Don't sleep on these All-Star picks in AL East

June 6th, 2019

There are shoo-ins for the All-Star Game every summer.

These are historically the game's best players and most often, the most popular ones. But there's another group of players that deserves your attention, and ultimately your consideration, at the All-Star ballot box.

These are the sleeper All-Star candidates from the American League East.

Blue Jays:
What Marcus Stroman has meant to the starting rotation, Giles has meant the same -- or maybe even more -- to the bullpen. Though Toronto's closer could be overlooked because the Blue Jays haven't had a lot of save opportunities to offer him, the 28-year-old right-hander has been everything the club could have hoped for in a reliever. Giles has a 1.08 ERA in 25 games and 25 innings, with 11 saves in 12 chances. He's allowed three runs and seven walks and racked up 42 strikeouts while holding opponents to a .207 average. He has not been named an All-Star in his six-year Major League career, but maybe it's time for that to change.

The signing of Garcia to a one-year, $3.5 million contract this offseason could have been viewed as a bit of a gamble for the Rays, when you consider his knee issues in 2018. The reward has been worth the risk. The outfielder has been a pleasant surprise for Tampa Bay, playing a key role in the Rays' hot start to the season. Through 49 games, Garcia had 11 home runs, 28 RBIs and was third on the team with an .885 OPS. He ranks among the Majors' best in average exit velocity, expected batting average, hard-hit rate and expected slugging percentage. Austin Meadows and Tommy Pham are understandably receiving lots of attention, but Garcia could be a deserving of an All-Star bid, especially if he continues his production over the next couple of weeks.

Red Sox:
The catcher from Puerto Rico is having a breakout season behind the plate, but his defensive prowess should not be overlooked. Vazquez ranks second in the AL and third in MLB with a 45 percent caught stealing (9-for-20) and had thrown out nine of 14 runners attempting to steal since April 13. He leads active catchers (minimum 100 games started) with a 40.1 percent career caught-stealing rate at 61-of-152. At the plate, Vazquez led AL catchers and ranked fourth in the big leagues with a .373 batting average in May, and he is batting .359 with 11 runs, five doubles, three home runs, nine RBIs and seven walks since April 24.

Orioles: John Means
The former non-prospect thought he might be cut at the start of Spring Training this year. Boy, was he wrong. Means came out of nowhere this spring and has emerged as the Orioles' best starter. He's been one of the best kept secrets in baseball -- that is until he qualifies for ERA title consideration after his next start. Means is 5-4 with a 2.67 ERA in 14 games (10 starts) with 50 strikeouts through 60 2/3 innings. He's also pitched well in long relief and is quickly gaining a reputation for featuring one of the best changeups in the game.

Urshela has always been considered a premier defender, but now the rest of his game has caught up. This new and better version of the former utility player could end up an AL All-Star at third base. Urshela is having a breakout season, and the fact that he is among the AL leaders in batting average only tells part of the story. The 27-year-old reached base in 36 of his first 40 starts at third base this season, and he has three game-tying or go-ahead hits this year. He hit safely in 12 consecutive starts in April and May when a Yankees club that was depleted by injuries needed him the most.