Get ready for the All-Star Game in Atlanta, Yankees fans! You’re going to see plenty of Bombers.
The New York Yankees have a star-studded 26-man roster entering the 2021 season, and many of their centerpieces have taken their fair share of trips to the All-Star Game over the years.
But some core Yankees have yet to make the trip — even a few you’d expect had attained the honor already.
Therefore, it’s safe to say that 2021 may very well be the year for a few Yanks to head to the Midsummer Classic — some young breakouts, some established stars who’d been waiting patiently for a logjam to clear.
For the purposes of this examination, we’ve left one potential first-time All-Star out of the meat of this article, though we think this person has a much better chance of being honored in 2022: in other words, Jameson Taillon, enjoy your All-Star Break.
As ready as Taillon appears to be to contribute after a year and a half of rehab, the Yankees still seem likely to keep him in some form of bubble wrap in 2021 with the intention of keeping him untethered through October. They didn’t acquire him to star in April, after all — or really any portion of the season’s first half. Therefore, we think Taillon will be effective, but won’t post enough bulk to make his first All-Star Game.
Ditto for Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt. Both men have All-Star potential, but neither has guaranteed innings entering 2021 — and you have to be really special to make the pitching staff as a rookie, regardless.
In essence, this feels like a three-man list to us, but all three names have at least an average shot of making the All-Star Game this summer.
3. Clint Frazier, LF
If Clint Frazier gets a full 160-ish games to make his case as a starter this season — and it seems as if he will! — then there’s no reason he can’t be a 25-30 homer bat.
And if Frazier’s defense, which was exalted to the degree of a Gold Glove nomination in 2020, continues to improve, he won’t have a negative narrative dogging him as the hits pile up.
Plus, a little flash never hurts. And if Frazier is ripping blasts with his trademark flair and whip-quick bat, that could be the optics tiebreaker between his All-Star case and that of similar, less-interesting outfielders. The game is, at its core, a show, after all.
In the shortened 2020 — the first time any of us saw the new-look Frazier — we were treated to a bat speed show that resulted in a .394 OBP, .905 OPS, 149 OPS+ and 1.7 WAR. Call me old fashioned, but any outfielder who ends up 50% above-average at a keystone position deserves an All-Star nod.
“But isn’t that a small sample?” Yes! Sure! You know what else is a small sample? The first half of an MLB season, which determines All-Star status. It’s a three-month evaluation.
Perhaps the greatest advantage of potentially losing Brett Gardner is that there’s a much lower chance that Frazier gets usurped for postseason playing time. If Frazier increases his batting average by, say, 10 points and holds up his end of the bargain playing regularly April through June, he could easily be an All-Star reserve.