All-Star Game insider
Tuesday, July 15 • 7 p.m.
We’re a few months away from the Midsummer Classic, but it’s not too early to start wondering who will be standing along the first and third base lines at Target Field when the AL and NL teams will be announced. Besides the usual suspects — the Miguel Cabreras, David Wrights and the like — it often is a moment for the new stars of the game to stand in the same spotlight. Here are five players who have a chance to make their first-ever All-Star Game appearance when the big game comes to town this July:
This physically gifted young man keeps getting into trouble — he was benched for the Dodgers’ home opener Friday for being late to batting practice — but if he can stay on the field and learn, he will electrify fans into voting him onto the team. He has tremendous power and a great arm in right field, and both just need to be channeled the right way.
We take a break from Michael Wacha wackiness to point out the exploits of his talented teammate. Miller went 15-9 with a 3.06 ERA in 31 starts last season. He averaged 1.0 home runs per nine innings while striking out 8.8 per nine innings. Now a year wiser, Miller could pitch his way to Target Field in July.
Donaldson was one of the surprise stories of 2013 as he improved on his numbers across the board and became a key player on a team that won 96 games. For his efforts, Donaldson finished fourth in Most Valuable Player balloting. With Miguel Cabrera moving to first base, there’s room for Donaldson to take his place among the best in the game.
A graduate of the Tommy John school of elbow surgeries, Salazar has been brought along slowly but debuted last season with a fastball that reached 98 miles an hour deep into games, a decent slider and a good changeup. He’s already pitched in big games for the Indians and has let little faze him.
San Francisco could have a pretty good offense this season. Belt, with three home runs in his first four games, is a reason why. Belt hit 17 homers and drove in 67 runs last season and looks primed to build on those numbers this season. Belt will have a lot of competition at his position, though.