Jesse Rogers, ESPN Staff Writer July 11, 2023, 6:37 a.m. ET
CloseJesse joined ESPN Chicago in September 2009 and covers MLB for ESPN.com.
SEATTLE — Will this be the Rookie Year in the 2023 MLB All-Star Game?
There are 33 – yes, 33 – All-Stars first-time on Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic roster at T-Mobile Park. In short, that’s eighth most (the record is 42, set in 2021) and only three less than in 1933 – the first All-Star Game.
While some of these players are definitely on a baseball fan’s radar – especially if they play for their favorite team or one of its rivals – more than a few faces may be unfamiliar.
Here are some of the most notable rookies — and how they rocked the All-Star Game.
Corbin Carroll, Arizona Diamondbacks
The numbers that got him here: The 22-year-old outfielder, born and raised in Seattle, was the first rookie in MLB history with 15 home runs and 25 stolen bases before the All-Star break.
How he most likely stole the show tonight: By hitting a home run and stealing a base. Or steal three. He is that good and that fast.
Quote: “It’s a great achievement. I’m so proud of it. Being in the stadium and the hometown where I grew up is very special. The support I have here in Seattle is amazing.” — Karol
Josh Jung, Texas Ranger
The numbers that got him here: Jung was the first primary rookie third baseman with at least 15 home runs and 50 RBI before the All-Star break since Evan Longoria in 2008.
How he most likely stole the show tonight: By stopping diving at third base. Jung is one of only eight third basemen in the majors with positive defense saved.
Quotes: “Those are some pretty big shoes to fill. Being here is cool, but I have a long time to make up for what he did.” — Jung carried the All-Star torch for former Ranger Adrian Beltre at third base
Yennier Cano, Baltimore Orioles
The numbers that got him here: Cano had the longest scoreless innings to start a season relieved by the Orioles (21⅔) during the Expansion Era (since 1961). The 29-year-old’s 1.48 ERA is also the lowest first-half ERA of a rookie Orioles with at least 40 innings in franchise history.
How he most likely stole the show tonight: If he allows even one baserunner it will be a surprise, as Cano has bowled the most innings (42⅔) with the lowest WHIP (.89) of any reliever in the game.
Quote: “This is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me in baseball. Starting the year in Triple-A and then being here, it’s been amazing.” — Canoe
The star has finally earned her due
AP/Ted Warren’s photo
Randy Arozarena, Tampa Bay Rays
The number that brought him here: Lots of votes. Arozarena’s stats are good, but her popularity makes her an All-Star, via fan voting. Tampa Bay’s 2020 World Series running star finished in the top three among outfielders — along with former MVP Aaron Judge and injured Mike Trout — putting him in the game.
How she most likely stole the show tonight: Take your pick. Jump into the stands for a selfie while hitting a dive catch, hitting a game-winning home run, or stealing one on the fence. Arozarena probably does it all.
Quote: “If I were a gambler I’d say he would win MVP. I know he’s going to fold his arms and strike the pose at some point.” — Rays teammate and fellow All-Star Wander Franco
Adolis Garcia, Texas Ranger
The numbers that got him here: García leads the MLB in RBI (75) and field assists (10). The only other player to lead the MLB in RBI and assist the field during the All-Star break? Manny Ramirez in 2005 and Chuck Klein in 1933.
How he most likely stole the show tonight: By throwing out a runner at home plate.
Quotes: “Adolis is a great card player. We play a game called Casino. He’s probably the best in our locker room. Oh, and he’s the best hitter.” — Rangers teammate and fellow All-Star Jonah Heim
Jonah Heim, Texas Ranger
The numbers that led him here: Heim had the most RBIs by a Rangers main catcher before the All-Star break since Ivan Rodriguez in 2000.
How he most likely stole the show tonight: If he throws a runner trying to steal. That hasn’t happened in the All-Star Game since Lance Berkman was caught in 2011.
Quotes: “He’s a hard worker. He sticks around after games and bats on the court. His work ethic is unmatched. But he’s just pretty good at ping-pong and his card game is OK. He’s always in a good mood, though.” — Rangers teammate and fellow All-Star Josh Jung
Brent Rooker, Oakland Athletics
Numbers that got him here: Rooker leads the As in home runs (16). He is one of only two Oakland players to score at least 10 first half goals (Shane Langeliers is the other).
How he most likely stole the show tonight: If he trades mid game. Rooker has changed teams three times since the start of last season, but here he is as the A’s only All-Star.
Quote: “As a 27 year old, spending most of last season in Triple-A, this seems far reaching, but here I am. The All-Star Game didn’t cross my mind until last Sunday when they told me I was in it.” — Hijackers
Alika Jenner/Getty Images
Alexis Diaz, Cincinnati Reds
Numbers that got him here: Diaz is tied for leading MLB (26) in saves. Of the three cover players he tied with, he had the fewest saves (one).
How he most likely stole the show tonight: If, when he runs from the bullpen, Timmy Trumpet takes Narco off the warning lane with an verse for brother Edwin, the New York Mets are the closest out to the season after being injured during a World Baseball Classic. Well, maybe not…
Quotes: “He told me if you put in this hard work you’ll get there. He was excited and happy for me. But I wasn’t going to play Timmy Trumpet. I was going to play my song.” — Diaz on his brother Edwin
Camilo Doval, San Francisco Giant
The numbers that got him here: Doval is tied for leading MLB in saves with 26.
How he’s most likely to steal the show tonight: He’ll be making headlines if he hits a few hitters, as he ranks in the top five among relievers in hitting a hitter with a pitch.
Quotes: “I took advantage of the opportunities that were given to me. My teammates loved watching me play. I really enjoyed this game. It’s a dream come true. I’ll never forget it.” — Doval
Michael Lorenzen, Detroit Tigers
Where is your team standing at half
Plus their MVP… so far.
Bradford Dolittle »
The numbers that got him here: He had the lowest ERA of any Tiger starter, excluding Eduardo Rodriguez, who was injured when the picks were made, and had the most innings.
How he’s likely to steal the show tonight: When Lorenzen, a former quasi two-way player, pressed into serve as a pinch hitter, won the game at the plate and bowled the final inning.
Quote: “There’s a bit of, ‘Do I belong here?’ To be honest, maybe not, but I’m going to enjoy it. No one can take that away from me.” –Lorenzen
Justin Steele, Chicago Boy
The numbers that got him here: The NL rookie trails Clayton Kershaw by 0.01 point (2.56 to 2.55) to lead the league in ERA at the break.
How he most likely stole the show tonight: When, after making a stellar All-Star Game debut, he pivoted during an on-court interview, talking about his beloved New Orleans Saints. Steele probably likes them more than pitching. Otherwise, it’s close.
Quote: “I’ve done a lot of reflection. Being here is very special. I think I’m starting to think about it [the All-Star Game] when it pops up on social media. And meeting Clayton Kershaw was super cool. I grew up idolizing him. Sharing a locker room with him is amazing.” — Steele