Here are our All-Star picks for season's first month

April 30th, 2023

The Major League Baseball regular season is six months long, which allows us to break the season into six convenient chunks. Each of these chunks is equal to the others, even if it doesn’t seem that way at the time; it always feels, in the moment, that the first and last months count more.

But as with last year, we will be putting together an All-Star Team for each month of the season. Can you believe it has been a month already? Here’s an All-Star pick from each league, at each position, for April. (And we are counting the those few games in March here as well.)

(And why, yes: There are a lot of Rays on here. All stats through Friday’s games.)

NL: , Braves (6 HR, .973 OPS)
AL: , Orioles (17 RBIs, .841 OPS)

This sure looks like your starting All-Stars come July, right? (With apologies to J.T. Realmuto, who’s actually off to a slow start with the bat.) Rutschman is the centerpiece of everything the Orioles are doing, which is no surprise. The real surprise is Murphy, not that he’s good -- we knew that -- but that he has been arguably the best hitter in this stacked Braves lineup.

First Base
NL: , Mets (10 HR, 25 RBIs)
AL: , Rays (7 HR, .994 OPS)

Díaz has always been a big dude with a great batting eye who, weirdly, didn’t hit a lot of homers. This year, he’s a big dude with a great batting eye who hits a lot of homers; he’s already halfway to his career high. Meanwhile, Alonso is launching homers like he has for many years now and, surely, will for many years to come.

Second Base
NL: , Marlins (.427 BA)
AL: , Rays (7 HR, .903 OPS)

A recent “slump” has dropped Arraez all the way to … .427. (Which means it isn’t much of a slump.) Of the thumping Lowes in Tampa, Brandon has actually been the better one. But there are enough Rays on this team already: We’re limiting ourselves to one Lowe.

NL: , Padres (.409 OBP, .919 OPS)
AL: , Rays (.872 OPS, 5 SB)

Another, Ray, we know, but still: It sure looks like all your Wander Franco MVP hype was just a year early. Speaking of MVP candidates, there are three of them on the Padres … none of whom are hitting as well as their big free-agent signee. A team that’s surprisingly struggling at the plate needs every hit Xander can give them.

Third Base
NL: , Dodgers (11 HR, 1.152 OPS)
AL: , Blue Jays (1.111 OPS)

After moving around the diamond most of his career, Muncy -- who struggled at the plate in 2022 -- has settled in solely at third base this year, and he has responded with a power surge that’s impressive even for him. In the American League, Chapman, the consummate third baseman, is fully healthy and raking like it’s 2019 again -- better, actually.

NL: , Phillies (1.106 OPS); , Braves (.986 OPS, 13 SB); , Dodgers (7 HR, .985 OPS)
AL: , Mariners (7 HR, 1.043 OPS); , Angels (.945 OPS); , Rays (.940 OPS)

This is a very early-season set of outfield names, in both leagues. Two guys no one could have possibly seen coming bookending a bold-face MVP candidate who might be on his way to the career year everyone thought would be coming. And wow, isn’t it something to see Kelenic on this list?

Designated Hitter
NL: , Pirates (.877 OPS)
AL: , Angels (6 HR, .854 OPS)

McCutchen is playing the 2022 Albert Pujols role of “franchise icon returning to be the best designated hitter in the National League.” Ohtani is playing the Ohtani role. Again.

Starting Pitchers
NL: , Cubs (4-0, 1.19 ERA)
AL: , Yankees (5-0, 1.11 ERA)

A more contrasting pair would be nearly impossible to come up with. Steele, the relatively anonymous soft-tossing lefty, and Cole, the flame-thrower with the big contract for the most famous team. But that’s the thing about pitchers: All that matters are the results.

Relief Pitchers
NL: , Pirates (8 SV, 0.75 ERA)
AL: , Orioles (6 SV, 1.42 ERA, 24 K)

Bednar has been the anchor of a fantastic Pirates bullpen, and, really, only Bautista -- who has been so good he can feel unhittable -- has been able to match him.