Castellanos, Winker voted All-Star starters

Outfielders both will be making first appearances in Midsummer Classic

July 4th, 2021

CINCINNATI -- The National League outfield at the All-Star Game will have a pair of Reds manning each corner spot after they were rewarded by the fans for their career seasons.

Right fielder and left fielder finished second and third, respectively, in the second phase of All-Star balloting, it was revealed on Thursday. Both will be in the NL’s starting lineup for the first All-Star Game of their career.

The rest of the 2021 All-Star rosters were revealed on Sunday, but the Reds did not get any reserve players or pitchers added. The All-Star Game at Coors Field in Colorado, will be on July 13 on FOX.

“For my first time to go to this event, him being there means a lot as well,” Winker said. “You know, everybody in that clubhouse, this would not be able to happen for me without them.”

Taking advantage of downtime during a 52-minute rain delay during a 5-4 victory over the Padres, manager David Bell informed both players and then the entire clubhouse.

“Just a complete honor for all of us to be the one to deliver that message,” Bell said. “It’s nice to be able to do it as a group.”

Castellanos, 29, entered Thursday leading the NL in batting average (.346), hits (102), doubles (27), extra-base hits (44) and total bases (179). He is second in slugging percentage (.607) and OPS (.1002). The right fielder has also hit 16 home runs with 53 RBIs.

“An incredible honor, man,” Castellanos said. “The love and support that I’ve heard from the stadium and teammates, coaching staff, players on the other team, I’m honored, really, and very thankful for everybody casted a ballot for not only me, but Jesse also.”

Winker, 27, came in third in the NL with a .325 average and .404 OBP and fourth with .597 slugging percentage, while leading the Reds with 19 home runs. He already has his career high in homers and RBIs (48) this season.

Winker was emotional with tears while discussing being an All-Star.

“I never thought this could happen for me. I'm very thankful. Thank you everybody. It means a lot to me,” Winker said. “There's been a lot of people before me that have been named All-Stars and to get to fall in line and get to go, it's a huge honor for me. And I know I'm crying again, but it's a dream come true.

“There's a lot of people I need to sit up here and thank, but we'd probably be here for the next hour. I really want to thank my teammates and my family and my little girl at home, my daughter.”

Castellanos and Winker will give the Reds multiple outfield All-Star Game starters for the first time since 1956 (Gus Bell, Frank Robinson). The last All-Star Game starter for Reds was shortstop Zack Cozart in 2017. The last time they had two starters was 2013 -- Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips.

“I can’t say enough about those guys, what they’ve done on the field, but more importantly in the locker room, as well,” Reds shortstop Kyle Farmer said. “I’ve said this a bunch how much Jesse has matured as a person and a player in the past three years I’ve seen him. Nick is the same guy every day. You know you’re going to get a good at-bat against him, and you know he’s going to hustle down the line every chance he gets. Those guys deserve it, and they deserve more than being an All-Star. They are incredible players.”

After the rain delay, the Reds announced the All-Star selections after the top of the fifth inning was completed. Both Castellanos and Winker were given a loud ovation and they raised their caps in appreciation.

“I can’t say for everybody, but for me—that’s what I play for is the love and respect of the people who pay to come watch me play, as well as all my friends and family that have been with me from the start of Miami Lakes Optimist, Pembroke Lakes Optimist baseball, and sitting in this chair now,” Castellanos said. “To everybody who has been a part of my ride, you know, thank you.”

Earlier on Thursday, Votto -- a six-time All-Star -- praised the play of both Castellanos and Winker this season.

“Clearly, we’ve got two players on our team that are very worthy All-Stars,” Votto said. “Starting is odd because you’re proud of starting, but with your first one, you just want to be there. I’m very much looking forward to the both of them making it and then go from there. It’s so earned. Nick has been fantastic. Jesse has been excellent. I see them improving, not just offensively, but they are getting better defensively. Both had reputations of being not strong defenders and now they’re getting better.

“There have been stretches where they both have carried us. Those are exactly the type of players that you want on the big stage for All-Star Games.”