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Which NL Players Will Make the 2021 MLB All-Star Game?

| June 22, 2021 7:30 am PDT

The MLB All-Star Game is just a month away. Most teams have played just over 60 games in their season. That’s more than enough time to get a good feel on who will represent each team in the All-Star Game.

This list will talk about the most likely player from each NL team to make it. I understand that some teams will have multiple players, but that’s a list for another day.

Every MLB team is required to have at least one all-star. Today, we look at one player from each NL team that will make the All-Star Game.

Atlanta Braves: Ronald Acuna Jr. – OF

The 2021 NL MVP is Shohei Ohtani’s to lose, but Ronald Acuna may be the guy in the NL. Acuna hits for contact (.282 batting average) and has power (18 home runs). His 18 home runs are tied for second-most in the majors.

His 39 runs batted in (RBIs) are tied for ninth-most in the NL. That may seem a tad low for an MVP front-runner, but Acuna hits lead-off. He doesn’t get the same opportunity to drive in batters as a three or four-hitter does.

Acuna leads the NL in runs with 48. In addition to the aforementioned home runs, Acuna ranks top five in the NL in total bases (128), walks (36), stolen bases (12), slugging (SLG) (.601), and on-base plus percentage (OPS) (.992).

The guy hits the ball hard as well (and as frequently) as anyone, too.

Acuna came out the gates flying. He hit .341, with eight home runs and 15 RBIs in April. The home runs and RBIs stayed consistent in May, but his batting average dropped to .224. His average is coming back up in June (.275), but he hit just two home runs.

Acuna’s red-hot start should put him in line to earn his second All-Star Game start.

Miami Marlins: Trevor Rogers – SP

As an MLB pitcher in his first full-time season, rookie Trevor Rogers is making a name for himself. He struggled last season with a 6.11 ERA in seven starts, but it’s been a completely different story this time around.

Rogers 2.02 ERA and seven wins this season ranks top five in the NL. 

Rogers has really been a consistent pitcher all season. The Marlins pitcher didn’t allow a run in three of his five starts in April. The strong effort earned him a 1.29 ERA for the month. He also earned NL Rookie of the Month.

Rogers earned his second consecutive NL Rookie of the Month award in May. He pitched a 2.34 ERA and had exactly 38 strikeouts for the second month in a row.

However, Rogers just landed on the COVID-19 injured list. The Marlins don’t expect him to be on the list for long, so he should be back in time for a potential All-Star Game appearance.

If for some reason, he stays on the list longer than expected, I would expect Jesus Aguilar to get the call. Aguilar leads the Marlins in batting average, hits, home runs, and RBIs.

New York Mets: Jacob deGrom – SP

Despite calling Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. the MVP front runner, I made sure not to mention that he was the easiest pick on this list. That’s because that honor goes to Jacob deGrom.

deGrom has been the best pitcher in baseball since winning his first of two consecutive Cy Young awards in 2018. Despite the two Cy Young seasons, 2021 is shaping up to be deGrom’s best yet.

deGrom’s 0.56 ERA obviously leads the majors. He’s on pace to break Bob Gibson’s record for lowest ERA, 1.21, in a season ever. His 0.53 WHIP would also break an MLB record set by Pedro Martinez. He had a 0.73 WHIP in 2000.

If you’re looking to bet on who will pitch the next no-hitter, this might be the guy to start with.

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deGrom has missed a few starts and, therefore, ranks outside the top 50 in innings pitched. However, that hasn’t stopped him from ranking seventh in the majors with 103 strikeouts.

His 14.5 strikeouts per nine innings would break Chris Sale’s record of 11.1 for most in a single season. He’s also on pace to break the strikeout to walk ratio. His 12.9 would top Phil Hughes’ 11.6. That stat is impressive for deGrom because his previous season-high is 5.8.

The guy may be having the best pitching season of all time. He will no doubt start for the NL in the All-Star Game.

Philadelphia Phillies: Zack Wheeler – SP

Before the 2020 season, Zack Wheeler had never had a sub 3.00 ERA in any season. He accomplished that in the 60-game shortened season in 2020. He pitched to a career-best 2.92 ERA. But with it being a shortened season, there were doubts that Wheeler could do it over a full season. Well, he’s doing it so far in 2021.

Wheeler leads the NL in innings pitched (90.1) and strikeouts (112). His 2.29 ERA ranks ninth in the NL. As we already mentioned, it would be a career-best for Wheeler.

