NL All-Star Tiers

Our All-Star selections, divided in tiers.

For everything that is unique and special about every baseball season, there are a few things that we can always count on. Opening Day hope, Hall of Fame debates, Mike Trout injuries, and the ever-present All-Star selections and snubs. With less than a month to go before the actual festivities, it is inevitable to engage in these latter discussions, especially in a season in which most of the league is hovering around .500 and true greatness is hard to find.

Among all baseball debates, defining what an All-Star is becomes one of the quirkiest, as single-season merit is not always the lone consideration. With every team (even the White Sox!) having to send at least one representative, and veterans with name recognition always carrying at least some weight with the voting fans, it becomes clear that we will never have a fair and all-encompassing All-Star selection.

With this in mind, we will do our best to present an unbiased and complete ballot, starting with the National League. Each position covers three players, starting with a lock that has earned a starting spot, a hopeful that is on the brink of at least having a place on the bench, and a wild card that needs at least a couple of good weeks to earn an invite to Arlington.

Come back later this week to check out our picks for the American League.




The Lock: William Contreras

The Hopeful: Will Smith

The Wild Card: Patrick Bailey

The case for Contreras above Will Smith is not as clear-cut as happens in other positions, but he essentially has become the best player on a division leader, and that tends to cause an impact. As it stands today, Contreras leads the fan voting and has amassed 2.1 WAR on the strength of solid defense and a .797 OPS, which is actually a bit lower than his career standard. Smith takes a step back among several All-Star teammates, but his production remains elite for a catcher, leading the NL in homers and OPS from the position. There will be no qualms if he ends up being the starter. As far as wild cards, Patrick Bailey has been consistent with his bat (.787 OPS) but has also taken a step back in terms of defense, with teams recently stealing bases at an alarming rate. Unless Bailey or someone else suddenly starts raking, this position is pretty much set.


First Base


The Lock: Bryce Harper

The Hopeful: Freddie Freeman

The Wild Card: Pete Alonso

In a battle of future Hall of Famers, there are solid cases to be made for both Harper and Freeman. These former MVPs are bound for their eighth selections, and it is only a matter of whom voters decide is worthy of a starting spot. Harper has a small lead in OPS (.951 to .901), homers (15 to 11), and RBI (51 to 46), while they are tied in terms of WAR. Harper’s marketability and popularity have given him the edge in fan voting, but this time it is fair to say that it is a proper choice. Pete Alonso’s slow start probably cost him a real shot, but his recent renaissance, along with his team’s, needs to be recognized. At least we should get another shot to watch his exploits at the Home Run Derby.


Second Base


The Lock: Ketel Marte

The Hopeful: Luis Arraez

The Wild Card: Ozzie Albies

Credited with making batting average cool again, Luis Arraez has certainly benefited from moving from the obscure Marlins to the shiny Padres, as he leads the fan voting. However, there has been a clearly superior player at second base, with Ketel Marte actually becoming one of the best players in MLB as a whole. Carrying over from a memorable postseason, Marte is bound for his first All-Star nod since 2019, having slugged 15 homers with the best defensive rating among second basemen. Arraez should get a spot despite a mostly-empty .323 average and zero defensive value, as no other players at the position have stepped up in 2024. In a similar situation to Pete Alonso, Ozzie Albies‘ slow start will certainly keep him away from the ballots, but he could become a worthy backup.


Third Base


The Lock: Alec Bohm

The Hopeful: Ryan McMahon

The Wild Card: Jeimer Candelario

Despite the many legacy and fame picks around All-Star voting, sometimes a player comes out of nowhere to earn a starting gig, in what usually becomes a career-best season. In 2024, that honor belongs to Alec Bohm, who has amassed more WAR in three months than he had over his first four seasons in the majors. Despite his usual shaky defense, Bohm has carried Philadelphia’s offense for long stretches, leading the league in doubles while significantly cutting his strikeout rate. Even as he has cooled off a bit, he is deserving of the starting spot. As a solid backup, Ryan McMahon is almost certain to become Colorado’s token selection, but he can at least justify it with a good season, sporting an .840 OPS with 14 homers. As many of the usual suspects have taken steps back this season, the likes of Nolan Arenado, Matt Chapman, and Austin Riley wouldn’t be more than a name-brand pick. Instead, let’s give some recognition to Jeimer Candelario, who co-leads all NL third basemen in homers and is fourth in OPS.




