Which Rays will join Arozarena, Díaz as All-Stars?

June 30th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Adam Berry’s Rays Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

PHOENIX -- The Rays will send at least two players to the All-Star Game in Seattle. and  were elected by fans to be in the American League’s starting lineup. Manager Kevin Cash broke that news to them in front of their teammates after Tampa Bay’s series finale victory over Arizona on Thursday, giving the first-time All-Stars a moment of recognition and a chance to enjoy it.

How many of their Rays teammates will join them before all the stars line up before the first pitch at T-Mobile Park on July 11?

Full rosters for the All-Star Game will be unveiled on ESPN on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. ET, rounding out the roster with a full set of pitchers and reserve position players.

The pitchers and reserves, 23 for each side, are selected through a combination of “Player Ballot” choices and selections made by the Commissioner’s Office.

“I'm going to be around all the best players in the big leagues,” Díaz said through interpreter Manny Navarro. “I'm very grateful and very proud to be around that and be a part of it.”

Shouldn’t the Rays, with the best record in baseball, have a few more representatives on the AL squad? Yes, and they almost certainly will.

The most obvious pick is ace , a candidate to start his second consecutive Midsummer Classic as long as he’s healthy and cleared to pitch in the exhibition.

McClanahan leads the Majors in wins (11) and ERA (2.23), and he’s racked up 100 strikeouts in 93 innings over 16 starts. With his devastating four-pitch mix and relentless drive to improve, McClanahan could be a fixture at the All-Star Game for years to come.

Then there’s shortstop , who was boxed out of the AL shortstop finalist field by the Rangers’ Corey Seager (the elected starter) and the Blue Jays’ Bo Bichette.

The 22-year-old clearly has the credentials to earn a spot, however, if the AL takes three shortstops. He ranks fourth among MLB hitters with 3.5 WAR, according to FanGraphs, behind Ronald Acuña Jr., Shohei Ohtani and Corbin Carroll. What do those three have in common? They’re all All-Stars.

The Rays have a handful of other candidates, including starter Zach Eflin, but the most intriguing is probably . He doesn’t have the name recognition of his peers, but Paredes is hitting .264/.367/.483 with 13 homers and 50 RBIs in 74 games. Among qualified AL third basemen, only José Ramírez has a higher OPS than Paredes’ .850 mark.

How many of those players will join Díaz and Arozarena in Seattle? We’ll soon find out.