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 one another, 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 throughout the season, we will be putting together an All-Star team for each month. As we wrap up this thrilling month of baseball, here’s an All-Star pick from each league, at each position, for July. (We’re doing this a little early so these guys can get their due before Friday’s Trade Deadline news overtakes all.)
Torrens reportedly changed his swing in Triple-A when he was sent down in May, and he has been on a tear since returning: He’s exactly the sort of guy who has to come out of nowhere for a team like the Mariners to make a run like they’re currently on. Varsho was the best of a slim lot of catchers; he had a .407 OBP for the month, not that anybody noticed much of what he was doing for the D-backs.
Lots of competition in the National League this month, particularly from Rhys Hoskins, Joey Votto, Max Muncy, Pete Alonso, Darin Ruf and Paul Goldschmidt; it’s good to see the NL first base stars finally playing like it. Freeman is doing his best to keep the Ronald Acuña-less Braves afloat.
Olson is yet another T-Mobile Home Run Derby participant who is still knocking the ball around post-Derby. He is, at last, the most valuable Matt on his own team.
India is part of a middle-of-the-infield crew for the Reds that has kept them in the NL Central race; he’s been an undeniably happy aspect of their season. Lowe is starting to look like the best-hitter-on-a-potential-World-Series-team guy he was heading into last year’s playoffs. (Before his playoff slump attacked.)
Did the Reds finally find their shortstop? Farmer has hit .371 this month, at the time the Reds needed it most desperately. (Also, Fernando Tatis Jr. has had his worst month of the year this July.) There were slimmer pickings at shortstop in the American League, but Anderson sure appears well on his way to being one of the most recognizable players this postseason.
It feels like the Padres take turns being the best player on that team for a given month, and in July it was Machado. If you’re looking for reasons why the Red Sox are still hanging around in first place, Devers continues to look like an MVP candidate ... and he keeps improving as the season goes on.
Soto looks like Ted Williams again, particularly post Home Run Derby: Turns out he wasn’t kidding about fixing his swing. Harper has carried the Phillies all month, and he even has five stolen bases. Bader has emerged over the last month as the Cardinals’ best all-around player; their collapse in June, when Bader was hurt, makes a lot more sense now. (AJ Pollock was this close behind him.)
Would you believe that the RBI leader for July is ... Eric Haase? Is that any crazier that two of the best hitting outfielders in baseball for July have been Tigers?
AL: Shohei Ohtani, Angels
Ohtani actually slowed down a little right after the All-Star break, which makes sense: He did seem a little tired throughout all that. He has picked it back up lately, though, and his OPS is back up over 1.000.
Castillo is the exact opposite pitcher than he was for the first two months of the season, and the pitcher the Reds thought they had all along. Wood is just the next man up for the Giants at this point.
Meanwhile, Maeda has returned to his ace ways, perhaps just in time for trade season. You could also have gone with Jameson Taillon instead of Ohtani -- who was just as good as Taillon but had one fewer start -- but come on, like I’m not going to pick Ohtani if I can.
Kimbrel couldn’t possibly be making a better case for him as a massive Trade Deadline difference maker. And you’re starting to wonder if Treinen is going to be the Dodgers’ postseason closer.
And those two AL names are just further proof of just how wildly fluctuating reliever performance really is. You gotta love it.