The Lock: Elly De La Cruz

The Hopeful: Willy Adames

The Wild Card: CJ Abrams

It is important to note that this was Mookie Betts‘ spot by a landslide until an unfortunate hit by pitch essentially sidelined him from this game. In his stead, Elly De La Cruz has done enough to at least blur many of the red flags that are still part of his game. He leads the league in strikeouts and stolen bases, as he continues to be the complete package of excitement and frustration for Reds fans. His defense has been passable at least, and he is almost a guarantee for a highlight-reel play every week, which bodes well for his All-Star debut.

With other stars hindered by injuries and ineffectiveness, the pool is shallower than it has been in recent years, opening the door for the underrated Adames, who is still looking for his first nod. With 13 homers and a decent .779 OPS, he should get the call and add All-Star to his free-agent-to-be resume. For the mandatory Nationals selection, CJ Abrams has put together a solid season while playing every day, which is a solid profile considering the low expectations for him at the start of the season.




The Locks: Jurickson ProfarHeliot Ramos, Teoscar Hernández

The Hopefuls:  Jazz Chisholm Jr., Christian Yelich, Fernando Tatis Jr.

The Wild Cards: Nick Castellanos, Brandon Nimmo, Cody Bellinger

With a -1.7 WAR in 2023, Jurickson Profar was one of the worst players in MLB, remaining unsigned until late Spring Training by the Padres, in what looked more like a depth addition. Instead, he is bound to become an All-Star for the first time in his 11-year career. With a league-leading .415 OBP and nearly as many walks as strikeouts, Profar has been the steadiest player in the uneven San Diego offense. As it usually happens with Dodgers signings, Teoscar Hernández has found a second wind at age 31, with his 18 homers providing plenty of support in an offense full of stars. Rounding out the starters, Heliot Ramos continues to make a case for his selection, with elite exit velocities that complement a .907 OPS that almost looks like a misprint in the middle of San Francisco’s offense. While his limited playing time may keep him out of a starting selection, he appears to be deserving of this spot.

Profar will likely be joined by teammate Tatis, who has regressed on defense but continues to provide plenty of power and is ready for his second career selection. Yelich appeared primed to have his best season in years, but a few injuries slowed him down and probably relegated him to a backup selection. Jazz Chisholm Jr. manages to both be as exciting and frustrating as Elly De La Cruz but without the same offensive output. He could be the token Marlins selection unless one of their pitchers steps up.

At the bottom of the ballot, other veterans are still trying to plead their case, especially in the case of Castellanos, who commands a lot of fan interest but simply doesn’t have the numbers to back it up. Nimmo, just like Pete Alonso, has started to heat up and could become an interesting option on the basis of his endless energy. Cody Bellinger on name alone may end up being part of the fan selection, even as his production has been uneven and slowed down by injuries.


Designated Hitter


The Lock: Shohei Ohtani

The Hopeful: Marcell Ozuna

The Wild Card: Kyle Schwarber

While the first two months of the season may have given a case for Marcell Ozuna to give Ohtani a run for his money, the past six weeks have rendered this debate moot. In any case, Ohtani may be the easiest All-Star selection of them all, with him leading the league in runs, homers, average, OPS, total bases, and several other categories. Even though he will not be able to pitch and hit like in years prior, he should still be the biggest attraction. Ozuna at least bests the Japanese phenom in RBI and overall has been a force in the Atlanta lineup and will earn a deserved third All-Star appearance. Getting closer with his usual June explosion, Kyle Schwarber would be worth a look in any other year, but the other sluggers manning the DH spot have clearly relegated him.