He proved he could be tough to replace as well. His 3.8 WAR is second best in all of baseball among pitchers.

Wheeler’s ERA, 0.90 WHIP, and 6.2 strikeout to walk ratio would all be career bests.

Wheeler has pitched multiple one-hitters this season, but his best performance may be his most recent appearance. He pitched eight scoreless innings with no walks and 12 strikeouts against the Atlanta Braves.

Wheeler has never made the All-Star Game, but he never had this good of a season. Look for him to be on the NL roster.

Washington Nations: Trea Turner – SS

Max Scherzer definitely warrants some consideration and will likely get the call. The thing is, this roster is so pitcher-heavy. That’s why I’m giving Trea Turner the edge.

Most people look at Turner as a speed guy who can hit for contact. While his .304 batting average and 13 stolen bases certainly exemplify that, he’s showing people he can hit for power as well.

Turner leads the Washington Nationals with 10 home runs and 30 RBIs. Some of that is because star outfielder Juan Soto played in 10 fewer games than Turner. Moreover, I believe games played factor in who makes the All-Star Game. Really the big difference between the two is Soto’s batting average is just .267.

I’m sure there are still critics saying, well, isn’t Soto putting up better numbers when they play the same amount? It’s definitely possible, but what about the fact that Turner’s 1.6 WAR is higher than Soto’s 1.4?

Scherzer is having another great season. He ranks top 10 in the majors in ERA (2.21), strikeouts (104), and WHIP (0.81). As I said, I still expect Scherzer to make the team, but the quality options at the pitcher position make Turner a more likely option.

Chicago Cubs: Craig Kimbrel – RP

Big surprise, it’s another pitcher. But this time, it’s a relief pitcher.

Craig Kimbrel was one of the best closers in the league at the beginning of his career. He recorded over 35 saves from 2011-2015. The 2019 season is where Kimbrel’s career took a nosedive.

His ERA went all the way up to 6.53. He only pitched in 23 games that season. It wasn’t much better in 2020, as he had a 5.28 ERA and 1.43 WHIP. Many people thought Kimbrel’s career was over, but he silenced everyone with his 2021 performance.

Kimbrel is second in the majors with 17 saves. His 0.68 ERA barely trails San Diego Padres closer to Mark Melancon’s 0.66 ERA. Kimbrel does, however, lead all closer with a 0.68 WHIP.

Kimbrel’s ERA and WHIP are on pace to match his career-best for a season. Not bad for a 33-year-old who many people thought was done.

It was a tough first two years with the Chicago Cubs, but Kimbrel finally gave Cubs fans what they hoped for. Kimbrel’s eighth all-star appearance should be right around the corner.

Cincinnati Reds: Nick Castellanos – OF

This is probably the biggest toss-up of any team in the NL. You could flip a coin between outfielders Nick Castellanos and Jesse Winker. There’s no wrong answer.

I ultimately went with Castellanos because of his batting average. He leads the majors with a .362 batting average. He also leads the NL in hits (83), total bases (146), OBP (.418), SLG (.638), and OPS (1.056).

Castellanos really hasn’t had a bad stretch yet. He hit .305 in April, then went off by hitting .409 in May. That’s over a .400 batting average in 93 plate appearances. He’s off to a hot start in June with a .390 batting average.

His 13 home runs and 36 RBIs rank top three on the Cincinnati Reds.

Teammate Jesse Winker is having an amazing season on his own. Winker is top five in the NL in runs (48), hits (74), batting average (.339), home runs (17), total bases (137), OBP (.412), SLG (.628), and OPS (1.041).

Both players are very deserving of their first All-Star Game appearance. They could enter the MVP race if Acuna or deGrom struggle in the second half of the season.

Milwaukee Brewers: Brandon Woodruff – SP

Now in his fifth season, Brandon Woodruff is looking like an elite pitcher in the league. His stats have improved every season.

Woodruff has really done it all this season. He leads the majors with 11 quality starts—his 1.52 ERA and 0.72 WHIP rank top three in the NL. As valuable as someone like Jacob deGrom has been this season, it’s actually Woodruff who leads the majors with a 4.0 WAR.

After allowing three runs in his first start of 2021, Woodruff hasn’t allowed more than two runs in any game this season.

His steady improvement should earn him his second all-star nod.

