Yesterday marked the official start of the 2023 All-Star balloting process. There are plenty of mixed feelings about the All-Star rosters, from it being a glorified popularity contest to simple disinterest in a midseason exhibition that doesn’t count for anything anymore. Because the 2023 All-Star game is being held in Seattle, there’s at least a little more interest from Mariner fans, if only to see how many of the hometown team will be represented in the Midsummer Classic.
The last time Seattle hosted the All-Star game in 2001, the Mariners had eight representatives. That’s a modern day record — the 1939 Yankees sent 10 players to the All-Star game but there were only 16 teams to choose from at that time. Unfortunately, the 2023 Mariners have no shot at breaking that record. I spent a little time the other day guessing at what a potential AL All-Star roster could look like at this point in the season and came up with three spots for Mariner players.
I abided by the rules in place for the All-Star rosters: 32 total players, 12 pitchers, a representative from each team, and voted in starters marked in bold. Those restrictions made this exercise harder than expected — the A’s, Royals, Tigers, and White Sox all required a roster spot — but this is what my potential roster would look like.
I’m assuming the Mariners will pull out all the stops to get their players voted into the game and Seattle fans have proven they’re capable of stuffing the (virtual) ballot box when they voted Jean Segura into the All-Star game in the 2018 Final Vote. That’s why I have Julio Rodríguez marked as one of the starters in the outfield despite his struggles through the first two months of the season. He has the name recognition, brand presence, and the potential to put together a torrid June and July to earn this spot. Plus, it would be unconscionable to have the All-Star game in Seattle without the J-Rod Show. If you think the fans would vote in someone like Yordan Alvarez or Randy Arozarena over Rodríguez — completely plausible considering the excellence both of those outfielders have shown so far this year — I’d be comfortable saying Jarred Kelenic would earn a slot as a reserve based on his breakout performance so far.
On the pitching side of things, the Mariners realistically have four deserving candidates in Luis Castillo, Logan Gilbert, George Kirby, and Paul Sewald. The problem is there are only so many roster spots and a ton of really good pitchers in the AL this year. I picked Castillo for my roster based on his name recognition, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kirby or even Gilbert get the nod over La Piedra. Sewald has been one of the best relievers in the league this year and I’m comfortable selecting him as one of four bullpen arms on the roster.
Finding space for more than three representatives is where it gets difficult. Kelenic is obviously the most worthy Mariner left off the roster above, but the AL outfield is already crowded because Masataka Yoshida, Luis Robert, and Brent Rooker are the only deserving selections from their respective teams. Rooker is listed as a DH on the official ballot so that’s where I put him above, but that still means there are four reserve outfielders on the roster. Shohei Ohtani is listed as a DH on the official ballot too and he’s likely going to be voted in as the starter at that position. He’s a unique case where he could be counted as a pitcher, opening up another roster spot for a position player, but that still doesn’t solve the problem of too many outfielders. Cedric Mullins (injured), Alex Verdugo, and Adolis García are all worthy candidates who could be rostered ahead of Kelenic if there was room anyway.
J.P. Crawford has a slim chance of making the roster as well, but he runs into the same kind of roster crunch. The Tigers need a representative and their two most deserving candidates — Eduardo Rodriguez and Riley Greene — both suffered injuries recently so they might not be available for the All-Star game. That leaves Zach McKinstry as the most deserving candidate from Detroit, which makes fitting Crawford onto the roster tricky.
Of course, the other avenue for getting onto the roster is through injury replacement; that’s how Ty France became an All-Star last year. If any of the position players above are injured ahead of the All-Star game, that would provide an opportunity for players like Kelenic or Crawford to make it onto the team. That’s also the most likely way Kirby or Gilbert will be selected since pitchers are much more likely to be inactive for the All-Star game due to workload management.
My gut says the Mariners will probably end up with four All-Stars, three selected to the initial roster and one extra selected as a replacement.
For another look at what an All-Star roster could look like, Mike Petriello of MLB.com does a similar exercise every year.
2023 ASG voting is live: https://t.co/FTvWxdo5nw— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) May 31, 2023
I always like to make my own rosters (updated weekly). These will definitely change as time goes on.
As always, there are more good players than spots *and* I hate your team. pic.twitter.com/2KBMsWTrCS
He has Castillo and Sewald on his roster and Kelenic instead of Julio. And if you’re interested, here’s what my National League roster would look like:
What do you think? Can you find any room for more Mariners on the All-Star roster? How many do you think will end up representing Seattle in the Midsummer Classic?