher over the last two seasons and moved up the organizational ladder as a result, but the right-hander also flashes big-time potential as a reliever thanks to his ability to miss bats with a mid-90s fastball and swing-and-miss curveball.
Honorable Mentions: Felix Hernandez (SEA), Chris Sale (CHW), Tyler Skaggs (LAA), Aaron Sanchez (TOR) and Jose Berrios (MIN).
National League: Catchers
Jonathan Lucroy, Milwaukee Brewers (33)
Lucroy will be 33 in 2019 and might not even be behind the plate at this point in his career, but his well-rounded game gives him the potential to rank as one of baseball’s top backstops for a long time, provided he stays healthy.
Austin Hedges, San Diego Padres (26)
Hedges, 21, is the best defensive catcher in the minor leagues and expected to be a perennial Gold Glove Award winner once he arrives, and I think his bat eventually will catch up to his defensive prowess.
Devin Mesoraco, Cincinnati Reds (31)
Mesoraco, 26, is enjoying an overdue breakout campaign this year and earned his first All-Star selection, but a rash of injuries early in his career have led to concerns about his long-term durability behind the plate.
Honorable Mentions: Kevin Plawecki (NYM) and Reese McGuire (PIT).
American League: Catchers
Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals (29)
Perez is starting this year’s All-Star Game in place of the injured Matt Wieters. Provided he stays healthy, Perez also stands a realistic chance of starting the 2019 All-Star Game in his age-29 season.
Blake Swihart, Boston Red Sox (27)
Swihart at the moment is arguably the top catching prospect in the minor leagues, as he’s a mature switch-hitter that makes lots of contact and also stifles the running game with advanced blocking, receiving and catch-and-throw skills.
Jorge Alfaro, Texas Rangers (26)
Alfaro is currently in High-A and still has a huge gap between his present ability and future potential, but the 21-year-old backstop is arguably the best dual-threat—he has the athleticism and tools to impact the game on both sides of the ball—backstop in the minor leagues. He’ll need time to develop, but the final product should be well worth the wait.
Honorable Mentions: Chance Sisco (BAL) and Luis Torrens (NYY).
National League: Infielders
1B: Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks (31)
Goldschmidt is the definition of consistency, and the 26-year-old’s swing and approach have him poised to offer star-level production at first base for the duration of his career.
1B: Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs (29)
A first-time All-Star this year, Rizzo represents a big piece of the Cubs' future and has steadily improved since his 2012 rookie season.
1B: Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves (29)
Though he’s streaky, Freeman, 24, is one of the best pure hitters in baseball and should contend for his share of batting titles during his prime years.
2B: Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs (26)
Baez, 21, has the ceiling of a perennial All-Star thanks to his elite power potential at an up-the-middle position, or anywhere on the field for that matter.
2B: Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals (29)
Rendon, 24, appeared on the final vote for this year’s All-Star Game, and based on his overall production while playing both second and third base for the Nationals, deserves to be in the Midsummer Classic.
2B: Jose Peraza, Atlanta Braves (25)
Peraza, 20, is currently thriving in Double-A and clearly on the fast track the major leagues, where his top-of-the-line speed and slick defense should make him a standout counterpart to shortstop Andrelton Simmons.
SS: Andrelton Simmons, Atlanta Braves (29)
Simmons should serve as baseball’s best defensive shortstop for the duration of his career, and I also think the 24-year-old’s bat will eventually come around.
SS: Addison Russell, Chicago Cubs (25)
Recently traded to the Cubs, Russell, 20, is more likely to remain at shortstop than future teammate Javier Baez thanks to his five-tool potential and consistency. If he develops as hoped, Russell could emerge as a perennial All-Star.
3B: Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs (27)
Bryant possesses as much power as any player in professional baseball, evidenced by his 31 home runs this year at the midseason mark. The 22-year-old’s bat gives him the potential to be a star even if he’s forced to move off third base.
3B: Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies (28)
Arenado, 23, is already viewed as one of baseball’s future stars after winning a Gold Glove last season as a rookie and then putting together a 28-game hitting streak early in his sophomore campaign.
3B: Corey Seager, Los Angeles Dodgers (25)
Although the Dodgers have developed Seager as a shortstop, the 20-year-old left-handed hitter’s large frame—as well as a long-term extension for Hanley Ramirez—could eventually force him over to third base, where his production would still serve as a premium.
Honorable Mentions: Jean Segura (MIL), Chris Owings (ARI), Dee Gordon (LAD), Maikel Franco (PHI), Rosell Herrera (COL), and Matt Adams (STL).
American League: Infielders
1B: Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox (32)
Abreu has emerged as one of the sport’s elite hitter this year in his first stateside campaign, and the 27-year-old should serve as one of the American League’s top power hitters for the duration of his six-year contract with the White Sox (and beyond).
1B: D.J. Peterson, Seattle Mariners (27)
Peterson, a first-round draft pick in 2013, has been developed as a third baseman, but his high offensive floor and lack of projection at the hot corner should result in a move across the infield prior to his first All-Star Game.
1B: C.J. Cron, Los Angeles Angles (29)
Cron, 24, is viewed as the heir to Albert Pujols at first base, as he possesses enough right-handed raw power to serve as a middle-of-the-order threat for years to come.
2B: Jose Altuve, Houston Astros (29)
Altuve has emerged as the best second baseman in the American League this year thanks to his average/speed package as a top-of-the-order hitter, and there’s no reason to doubt he’ll be anything short (sorry, had to do it) of an All-Star player by his age-29 season.