Brewers manager Craig Counsell probably knew what Woodruff could, but he still seemed pretty floored as of May. Here’s what he had to say.

“He’s doing pretty incredible things right now. It’s not necessarily flashy with statistical, but he’s not giving up runs. The hitters are telling you they’re in a hurry to get their at-bats over with. He’s on the attack.”

Woodruff isn’t the only Milwaukee Brewers pitcher in line for an All-Star Game appearance. Corbin Barnes’ 2.13 ERA and 0.84 WHIP aren’t far behind Woodruff. Barnes also has far more strikeouts than Woodruff. His 102 strikeouts rank fifth in the NL. His 14.5 strikeouts per nine innings are tied with Jacob deGrom for the most in the majors.

The one-two punch of Woodruff and Barnes may be the most underrated in the majors. I think we’ll see both of them pitching in the All-Star Game.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Adam Frazier – 2B

You can certainly make a case for outfielder Bryan Reynolds here, but I’ve yet to put a second baseman on this list. Because of that, I’m going with Adam Frazier.

Frazier has always been a solid contact hitter. After hitting .301 his rookie season, he hit .276, .277, .278 from 2017-2019. And before you ask, no, that’s not a typo. He really increased his batting average by 0.01 for three straight seasons. The average dropped to a career-low .230 in 2020.

But Frazier has recovered in 2021 and is on pace for his best season yet.

His .333 batting average, .393 OBP, .474 SLG, and .867 OPS would all be career highs. Except for SLG, all those stats rank top 10 in the NL. He also leads the majors with 23 doubles.

Now his power numbers are low, but that’s just not his game. He never went over 10 home runs or 50 RBIs in a season. He already has 24 RBIs this season, so he may reach that 50 mark. Frazier has just two home runs to this point, so it seems like a longshot that he’ll reach 10.

Reynolds is more of a power guy with 10 home runs and 31 RBIs, but his batting average is down at .288.

St. Louis Cardinals: Nolan Arenado – 3B

Nolan Arenado is in his first season with the St. Louis Cardinals after spending eight seasons with the Colorado Rockies. As expected, his power numbers are down now that he’s not playing in Coors Field 81 times a year. Still, he’s been the best hitter for the Cardinals.

Here are the key stats Arenado paces St. Louis in right now.

  • Doubles (20)
  • Batting Average (.286)
  • RBI (44)
  • Total Bases (128)
  • WAR (2.2)

The doubles, RBIs, and total bases also all happen to rank top five in the NL.

When you exclude the shortened 2020 season, Arenado is on pace for his worst hitting stats since 2014 and 2015.

Truthfully, it’s not like he’s having a bad season. But when you’re consistently one of the best players playing in a hitter’s ballpark for years, you have elevated numbers. Those numbers are coming back down to earth just a bit this season, but I still think he did enough to represent the Cardinals in the All-Star Game.

This would be Arenado’s sixth straight All-Star Game appearance.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Ketel Marte – OF

This is kind of an interesting pick. Ketel Marte is having a great season, but he only played in 27 games. I don’t like to pick guys who have missed many games, but honestly, there’s just no one else to go with.

So—Marte, it is!

Marte only played in six games before a hamstring injury sidelined him for over a month. He struggled just a bit in his return. He hit .244 in 41 plate appearances in May.

However, Marte returned to form with a great start to the month of June. He began the month on a seven-game hitting streak. Despite having just one hit in his last 12 plate appearances, Marte is hitting .382 for the month.

Marte doesn’t really hit for power. He has just four home runs and 14 RBIs this season. He did hit 32 home runs in 2019, but that’s the only time he went over 15 in a season.

That 2019 season was the best of his career. It resulted in his lone All-Star Game appearance. Someone from the Arizona Diamondbacks has to make the All-Star Game, and their best bet is Marte.

Colorado Rockies: Ryan McMahon – 2B

This may surprise some people with Trevor Story still on the Colorado Rockies roster, but Ryan McMahon is just straight up having a better season. Story is better than McMahon in triples, stolen bases, and OBP. Not exactly big stats when determining an all-star.

McMahon doesn’t really stand out among the top players in the NL. The only stat he ranks top 10 in is home runs with 14. But we need to look at how he stacks up against other Rockies players.

He leads the team in runs (38), doubles (13), home runs, RBIs (37), total bases (113), and WAR (2.2). I should mention that Story has played in 11 less games than McMahon, but that doesn’t excuse his lower batting averages.

