Three Yankees takeaways: Aaron Judge, Juan Soto and All-Star Game possibilities



MLB All-Star Game voting begins Wednesday at noon.

So now is a good time to start thinking about which New York Yankees players could earn selections to this year’s game, which will be played July 16 at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

Since the first All-Star Game in 1933, the Yankees have been represented by the most players (137) and total selections (441) of any organization.

Here are our leaders for possible Yankees All-Stars, understanding that so much could change between now and when the voting ends on June 27.

The better question might be: Which one will lead the American League vote total?

Judge and Soto have simply been among the two best players in the game. Going into Sunday, Judge’s 3.9 fWAR and Soto’s 3.6 fWAR were first and third in baseball, with Kansas City Royals shortstop Bobby Witt between them at 3.7 fWAR. Then Judge went 2-for-3 and walked twice and Soto had three hits in five at-bats, including two homers, in a 7-5 win over the San Fransisco Giants on the road.

Among outfielders, only the Houston Astros’ Kyle Tucker (3.2 fWAR) has been even close to the Yankees’ dynamic duo. Judge and Soto would essentially have to crater in June for either to lose his presumed spot. Both players have heard “M-V-P” chants in the Bronx.

For Judge, it would be his sixth All-Star appearance. For Soto, it would be No. 4.

The last time the Yankees had multiple starting outfielders in an All-Star Game was in 2021, when Judge was in right field and Giancarlo Stanton was in left.

It’s hard to rank who would be the better pick out of these three.

Holmes’ save Sunday gave him 17 on the season, the second most in the AL behind the Cleveland Guardians’ Emmanuel Clase. But relievers can be volatile, especially contact-oriented sinkerballers. Though, if voting ended Sunday, Holmes, who didn’t give up a run over his first 20 games and has a 1.37 ERA, would lock up his second career selection.

Though Witt and the Baltimore Orioles’ Gunnar Henderson (3.4 fWAR) have had incredible seasons, Volpe can make an easy argument that he deserves to be the third shortstop in the AL. His 2.7 fWAR is the third most in the league among shortstops, well ahead of the Texas Rangers’ Corey Seager at 1.7. Manager Aaron Boone came out of spring training repeating that he believed Volpe was a much-improved player from his rookie season, and Boone appears to be right. The most noticeable difference for Volpe has been cutting his strikeouts from 27.8 percent last season to 20.5 percent going into Sunday. His 11 steals were also third among AL shortstops.

Gil would be in the conversation to start this year’s game for the AL. The 25-year-old rookie’s 1.99 ERA was the third best among league starting pitchers, behind the Royals’ Seth Lugo (1.72) and the Boston Red Sox’s Tanner Houck (1.85). He has racked up 79 strikeouts in just 63 1/3 innings, good enough for an 11.23 strikeouts per nine innings rate — the third best in the AL. The only knock against Gil has been his control. His 31 walks were the most among AL starters entering Sunday.

The question: Will the Yankees allow him to continue starting deep into the season as his workload builds after missing virtually all of last season because of Tommy John surgery?

Did you know that, as of Sunday night, Weaver (2.78 ERA, 21 games) had 39 strikeouts, the fourth most among AL relievers? His 35 2/3 innings were the most innings pitched by a non-starting pitcher in the AL, too. The problem: Few non-closer relievers wind up making All-Star teams. Just ask Michael King in 2022.

The Yankees’ rotation has been dominant. Their starters have a combined 2.78 ERA, the best in the AL, with the Royals well behind in second place at 3.10. It helps that Stroman’s 2.73 ERA is the 10th best in the AL and Rodón’s 3.09 is No. 13. Either of them could go on a run and insert himself higher in the All-Star conversation.

Clarke Schmidt (5-3, 2.52 ERA, 11 starts) might have had a chance if not for a right lat strain that landed him on the IL on May 27. He might not be back until August.

(Photo of Aaron Judge and Juan Soto celebrating a home run: Darren Yamashita / USA Today)





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