7 under-the-radar All-Star candidates in each league

June 15th, 2024

The 2024 MLB All-Star ballot features plenty of big names having standout seasons: Aaron Judge, Juan Soto, Shohei Ohtani, Mookie Betts, Bryce Harper, Freddie Freeman … the list goes on.

But if you want to go past the usual superstars, there are plenty of other deserving players who could be All-Stars in both the American League and the National League.

Here are seven under-the-radar All-Star candidates for each league. (All stats are entering play Friday.)


Third base: , Orioles
Key stat: .360 AVG / .663 SLG / 1.077 OPS vs. opponents .500 or better

There are bigger names on the ballot at third base (José Ramírez and Rafael Devers). There are even bigger names on the ballot in Westburg's own infield (Gunnar Henderson and Adley Rutschman). But the breakout sophomore has a compelling All-Star case. Besides his 140 OPS+ overall, Westburg's also been at his best against the O's toughest opponents. His 1.077 OPS against winning teams is third-best in the Majors behind only Judge and Ohtani.

Shortstop: , Yankees
Key stat: .321 AVG / .856 OPS as 1st batter of game

It's hard to call a Yankees shortstop "under the radar," but there are two other first-half MVP candidates at the position in Gunnar Henderson and Bobby Witt Jr. But Volpe's breakout shouldn't be ignored. The 23-year-old has been terrific at sparking the Yankees' lineup in games -- Volpe is batting .321 leading off games, which he's done 59 times, setting the table for Soto, Judge and Giancarlo Stanton coming up behind him.

Outfield: , Blue Jays
Key stat: +1.83 Win Probability Added

It'd be easy to just check off Aaron Judge, Juan Soto and Kyle Tucker in the AL outfield and move on. But this is a stacked position. Not only is Varsho one of the premier defenders in the league (his +9 Outs Above Average is tied for the best among outfielders), he's also been a clutch hitter who's contributed a ton toward the Blue Jays actually winning games. Varsho's +1.83 Win Probability Added is top 10 in the Majors.

Outfield: , Guardians
Key stat: .380 AVG, 7.7% K%

Kwan missed almost all of May, but he's back in the Guardians lineup and looks like the best contact hitter in the league. Kwan's .380 batting average is the best among hitters with 150-plus plate appearances by nearly 50 points, and he also has the third-lowest strikeout rate and the fifth-highest OPS (.979).

Outfield: , Red Sox
Key stat: 10 triples, 15 SB

If you want to inject electricity into an All-Star lineup, look no further than Duran. The Red Sox speedster has a Major League-leading 10 triples this season, and if you hold him to a single, he'll just steal on you. Duran is one of the fastest players in the league (29.3 ft/sec sprint speed, in the 94th percentile of MLB), and he covers just as much ground in the outfield as he does on the bases (+6 Outs Above Average).

Designated hitter: , Guardians
Key stat: +24 batting run value

Cleveland's utility player extraordinaire has turned out to be one of the most valuable hitters in baseball this season. On the All-Star ballot at DH, where he has to compete with feared sluggers Yordan Alvarez and Giancarlo Stanton, Fry still has a convincing case. The 28-year-old is batting .321 with a 1.017 OPS in his 166 plate appearances, and his +24 runs created ties him with Witt for the seventh-highest batting run value of any hitter, according to Statcast.

Designated hitter: , A's
Key stat: .555 expected SLG, 10 no-doubter HR

Rooker's been slugging away in Oakland, and he's been right up there with the other top DHs. Based on his quality of contact, Rooker's expected slugging percentage is tied with Fernando Tatis Jr. for the 10th-best in baseball. He has the type of big-time power you want to see in an All-Star Game. Rooker has 10 no-doubter home runs this season -- homers that would be gone in all 30 MLB ballparks -- tied for the third-most of any hitter, and as many as Stanton.


Second base: , Brewers
Key stat: 24 SB to 1 CS

Ketel Marte and Luis Arraez have the name recognition at second base in the NL, but Turang has been one of the biggest difference-makers for an upstart Brewers team that leads the NL Central. The 24-year-old has raised his batting average and on-base percentage by over 70 points from his rookie to his sophomore season (.218 to .294, .285 to .358), which has let him take full advantage of his elite base-stealing ability. Turang ranks second in MLB with 24 steals, behind only Elly De La Cruz, and he's only been caught once.

Third base: , Brewers
Key stat: 137 OPS+

Another young Brewer making an impact is Ortiz, in his first season with the club after being traded from Baltimore. With a lot of big-name NL third basemen having down seasons -- Nolan Arenado, Matt Chapman, Manny Machado, Austin Riley -- the door could be open. Ortiz has a 137 OPS+, the best among NL third basemen. And like his old teammate Jordan Westburg in the AL, Ortiz has been great against strong opponents, with a 1.052 OPS against teams .500 or better.

Shortstop: , Pirates
Key stat: 5 of the 10 hardest-hit balls of 2024

Mookie Betts and Elly De La Cruz might command the spotlight at NL shortstop, but this Cruz pick is more for the fun factor. Cruz has one of the biggest bats in the Majors, and very few players could put on a light-tower power display in the All-Star Game that he could. The Pirates slugger has the two hardest-hit balls of the 2024 season -- a 121.5 mph double and a 120.4 mph single -- and five of the top 10. He also has the fourth-hardest home run, the 117.7 mph, 462-foot blast he hit against the Dodgers on June 6.

Catcher: , Giants
Key stat: 1.86 second avg. pop time

Bailey has been one of the best two-way catchers in the league this season. At the plate, he's the only catcher with a .300-plus expected batting average this season based on his quality of contact. Behind the plate, he's one of the best pitch framers in the game, and has one of the best arms of any catcher. It's always cool to watch a showdown between a star base-stealer and a star catcher, and if anyone can make that happen in the All-Star Game, it's Bailey.

Outfield: , Mets
Key stat: .982 OPS with RISP, 1.148 OPS in high-leverage situations

The NL All-Star outfield is up for grabs this year, especially with Mookie Betts moving to shortstop and Corbin Carroll slumping. The frontrunners are probably Fernando Tatis Jr., Christian Yelich and maybe Jurickson Profar, but Nimmo is quietly having another valuable season in New York. He's really stepped up when it counts: Nimmo is batting .291 with a .982 OPS with runners in scoring position, .391 with an 1.152 OPS with two outs and runners in scoring position, and .308 with a 1.148 OPS in high-leverage situations.

Outfield: , Giants
Key stat: 159 OPS+

You could also go the "stellar play with limited playing time" route for the NL outfield. Ramos didn't make his season debut until May 8, but he's been terrific ever since he got into the Giants' lineup. The 24-year-old is batting .305 with a 159 OPS+ in his 135 plate appearances. That batting average ranks third among NL outfielders with as many plate appearances, behind only Yelich and Profar, and the OPS+ ranks second, between Profar and Yelich.

Outfield: , Cubs
Key stat: .970 OPS in Cubs wins

An oblique injury interrupted a red-hot start to the season for Suzuki, but the Cubs slugger has found his groove again. Suzuki had an .893 OPS when he was sidelined on April 14, and now he has an .894 OPS over his last 18 games, going back to when he first started to heat up following his return. As Suzuki goes, so go the Cubs: Suzuki is batting .321 with a .970 OPS in Cubs wins this season.