Yankees: 3 players who could be first-time All-Stars in 2021

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SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 07: Gio Urshela #29 of the New York Yankees warms up prior to Game Three of the American League Division Series against the Tampa Bay Rays at PETCO Park on October 07, 2020 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

2. Gio Urshela

Apparently, Gio Urshela’s breakout 2019 season wasn’t good enough to earn All-Star honors — and that game was held in Cleveland, which would’ve made for a pretty exciting homecoming to his former stomping grounds.

Wait, how was Gio Urshela not a Yankees All-Star in 2019?

The Yankees received plenty of All-Star nods in 2019, but they didn’t exactly age well — like we said, small sample size, am I right? DJ LeMahieu got a starting job, which was very much warranted, but so did Gary Sanchez, a vote that looked a little suspect after his roller-coaster second half left his year-end stats looking underwhelming.

Gleyber Torres was elected by the players as an infield backup instead of Urshela — and who can really blame them? — while Aroldis Chapman ended up in the ‘pen thanks to the opinions of his peers, too. Most surprisingly, Masahiro Tanaka ended up on the mound as a replacement, a decision that ended up looking strange after the Red Sox tagged him a few times in the second half, resulting in a disappointing 4.45 season ERA.

It seems likely Urshela missed out on an All-Star appearance in 2019 because of two factors: a late start, and a June swoon.

Urshela wasn’t supposed to be a main factor in the Yankees’ success in ’19, with Miguel Andújar entrenched at third base and Troy Tulowitzki (seriously) at short, pushing DJ LeMahieu into purgatory. He only started 15 games in April (though he hit .345) before smacking .333 in May. June, unfortunately, was relatively unkind to Urshela — he hit three homers and knocked in 17 runs, but with a .232 average. That didn’t help the effort to convert believers that his fast start wasn’t a mirage, especially All-Star voters.

Additionally, the third baseman’s power surge really picked up in the season’s second half; 12 of Urshela’s 21 homers came in July and August.

Long story short: if Urshela replicates his 2019 season (which he did in a shortened 2020!), he stands a great chance of earning an All-Star nod.