MLB will display a talent renaissance during Tuesday night’s All-Star Game, which will be headlined by up-and-coming studs.

The Midsummer Classic starters aren’t much older than Sunday’s MLB Futures Game participants. In fact, 23-year-old Bryce Harper is younger than 10 of those minor league stars who were fighting to sit at the big kids’ table.

Outside of elder statesman David Ortiz, every American League starter is 27 or younger. In all, 14 of the 20 starters are no older than 26.

Instead of honoring popular veterans well past their primes—congratulations on tying the knot, Derek Jeter—the fans recognized baseball’s burgeoning crop of talent carrying the present and representing the future.

Let’s take a look at the finalized rosters and starting lineups for Tuesday night’s exhibition contest with real-world repercussions:


American League

In his final All-Star Game, Ortiz will babysit a loaded young lineup that features three Boston Red Sox teammates. If baseball’s best lineup wasn’t already stacked enough, the best of Boston’s batting order joins Jose Altuve, Mike Trout and Manny Machado.

This is what an All-Star lineup looks like when fans don’t go off the grid. Kansas City Royals skipper Ned Yost was gifted a group with contact, power and speed. Salvador Perez is the only starter batting below .295, and he’s a catcher with a .500 slugging percentage and excellent defensive skills. 

Yost could have picked the batting order out of a hat—Kansas City’s lineups occasionally have that look—and it would do just fine.

However, he faced a tougher decision regarding which pitcher to start. Having few choices to begin with, he lost a prime contender in late scratch Danny Salazar (elbow). With a staff dominated by relievers, he had limited options—unless he were to make the unconventional decision to open with one of his many late-inning specialists.

Instead, he chose one of baseball’s most respected aces: Chicago White Sox southpaw Chris Sale. During Monday’s media session, Yost referenced his familiarity with the American League Central foe, per CSN Chicago’s Dan Hayes:

For the few simpletons out there who still regard wins as the pinnacle of pitcher evaluation, this year’s 14-win campaign is better than Sale’s 12-win 2014 and 13-win 2015. Yet he’s having a letdown season for his astronomically high standards.

His 3.38 ERA, which would be a personal high if not for last year’s 3.41, is above his career 2.97 mark. While his peripherals indicate better 2015 production, his 8.86 strikeouts per nine innings and 3.74 FIP both represent the worst rates of his career.

Perhaps Yost made up his mind before Sale relinquished eight runs to the Atlanta Braves, baseball’s worst offense by nearly every metric. In his defense, the next-best choice was knuckleballer Steven Wright, who has allowed 18 runs over his last three starts.

Like Yost’s Royals, the AL squad is still in good shape if it can hand its loaded bullpen a lead. That could mean jumping ahead after three or four frames.


National League

New York Mets manager Terry Collins faced an extra decision. The fans don’t select the National League’s designated hitter, but the game will utilize one despite taking place in the San Diego Padres’ home. 

He could have selected former Mets star Daniel Murphy, who has tormented his old club with seven home runs and 21 RBI this year (after finishing with six apiece in 2011 and 2012). The Washington Nationals second baseman boasts an MLB-best .348 batting average with a career-high 17 homers and .985 OPS.

Instead, local attendees will get something to cheer for when Padres first baseman Wil Myers starts and bats in the cleanup spot. With most of his early career marred by injuries, the 25-year-old has enjoyed a breakout year with 19 homers, 15 steals and an .873 OPS.

Collins’ entire infield can relate to his Murphy-induced pain, as all four members represent the Chicago Cubs. Although the injured Dexter Fowler (hamstring) won’t join them, the team will still have an unusually big impact on the Midsummer Classic, as the USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale noted:

Voted into the starting lineup, Fowler and Yoenis Cespedes will sit out to the benefit of Carlos Gonzalez and Marcell Ozuna. The Colorado Rockies outfielder, who was eliminated in the first round of Monday night’s Home Run Derby, will hope to find better success away from Coors Field than his .737 first-half OPS. Ozuna, meanwhile, deserved to start all along with a 3.3 WAR, which is tied with Harper for the second-best among NL outfielders.

The reigning MVP has an opportunity to sway home-field advantage in the World Series on Tuesday night. But he told MLB Network on Monday night that he wishes he didn’t, courtesy of Rotoworld’s D.J. Short:

At first, Collins had the easiest starting pitching choice in the world thanks to Clayton Kershaw’s unbelievable first half. But then he landed on the disabled list (back). Madison Bumgarner, Noah Syndergaard and Stephen Strasburg were all enticing alternatives before getting replaced. Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester are slumping too much to join their Cubs teammates.

That left Johnny Cueto and Jose Fernandez as the top aces standing, and Collins selected the San Francisco Giants veteran. Let’s just pretend Cueto earned the nod on his 2.47 ERA and 2.70 FIP rather than his 13-1 record.

It’s probably for the best, as letting Fernandez loose for one inning later in the game should spark magic.


Note: All advanced statistics courtesy of FanGraphs unless otherwise noted.

Read more MLB news on