McMahon has only played more than 95 games in a season (2019) just once. That season, he had a .250 batting average, 24 home runs, and 83 RBIs. He’s on pace this season to beat all of those marks.

With the Rockies hosting the All-Star Game, I’m sure fans will be excited to see McMahon representing their hometown team.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Max Muncy – 1B

The Los Angeles Dodgers probably have about four or five all-star-worthy players. I think Max Muncy is the best of the bunch. Muncy had two great seasons with the Dodgers before struggling last season.

He got back to his 2019 form with another great season. Muncy leads the NL with 46 walks, a .418 OBP, and a 3.3 WAR. He ranks top 10 in runs (41), SLG (.528), and OPS (.947). He also leads the Dodgers with 14 home runs.

The issue with Muncy is he has really struggled as of late. He has just three hits in 23 at-bats in the month of June. He just hit the IL with an oblique strain, too.

The Dodgers have plenty of other quality options if Muncy can’t suit up. Justin Turner and Chris Taylor are putting up very similar numbers to Muncy. They each have more hits, runs, and RBIs than Muncy. They also have a better batting average than him.

Walker Buehler and Trevor Bauer each have a sub 2.70 ERA. Bauer is fifth in the majors with 111 strikeouts.

While I think Muncy is the best player to represent the Dodgers, it’s hard to argue with the other four guys.

San Diego Padres: Fernando Tatis Jr. – SS

Fernando Tatis Jr has been one of the best players in baseball this season. Tatis is tied for second in the majors with 18 home runs despite missing time with a shoulder injury.

Here are the gaudy stats where he’d be top-5 in the majors if he qualified.

  • SLG (.644)
  • OPS (.997)
  • WAR (2.9)

Tatis had a solid month of April. He hit .246 with seven home runs and 11 RBIs. He played much more consistently in May. Tatis hit .353 for the month with nine home runs and 26 RBIs. He had 69 and 68 plate appearances in April and May, respectively, after missing time in each month.

Tatis has struggled in June, hitting just .189. His two home runs and three RBIs are also down. Tatis is an MVP-caliber player, but he will have to work through this rough stretch if he wants to be a part of that conversation.

Nonetheless, there’s no doubt he’ll earn his first All-Star Game appearance next month.

San Francisco Giants: Buster Posey – C

We’ve yet to have a catcher on this list, and that’s because I knew we’d be closing this NL All-Star game candidates breakdown with longtime San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey.

Posey has long been one of the best catchers in the league. He has six All-Star Game appearances in 11 seasons.

Posey struggled in 2019 before opting out of the 2020 season. At age 34, Posey is having one of the better seasons of his career. He doesn’t have enough plate appearances to qualify for some hitting stats, but he’d be at the top of the board if he did.

Posey is slashing .329/.400/.571/.971. All those numbers would rank top five in the NL if he did qualify.

Posey has never been a big power guy, with 24 home runs being his career-high for a season. He already has 11 this season, so he could realistically break that mark.

Starting pitcher Kevin Gausman is having a breakout season. The 11-year veteran is on his fourth team in six seasons. His 1.43 ERA and 0.78 WHIP rank third in the majors.

It’d be nice to see Gausman throwing to Posey in next month’s All-Star Game.

Betting on the 2021 MLB All-Star Game

The NL is full of top-of-the-line pitchers. It’s too bad that one or two deserving pitchers probably won’t make it.

This roster seems to have a good mix of young MVP candidates and older guys who are either having breakouts seasons or one last great season.

It’ll be fun to see which players get voted into the 2021 MLB All-Star Game.

While you probably can’t bet on which NL players will be voted into the 2021 MLB All-Star Game, you should be able to bet on the game itself.

There are several ways to bet on the 2021 MLB All-Star Game, too, whether it be traditional bets dealing with the run line, moneyline, or game total, or attacking player props.

Looking at this breakdown could give you some insight into how each NL player could impact the game, but one more thing you can do is find the best MLB betting sites. We recommend the top sportsbooks regarding safety, reliability, wager versatility, and betting odds.

Nicholas Sterling

Nicholas has been a Sports Writer with GamblingSites.com since May 2021. He has a rich sports background, writing about NASCAR, NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, Golf, etc. Nick is always ready for a new challenge.

He enjoys rooting on D.C. sports teams, including the Commanders, Wizards, and Capitals.

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