Judge, Correa among dozen first-time all-star starters
NEW YORK» Aaron Judge, Carlos Correa and Nolan Arenado led a new generation of all-stars, among 12 first-time starters elected by fans for the July 11 AllStar Game at Marlins Park.
“I’ve got to call my family and tell them to book a flight to Miami. They’re going to be excited,” Judge said after rosters were announced Sunday.
The dozen first-time starters are the most since voting was returned to fans in 1970.
Just one player was picked from the World Series champion Cubs: reliever Wade Davis, who wasn’t with Chicago when it ended a 108-year title drought last fall. The Cubs had seven all-stars last season, including their entire starting infield.
“We haven’t had many guys who were all that deserving,” said Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta.
Just past the halfway point, the Cubs are 41-41.
“Maybe this is actually a good thing. Right now, rest is not a bad word,” said Chicago’s Joe Maddon, who will manage the NL.
In a sign of the generational change, the all-stars with the most selections are Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw with eight and St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina with seven. Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera, the senior all-star last year with 11 selections, wasn’t picked for the first time since 2009.
Two of the first-time starters are from the Houston Astros, who have the best record in the major leagues: Correa, the shortstop drafted first overall in 2012, and outfielder George Springer. Second baseman Jose Altuve was elected to his third start.
“It’s something you dream about since you are a kid, since you get drafted, since you sign a professional contract,” Correa said.
Houston pitchers Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers Jr. were picked, as well, giving the Astros five all-stars, tied for the most with the New York Yankees, Cleveland and Washington. Keuchel is hurt and won’t pitch.
Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, second baseman Daniel Murphy and first baseman Ryan Zimmerman were elected to start, and Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg were selected for the pitching staff. Harper led fan voting with 4.63 million ballots.
“Humbled by fans, the way they treat me,” Harper said.
At 32, Zimmerman is an all-star for the first time since 2009.
Judge, the 6-foot-7 rookie who leads the major leagues with 27 home runs, topped the AL with 4.49 million votes. He is joined in the outfield by Springer and Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout, who hopes to return in time from a torn thumb ligament.
There were 11 first-time starters last season in San Diego, the final time the winning league received home-field advantage in the World Series. Under baseball’s new labor contract, the World Series now starts in the ballpark of the pennant winner with the better record.