Due to the New York Yankees’ lackluster season thus far, the All-Star Game may end up being the high point of their year. The All-Star Game will take place at Coors Field in Colorado on July 13th, and the first phase of fan voting ends June 24th. The top three vote-getters at each position, and the top nine outfielders, move on to the second phase of voting, which will start on June 28th and last four days. Sadly, due to rampant underperformance up and down the Yankees roster, it is hard to justify stuffing the ballot with Yankees.
However, there are a few Yankees who are deserving. Aaron Judge is an obvious choice. He is currently second among all AL outfielders in votes and is a lock to reach the second phase of voting. The Yankees also have some standout pitchers who are certainly worthy of being All-Stars. So let’s break down which Yankees we can expect to see in Colorado.
Aaron Judge is the only Yankee position player who has lived up to expectations thus far in 2021. Among qualified American League outfielders, his OPS is among the highest. His 15 home runs rank him among the leaders in the AL. Unless Judge starts to massively slump over the next few weeks, you can expect him to be starting in right field. Seeing Judge in the summer classic will be a welcome sight. Yankees fans haven’t gotten to see their star player in the All-Star Game since 2018. Judge missed in 2019 due to injury, and of course, in 2020 there was no All-Star Game. If selected, this will be Judge’s third All-Star appearance.
Not only would it be great to see Judge there, but it would be a treat to see the game’s most prolific power hitter compete once again in the home run derby. Since Judge’s victory in the 2017 Home Run Derby, he has refused to defend his title. This is likely because it is assumed that the derby was responsible for the shoulder injury that resulted in a six-week post-All-Star break slump for Judge in 2017. Judge has since stated that he has no interest in participating in the Home Run Derby unless it is in New York. So, unfortunately, it looks like we won’t get to see Judge unleashed in the absurdity that is Coors Field.
Forget about whether or not Yankees ace Gerrit Cole will be an All-Star, the real question is whether or not he will be the American League’s starting pitcher. Cole is having another stellar season and is currently the frontrunner for the American League Cy Young award. As of June 19th, Gerrit Cole leads all AL pitchers in BWar with 3.5, and he is poised to take the AL lead in strikeouts and innings pitched over his next few starts due to injuries to Shane Bieber and Tyler Glasnow. As long as Cole does not collapse over his next four starts, he is a lock to make his fourth career All-Star appearance.
Gleyber Torres and D.J. LeMahieu:
Now we will look at two players who certainly won’t be heading to Colorado. Gleyeber Torres and D.J. LeMahieu each currently have an OPS under .700 and do not even warrant consideration for All-Star honors. Both represented the Yankees in the 2019 All-Star Game and were their most productive hitters that year. That being said, their struggles this year are a large reason why the Yankees not atop the AL East like they were in 2019. The Yankees are going to need both of them to start hitting like the back of their baseball card if they are going to have any hopes of overtaking the Rays and Red Sox.
Aroldis Chapman and Jonathan Loaisiga:
The Yankees bullpen has been dominant thus far, and the two best pitchers in that bullpen have been Aroldis Chapman and Jonathan Loaisiga. Chapman has a very good chance of making the team, and his track record as an elite closer will certainly help.
Loaisiga has quickly moved up the pecking order of Aaron Bonne’s bullpen. His 1.70 ERA in 37 innings is definitely cause for consideration. However, there are too many other relievers ahead of him, like James Karinchak, Liam Hendricks, Matt Barnes, and of course, Chapman himself, for Loaisiga to make the team.
Giancarlo Stanton has played quite well when he’s been healthy, but he would need a big hot streak in the coming weeks to have a serious chance. It will be hard for Stanton to eclipse J.D. Martinez for the reserve designated hitter spot, and Shohei Ohtani is already a lock to start at the position.
As crazy as it sounds, there is an argument for Gary Sanchez being the AL’s reserve catcher. While Salvador Perez is a lock to be the starter, despite Sanchez’s slow start, his recent hot streak gives him the numbers to compare with the rest of the field. In twelve games thus far in June, Sanchez has a great .298/.340/.638 slash line, and has improved his overall slash line to .229/.333/.452.
Due to underperformers up and down the Yankees roster, you should only really expect Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole to make the All-Star team, with Aroldis Chapman having a solid chance. If you told someone before the season that the Yankees would only have three All-Star representatives, they would have thought that some of their star players must have gotten injured. Instead, it is due to the Yankees’ failure to meet expectations throughout the offense.
To recap: the locks are Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole. Aroldis Chapman has a good chance. Jonathan Loaisiga, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gary Sanchez each have a small chance. The rest of the roster–virtually no chance.