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Gerrit Cole is only other Yankee to join Aaron Judge on American League All-Star team

The Yankees’ ace earned his sixth career All-Star nod, but he’ll likely be just one of two Yanks at the Midsummer Classic.

All-Star Red Carpet Show Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

On the heels of their fantastic MLB-best 61-23 start to 2022, the Yankees were appropriately represented at the All-Star Game in Los Angeles. The team sent six players to the Midsummer Classic: Aaron Judge, Gerrit Cole, Jose Trevino, Giancarlo Stanton, Nestor Cortes, and Clay Holmes — their most as a team in over a decade.

The Yankees’ 2023 campaign, however, has been a bumpier road. Their first half has not been nearly as disastrous as those of the Mets, Padres, or Cardinals (consensus slam-dunk preseason playoff picks), but the nicest thing to be said about the Yankees is that they’re merely fine. Although they might have been better than fine when Judge was in the starting lineup, he’s been out for a month with a strange toe injury sustained on a painful bullpen fence collision at Dodger Stadium in early June, and there’s no obvious end in sight to his IL stint. The Yanks have lagged in their captain’s absence and are not only far away from first place in the AL East, but clinging to a Wild Card spot at 46-38.

All of the above is a preamble to the fact that it shouldn’t catch anyone following the Yankees off guard to learn that the team only has two All-Stars in 2023 (per the announcements just made on ESPN). Judge belted a ridiculous 19 homers in just 49 games with a 188 wRC+ before the injury, and that was enough to get voted into the American League’s starting lineup. He’ll miss the Midsummer Classic as he recovers, but it can still be counted as his fifth career All-Star nod and third in a row.

The ace Cole will also be making a return trip to the All-Star Game, the sixth appearance of his career and and fifth straight (discounting 2020, when COVID-19 cancelled the event). He won AL Pitcher of the Month in April with a 1.11 ERA, no homers allowed, and over a strikeout per inning.

Cole faltered a bit in May but rebounded very nicely in June to post some of the league’s best numbers. Despite a sterling resume, Cole is still bidding for his first career Cy Young Award, and while he’ll likely face stiff competition this year (Nathan Eovaldi, Framber Valdez, and Kevin Gausman, to name a few), he’ll once again have a shot. For now, he’ll content himself with another All-Star appearance — and perhaps even a start. Cole led the AL in rWAR entering Sunday at 3.2, and after a tough-luck loss against the Cards, he has a 2.79 ERA, 3.38 FIP, and 118 strikeouts in 109.2 innings.

Three other Yankees who were in LA last year will absolutely not be going to Seattle for the 2023 All-Star Game. Trevino has fully turned back into a pumpkin with the bat, and both Stanton and Cortes have been injured and largely ineffective anyway. Aaron Boone made a pregame case on Sunday for Gleyber Torres to make it at second base, but he’s only a candidate if the lone criteria under consideration is homers. Although Gleyber’s 12 dingers are second among all AL players at the keystone, he lags behind with league-average numbers at best in other categories (106 wRC+, 0.9 fWAR, please don’t look at the defense).

I’d be remiss to say that there is an outside shot at Holmes eventually joining the AL roster as a possible replacement. A month into 2023, a case would’ve appeared unlikely for the occasional closer, as he’d been blasted with a 6.30 ERA and a .786 OPS against with shaky control through May 3rd. Since then though, Holmes has been electric with a 0.77 ERA and a .432 OPS against while fanning almost a third of batters he’s faced (29 in 23.1 innings).

The only other maybe out there is Anthony Rizzo, who has generally gone in the opposite direction as Holmes. The veteran first baseman surged in April and even by the end of May, he was hitting .304/.376/.505 with 11 homers and a 147 wRC+. He left his last game in May with an injury on an odd collision of his own, and though he’s maintained health, the regression fairy may be to blame. Since then, he’s posted a 65 wRC+, and the big dip in overall numbers has probably sunk him out of the All-Star mix (though honestly his numbers are pretty similar to Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who was chosen as a reserve). Still, there’s a chance that he could eventually be named an All-Star backup by the player vote, since when they submitted their picks, his numbers were a little better.

Below are the current named All-Stars.

AL Starters

C Jonah Heim, Rangers
1B Yandy Díaz, Rays
2B Marcus Semien, Rangers
3B Josh Jung, Rangers
SS Corey Seager, Rangers
OF Randy Arozarena, Rays
OF Aaron Judge, Yankees
OF Mike Trout, Angels
DH Shohei Ohtani, Angels

AL Pitchers & Reserves

SP Shohei Ohtani, Angels (yeah, he made it both ways, lol)
SP Framber Valdez, Astros
SP Kevin Gausman, Blue Jays
SP Luis Castillo, Mariners
SP Nathan Eovaldi, Rangers
SP Shane McClanahan, Rays
SP Michael Lorenzen, Tigers
SP Sonny Gray, Twins
SP Gerrit Cole, Yankees

RP Emmanuel Clase, Guardians
RP Félix Bautista, Orioles
RP Yennier Cano, Orioles
RP Kenley Jansen, Red Sox

OF Yordan Alvarez, Astros
DH Brent Rooker, Athletics
1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays
2B Whit Merrifield, Blue Jays
SS Bo Bichette, Blue Jays
3B José Ramírez, Guardians
OF Austin Hays, Orioles
C Adley Rutschman, Orioles
OF Adolis García, Rangers
C Salvador Perez, Royals
OF Luis Robert Jr., White Sox

NL Starters

C Sean Murphy, Braves
1B Freddie Freeman, Dodgers
2B Luis Arraez, Marlins
3B Nolan Arenado, Cardinals
SS Orlando Arcia, Braves
OF Ronald Acuña Jr., Braves
OF Mookie Betts, Dodgers
OF Corbin Carroll, Diamondbacks
DH J.D. Martinez, Dodgers

NL Pitchers & Reserves

SP Bryce Elder, Braves
SP Spencer Strider, Braves
SP Justin Steele, Cubs
SP Marcus Stroman, Cubs
SP Zac Gallen, Diamondbacks
SP Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
SP Josiah Gray, Nationals
SP Mitch Keller, Pirates

RP Devin Williams, Brewers
RP Camilo Doval, Giants
RP Josh Hader, Padres
RP Alexis Díaz, Reds

1B Matt Olson, Braves
2B Ozzie Albies, Braves
3B Austin Riley, Braves (yes, there are eight Braves; yowza)
SS Dansby Swanson, Cubs
OF Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Diamondbacks
C Will Smith, Dodgers
DH Jorge Soler, Marlins
1B Pete Alonso, Mets
OF Juan Soto, Padres
OF Nick Castellanos, Phillies
C Elías Díaz, Rockies

Would you pick any other Yankees for the Midsummer Classic, or do you think they generally got the vote right?