Kirk to make All-Star debut, join Vladdy on AL squad

July 9th, 2022

SEATTLE -- Two for The Show.

The Blue Jays learned on Friday that Alejandro Kirk and  will be starting in the 2022 All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium on July 19.

For Kirk, the team’s 23-year-old catcher playing in his second full big league season, this will be his first All-Star Game. Entering Friday, he led all MLB catchers in batting average (.312), on-base percentage (.399) and OPS (.894) to go with a 152 wRC+ and an 86.9 percent contact rate. That has translated to 10 homers and 31 walks against just 25 strikeouts in 74 games.

Along with his surprisingly dominant year at the plate, Kirk has impressed with his defense, ranking in the 93rd percentile in pitch framing. Kirk beat out Yankees catcher Jose Trevino for the starting nod.

“It’s going to be very emotional, being around those big-time players.” Kirk said. “People that I read about or people that I used to see on TV, now to be there, it’s going to be very emotional.”

Notifying Kirk about his All-Star Game berth was a special moment for manager Charlie Montoyo, too.

“The kid’s smile when I told him was really cool,” Montoyo said. “I told him how proud I am of him. Now in two years to see how he’s grown, and now he’s going to be a starter in the All-Star Game … it was a good moment for me and for him, of course.”

While Kirk will be soaking in the All-Star atmosphere for the first time, Guerrero has been there before. The 2021 All-Star Game MVP will be making his second appearance at the Midsummer Classic after beating out Mariners first baseman Ty France for the starting spot.

Entering Friday, Guerrero led the Blue Jays with 19 homers -- second among AL first basemen to Anthony Rizzo's 22 -- and led the league's first basemen with 54 RBIs to go with a .268 batting average and an .840 OPS. His 468-foot third-inning homer in last year's contest helped lift the AL to a 5-2 win at Coors Field.

“To make an All-Star Game, sometimes people think it is easy, but it’s a lot of hard work,” Guerrero said. “... It means a lot to me. I mean, all the hard work that I’m putting in in the offseason, Spring Training, whatever. And [I] thank God I get the opportunity to be in my second one, and I’m very happy about it.”

Guerrero still has a ways to go to catch his father in All-Star Game appearances. Vlad Sr. finished his Hall of Fame career as a nine-time All-Star.

“He’s an All-Star, and he deserves to go,” Montoyo said. “He doesn’t take it for granted, either. He’s happy, and he’s honored that he’s going, and he’s going to keep working out. He’s a better first baseman this year than he was last year, that’s for sure.”

The full All-Star rosters will be revealed during the selection show Sunday at 5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.