It's pretty easy to spot an All-Star who's been one before. But who are the All-Stars-to-be? Finding them takes a little more investigation, and with the help of all five MLB.com National League West beat reporters, we take a look at a potential future All-Star for each club in the
It's pretty easy to spot an All-Star who's been one before. But who are the All-Stars-to-be? Finding them takes a little more investigation, and with the help of all five MLB.com National League West beat reporters, we take a look at a potential future All-Star for each club in the division. Whether they've already established themselves as stars in waiting, or have what it takes to blossom into All-Stars, these are the players to watch for in future Midsummer Classics.
D-backs: Carson Kelly
Kelly started off the 2019 season slowly, but a home run in Colorado on May 4 -- the first of his big league career -- got him going. Over his next 56 games, he slashed .305/.407/.643 and became the D-backs' primary catcher. Behind the plate, Kelly converted 52.2% of non-swing pitches into called strikes in the Shadow Zone, the eighth-best rate in baseball. It was Kelly’s first full season in the Majors, and he appeared to tire down the stretch. With that experience now under his belt, the D-backs are banking on him being their catcher of the future -- and if he continues to develop, there certainly seems to be at least one All-Star Game in his future. -- Steve Gilbert
Dodgers: Will Smith
The Dodgers have 12 current players who have already earned All-Star berths, so the pool of candidates to be the next first-timer is limited. Of those, it’s unclear if Gavin Lux will make the club when play resumes this year. The path of least resistance leads us to Smith, as depth among top-flight catchers in the NL is even thinner than last year with Yasmani Grandal moving to the American League. Smith initially showed he has plus power, although opposing pitchers adjusted better than he did as the season wore on. The Dodgers didn’t add a journeyman backstop over the winter, so Smith is vying with Austin Barnes for playing time. -- Ken Gurnick
Giants: Mauricio Dubón
President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi’s best move of the 2019 season might have been prying Dubón from the Brewers in exchange for relievers Drew Pomeranz and Ray Black at the Trade Deadline. Dubón, 25, impressed in an extended audition at second base last September, and he appears poised for an even bigger role with the club in 2020, when he is projected to be used as a super-utility player who can float between the infield and the outfield. Dubón’s athleticism should make him a capable defender at virtually any spot, and he’s also shown a surprising amount of pop from the right side. That combination of skills should make him a mainstay with the Giants for years to come. -- Maria Guardado
Padres: Fernando Tatis Jr.
If not for a hamstring injury that kept him out all May, Tatis probably wouldn’t qualify for this list. He’s already a star, and he’s on a path for superstardom. In just 84 games during his rookie season, Tatis batted .317/.379/.590. With enough plate appearances, he could’ve challenged to become the youngest batting champ in Major League history last year.
So, yeah, Tatis is probably destined to reach an All-Star Game (or six) over his career. He turned 21 in January, and he’s showed off a unique five-tool skill set that isn’t even completely polished. The Padres spent the last decade trying to answer questions at shortstop. This decade, they already have their answer. -- AJ Cassavell
Rockies: Ryan McMahon
McMahon's steady development over the past two seasons could lead to something special. After struggling early in his rookie year of 2018, he became a threat off the bench during Colorado's postseason run. Last year, he replaced mainstay DJ LeMahieu (who is now with the Yankees), contributed 24 home runs and drew a healthy 56 walks. Many of his 160 strikeouts were due to missing pitches in the zone rather than chasing. It's an approach that could lead to big numbers. With more experience, McMahon looks to be an offensive force at a traditionally defensive position. -- Thomas Harding