Starting Pitcher


The Locks: Ranger Suárez, Tyler Glasnow, Zack Wheeler

The Hopefuls: Shota Imanaga, Logan Webb, Sonny Gray

The Wild Cards: Cristopher Sánchez, Paul Skenes, Max Fried

The story of Ranger Suárez is certainly special, as the lefty will probably go from zero All-Star selections over his first six seasons to probably starting the game next month. The case for him is simple, as he has been both durable and elite during his 15 starts, leading the NL with 10 wins and a microscopic 1.75 ERA. Despite pedestrian strikeout totals, his ability to limit homers and walks has produced a memorable season. Joining him in the conversation, Zack Wheeler has solidified his role as Philadelphia’s co-ace following a contract extension, striking out almost ten batters per nine innings en route to nine wins and a 2.73 ERA. In a somewhat stunning development, this would be only his second career appearance in the Midsummer classic. Finally, Tyler Glasnow has been all the Dodgers could have hoped for, even erasing some of his durability concerns by leading the NL in innings pitched and strikeouts. While his Phillies peers are probably a step ahead overall, he would still be a worthy starter.

In a year where offense has cratered, there are many cases to be made for pitchers in the second tier. Shota Imanaga was probably in line to start before a couple of disaster outings took him out of the running. Logan Webb has been more solid than spectacular for the Giants, while his home/road splits suggest that there is something off for the Cy Young runner-up. The best of the bunch may be Sonny Gray, as he continues to overpower hitters with finesse and extremely high baseball IQ, but his overall numbers may be a step behind.

If there is at least an intriguing option that would be exciting to the baseball world, Paul Skenes deserves a mention here. The rookie has been nothing short of impressive, with 61 strikeouts over his first eight starts with a 2.14 ERA. Even as he doesn’t have the rate stats to qualify, he is clearly special and could serve as Pittsburgh’s representative. Sanchez and Fried have excelled in the NL East and should become weapons in the playoffs, but their total production is bound to leave them as backups for this time.


Relief Pitcher


The Locks: Ryan Helsley, Robert Suarez, Kyle Finnegan

The Hopefuls: Matt Strahm, Tyler Rogers, Paul Sewald

The Wild Cards: Jeff Hoffman, Fernando Cruz, Reed Garrett

In terms of a traditional shutdown closer, Ryan Helsley has provided all St. Louis could ask. After blowing his first save opportunity of the season, he has converted the next 25 in a row, sporting a 2.45 ERA and helping the Cardinals back into playoff contention. Once the All-Star game gets deep, he should be getting the call in a tight spot. A similar case can be made for Robert Suarez, who has climbed to the top of San Diego’s bullpen chart on the strength of 19 saves and a minuscule 1.16 ERA. He has arguably been the NL’s most dominant reliever, with his first All-Star nod secure. As a surprise, and probably Washington’s token selection, Kyle Finnegan should also hear his name called, with 21 saves and a solid 2.30 ERA to pad his resume.

The rest of the bullpen, if needed, would also be full of dominant relievers in their own way. Matt Strahm and Jeff Hoffman have served as elite set-up men in the Philly bullpen, while Paul Sewald has overcome his early-season injuries and playoff yips to again rise atop the closer leaderboards. Tyler Rogers has been a workhorse for the Giants, issuing only one unintentional walk for the year. Cruz and Garrett have also been important for playoff contenders, and should also gather some consideration from Torey Lovullo and his staff.

Pablo Figueroa

Pablo Figueroa is a Baseball Writer here at Pitcher List, with experience as a writer since 2013. He lives in Aguascalientes, Mexico - proud home of Los Rieleros. When he´s not thinking about baseball , he's a husband, owns two dogs, watches random episodes of The Sopranos , plays padel, and works on his day job to pay the bills.

One response to “NL All-Star Tiers”

  1. Brendan says:

    Castellanos has been terrible. Zero shot

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