Predicting the Yankee 2021 All-Stars:
In an attempt to create excitement with the 2021 All-Star Game coming up next month, the MLB has (yet again) created a new system for voting for the starting players. This year will feature two voting periods: “Keeping the Favorites” from June 3rd to June 24th and then “Voting for the Starters” from June 28th to July 1st. With voting open now, let’s see if we can predict who’ll represent the Yankees in the midsummer classic.
Let's #SquadUp for the midsummer classic 🤩 Vote 5x a day here: https://t.co/o5UEgmozA9 pic.twitter.com/J3WW7KZVzG — New York Yankees (@Yankees) June 3, 2021
Three Likely Spot Holders: Judge, Cole, & Chapman
While the 2021 Yankees team may be a disappointment when we look at their nearly .500 record (31-29), their negative run differential (-4), and their being 4th in the AL East, the Yankees do have some notable players who should likely see a spot representing the American League during the 2021 All-Star Game in Denver, Colorado. These players would be Aaron Judge, Gerrit Cole, and Aroldis Chapman.
Starting with Aaron Judge, he is the Yankees offensive leader in every major good offensive statistic (except stolen bases), surprisingly has the most games played on the team this year (57), and he is putting up his best year since his break-out rookie campaign this year (+2.1 bWAR, 163 OPS+). He also has the 6th highest AVG (.295), 3rd most HR’s (14), 5th most RBI’s (32), and 3rd highest OPS (0.938) of all American League outfielders. Combine that with his being the current face of the Yankees, he’s nearly a shoo-in to be on the All-Star team roster and is likely to be a starting outfielder given fan voting.
Next we have Gerrit Cole. He is the Yankees ace and like Judge he leads the Yankees pitchers in every major good non-relief pitching stat. He also has the highest bWAR (+2.8) on the team while also having the American League’s 2nd best ERA (2.26), tied for 5th most Wins (6), 3rd most Strikeouts (104), 5th most innings pitched (75.2), and 2nd best WHIP (0.87). While Cole will not have the benefit of fan voting- as pitchers are selected by a separate committee- he’s an easy pick for the All-Star team and could potentially be the starter, especially given his 180 ERA+ this year.
Finally, we’ll go to Aroldis Chapman. He is the Yankees closer and has the 3rd highest bWAR (+1.6) on the team and has been a shut-down closer this year helping the Yankees stay ahead in close games and grab close victories. As a reliever, Chapman has the American League’s best ERA (0.39), is tied for 3rd in saves (12), has the 4th most Strikeouts (43), is 47th for innings pitched (23.0), and has the 4th best WHIP (0.78). While relievers often have the least amount of spots on the ASG roster, there is usually about 5 or so, which should give Chapman an easy slot.
Across the rest of the Yankees roster, there are only three players with a bWAR over +1.0 currently. These are Domingo German (+1.4), Gleyber Torres (+1.1), and Jonthan Loaisiga (+1.0). However, while all of them have been good none of these players is making a case to be honored at the mid-season break as being one of the best at their position.
While Domingo German has a solid 3.12 ERA, he’s also 25th amongst AL starting pitchers.
While Gleyber Torres has a solid 106 wRC+, he’s also 6th amongst AL shortstops.
While Jonathan Loasiga has a solid 2.08 ERA, he’s also 15th amongst AL relief pitchers.
So, the question should be asked: are there any other Yankees who may have a shot at the All-Star Game? And, to that, my answer is yes.
Understandably, with a great month from either of the three above, they could find themselves more in consideration for a spot on the roster, but that’s also highly dependent on how the other American League players at their position play too. Because this requires both great play out of a Yankees player and poor play from everyone else, this makes the question infinitely more difficult to predict. However, one Yankee does stand out in a very weak position this year and if you know me you’ll be very surprised I’m saying this but…
Gary Sanchez- with a good month of June- could very well be a member of the 2021 American League All Star team.
Come back tomorrow at 4:00 PM and you’ll see exactly how I can make that case!