2B: Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox (26)
Betts has enjoyed a rapid ascent through Boston’s system, as the 21-year-old is now playing at his fifth level in the last two years after a late-June promotion to the major leagues. He’s serving as a super utility man at the present thanks to his athleticism and speed, but there’s little doubt his long-term future is at the keystone.
2B: Jurickson Profar, Texas Rangers (26)
Profar has flashed his upside here and there since making his big league debut in late 2012, but the 21-year-old middle infielder is yet to tap into his true potential. The good news is that he still has plenty of time to become a star.
SS: Francisco Lindor, Cleveland Indians (25)
Lindor is likely to be an All-Star based solely on the merits of his Gold Glove-caliber defense, but it’s his bat, approach and speed that should make the 20-year-old a fixture in the Midsummer Classic for the foreseeable future.
SS: Carlos Correa, Houston Astros (24)
Correa, 19, was having a tremendous campaign at High-A Lancaster before suffering a season-ending ankle injury, and there was even a slight chance that he’d finish the year in the major leagues. While the injury represents a setback in his overall development, Correa should still debut with the Astros at some point next season and subsequently emerge as one of the league’s premier shortstops.
3B: Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers (25)
Gallo showcased his 80-grade raw power in Sunday’s Futures Game, both before and during the game, and it’s easy to envision the 20-year-old left-handed hitter making a run at the AL home run title once given everyday playing time.
3B: Miguel Sano, Minnesota Twins (26)
Sano has missed the entire 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in the spring, but the 21-year-old slugger, like Gallo, has tremendous raw power that makes him a candidate to hit 35-plus homers in the major leagues with regularity.
3B: Xander Bogaerts, Boston Red Sox (26)
There’s a chance Bogaerts spends his career at shortstop; however, the 21-year-old’s bat—specifically his ability to hit for both average and power—once fully developed, could also make him a clean fit at the hot corner.
Honorable Mentions: Nick Castellanos (DET), Jon Singleton (HOU), Jason Kipnis (CLE) and Raul Mondesi (KAN).
National League: Outfielders
Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers (28)
The sky is the limit for 23-year-old Yasiel Puig so long as he can stay on the field; he’s seemingly just scratching the surface of his ceiling as a perennial MVP candidate.
Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals (26)
Harper, 21, has shown flashes of brilliance early in his career, but he unfortunately has been plagued by injuries and therefore yet to put things together as hoped. However, as with Puig, the sky is the limit for the Nats phenom.
Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati Reds (28)
Hamilton has emerged as one of the game’s more exciting and valuable players in his first full season, as he’s surpassed expectations at the plate and in center field while reeking havoc on the basepaths.
Christian Yelich, Miami Marlins (27)
Yelich has been really impressive since debuting in the major leagues last July, as the 22-year-old’s gorgeous left-handed swing and advanced approach scream future batting champion.
Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins (29)
It’s crazy to think that Stanton will be only 29 in 2019. The Marlins slugger has steadily improved over the course of his career and conceivably could be carving his name in the record books in five years.
Gregory Polanco, Pittsburgh Pirates (27)
Polanco, like many of the other top offensive prospects to debut this season, is a special talent, and at 22 years of age, the toolsy outfielder still has considerable room to improve.
Oscar Taveras, St. Louis Cardinals (27)
Taveras is yet to truly announce his presence in the major leagues as we all know he’s capable of doing, but once that happens, the 22-year-old left-handed batter should quickly emerge as one of baseball’s best young hitters.
Honorable Mentions: Andrew McCutchen (PIT), Joc Pederson (LAD), Jesse Winker (CIN), David Dahl (COL), Raimel Tapia (COL) and Jay Bruce (CIN).
American League: Outfielders
Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins (25)
Buxton, 20, likely won’t debut in the major leagues until the 2015 season, but once he arrives, it shouldn’t be long until the toolsy center field emerges as an All-Star-caliber player.
Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels (27)
Trout will only be 27 and entering him prime in 2019, so there’s every reason to believe he’ll still be viewed as the sport’s premier player five years from now.
George Springer, Houston Astros (29)
Springer has offered fans a taste of his potential this season by clubbing 19 home runs in his first 76 professional games, so it’s crazy to think about what the 24-year-old will accomplish in his prime seasons.
Clint Frazier, Cleveland Indians (24)
Frazier, 19, is currently making his full-season debut and therefore yet to graduate from the Low-A level, but his off-the-chart bat speed and hitting/power potential gives him the upside of a perennial All-Star.
Nomar Mazara, Texas Rangers (24)
Mazara probably the biggest the surprise on this list, as he’s only 19 and yet to play a game above the Low-A level. However, the 6’4”, left-handed hitter has the type of raw power and advanced approach that profiles well at the highest level and could make him a star before his prime seasons.
Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles (33)
Jones will be in his age-33 season in 2019, but the center fielder has a strong track record of staying healthy and has played in at least 149 games in each of the last four seasons.
Dalton Pompey, Toronto Blue Jays (26)
Pompey, currently 21, was recently moved up to Double-A for the first time and is now officially on the major league radar. He won’t debut with the Blue Jays until 2015 at the earliest, but Pompey’s mix of speed, contact skills and ability to play center field gives him under-the-radar star potential.
Honorable Mentions: Yoenis Cespedes (OAK), Teoscar Hernandez (HOU) and Nick Williams (TEX).