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10 players who will be All-Stars next year

MLB.com @williamfleitch

One of the many pleasures of the MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard is how it mixes the guys you've seen a dozen times with guys you've never seen at all. Of course you want to see Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Yadier Molina. It wouldn't feel like an All-Star Game without them. But it's the first-time guys, the young stars getting a chance to shine on the national stage, that make the Midsummer Classic truly special.

If you haven't had a chance to see first-time All-Stars Ozzie Albies, Edwin Diaz or Alex Bregman, you've been missing out. The All-Star Game will present each the opportunity for their coming-out moment. The game is for the future stars as much as it is for the present ones.

One of the many pleasures of the MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard is how it mixes the guys you've seen a dozen times with guys you've never seen at all. Of course you want to see Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Yadier Molina. It wouldn't feel like an All-Star Game without them. But it's the first-time guys, the young stars getting a chance to shine on the national stage, that make the Midsummer Classic truly special.

If you haven't had a chance to see first-time All-Stars Ozzie Albies, Edwin Diaz or Alex Bregman, you've been missing out. The All-Star Game will present each the opportunity for their coming-out moment. The game is for the future stars as much as it is for the present ones.

With all these first-timers featured on this year's rosters, and with such a focus on the future, we couldn't help but wonder what up-and-coming MLB players are likely to make the next summer's Midsummer Classic? So who are next year's first timers? Here are some guesses. 

Ronald Acuna Jr., LF, Braves
Acuna was the most hyped prospect coming into this season, and for good reason. And while he hasn't taken the league by storm the way Juan Soto, his fellow young star over in Washington, has -- and you sense those two are going to be linked for years to come -- Acuna has still been an above-average hitter and fielder since getting called up in late April. Acuna is still only 20 years old and looks like the sort of player who is going to be owning the Majors a year from now. With his charisma, he will probably even be voted in.

Video: ATL@CIN: Acuna belts 416-ft. longball for first homer

Andrew Benintendi, LF, Red Sox
The Red Sox have had so many prospects break through in recent years that you almost forget about Benintendi. But he's having the best year of his career, and even has an outside chance at a 30-30 season. The only thing holding Benintendi back is the team he plays for, which never has any shortage of All-Stars.

Walker Buehler, RHP, Dodgers
The Dodgers had to count on Buehler in their rotation a little earlier this year than they might have planned. But if he's healed from his rib fracture -- he's slated to return Friday night against the Angels -- they might be ready to take off the training wheels next season. Buehler has top-of-the-rotation stuff and may be rounding into peak form just about this time next year.

Video: COL@LAD: Buehler allows 1 run on 2 hits over 7 frames

Matt Chapman, 1B, A's
Every win fueling the surprising launch of the A's up the American League standings is a reminder that central to this surge is Chapman, a defensive whiz whose offense improves a little more each season. Chapman may end up with 20 homers in 2018. If he gets that number up to 30 homers and nudges his on-base percentage up a tad -- and also considering his defense -- you're talking about a down-ballot AL MVP Award candidate.

Paul DeJong, SS, Cardinals
DeJong missed the past month-plus with a broken left hand, but since he's returned, he's proven that, when healthy, he's one of the few constants in a generally inconsistent lineup. DeJong's plate discipline has improved this season, and his defense has been better than expected. Add that to the obvious power he displays and you're looking at one of the better shortstops in the National League.

Rafael Devers, 3B, Red Sox
Devers has taken a step back in 2018 to the point that the Red Sox are even considering a Manny Machado rental at third base for their stretch run. But the reason they're seeking only a rental is Devers, who, despite being a constant in Boston's lineup for a year now, is still one of the 10 youngest players in baseball (just one year older than Acuna). Once Devers settles in and lets his natural gifts take over, he might have the most raw power of all the young Sox. If Devers is not an All-Star next year, he'll likely be one the year after.

Manuel Margot, CF, Padres
Margot has had a shaky July, but in June, he was the player the Padres have long thought he would be. That month, Margot put up a .309/.378/.494 slash line, along with his usual magnificent defense. The light is starting to turn on for Margot, and for an up-and-coming Padres club that might just be starting to trend in a positive direction this time next year. And heck, even if they don't, Margot might still be San Diego's lone All-Star representative in 2019. 

Video: LAD@SD: Margot makes 2 terrific diving catches

Austin Meadows, OF, Pirates
It took Meadows a wee bit longer to truly arrive at the MLB level than the Pirates might have preferred, but he has finally made it this year. Meadows is hitting .304/.335/.486 with increasing power. He might not ever blossom into a superstar, but Meadows looks to be well on his way to being the Bucs' best player for the next few years. Remember when Pittsbrugh was hesitant to extend Andrew McCutchen, and many cited Meadows as the reason why? Meadows is now starting to show why.

Blake Snell, LHP, Rays
We hear you, Chris Archer: This is contingent, of course, on those voters turning out for Snell like they should have last year. But, yes, if Snell doesn't sneak onto this year's roster after all, he seems a lock for next year's. Though will he do so as a Ray?

Video: Snell frustrated after not being named an All-Star

Juan Soto, OF, Nationals
Soto won't turn 20 years old until October, and all told, one could make a reasonable case for him making the team this year; he has a higher OBP than anyone on the NL roster. This year's All-Star Game in Washington may be known as one of the few that Soto doesn't make. 

Other names considered: Albert Almora Jr., Brian Anderson, Harrison Bader, Dylan Bundy, Zach Eflin, Jack Flaherty, Kyle Freeland, Ian Happ, Brad Keller, Matt Olson, Eddie Rosario, Mike Soroka, Dansby Swanson, Trea Turner.

Will Leitch is a columnist for MLB.com.