These 6 underrated players deserve MLB All-Star consideration

Here are Yahoo Sports' and's picks for the players you might not have realized have earned a trip to the All-Star Game

The story below is a collaboration between writers from and Yahoo Sports, who are joining forces this season to cover topics from around baseball.

Phase 2 of 2024 All-Star Game balloting got underway Sunday, with fans able to vote among the finalists at each position until the ballot closes on Wednesday.

But even once the starters are set, there will be much work to do to fill out the rosters — pitchers and backup position players — for the July 16 Midsummer Classic at the Rangers’ Globe Life Field. Some of those picks are obvious, but if you look beyond the biggest names and gaudiest stats, there are some excellent All-Star candidates who might not be as well known to a lot of baseball fans.

Below, we asked six writers to each pick one such candidate, totaling three from the American League and three from the National League. None will start the All-Star Game, but each has a stronger claim than you might think to be part of the event. (Stats below are through Sunday's games.)

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Ramos was an MLB Pipeline preseason Top 100 prospect for four straight years: No. 81 in 2021, No. 65 in '20, No. 92 in '19 and No. 63 in '18.

Now, in 2024, he’s playing like an All-Star. Since his first game of the season May 8, no NL outfielder has more WAR, per FanGraphs, than Ramos’ 2.0. The only qualified NL outfielder with a higher wRC+ in that span than his 149 is Fernando Tatis Jr. (150), who is up for a starter spot but currently on the injured list.

Development isn’t always linear. Baseball is so hard. But stories like this are why it’s the best.

There was a time not too long ago when the Red Sox's offense started and finished with Rafael Devers. But with the emergence of leadoff hitter and catalyst Duran, those days are no more. Duran is having a breakout year for Boston, on pace for career highs in every offensive category and leading the majors in triples. He has been one of the more electric players in baseball and has the Red Sox in the middle of the AL wild-card race.

He plays for a team that is nearly 30 games below .500, so he’s not exactly on most baseball fans’ radars. But McMahon is ranked second among NL third basemen in hits (83), home runs (14, tied with Jeimer Candelario), runs scored (44), batting average (.270), on-base percentage (.349), OPS (.812), OPS+ (124) and fWAR (2.1), and he's third in RBI (42) and slugging percentage (.463). (Lest you’re tempted to raise the Coors objection, McMahon has more extra-base hits and nearly an identical OPS on the road as at home.)

According to Statcast, McMahon is tied with Oneil Cruz for 10th in the majors in hard-hit rate, at 53.3%. Defensively, he ranks in the top five among third basemen with 3 Outs Above Average.

Every team needs at least one All-Star, yet it’s undeniably bizarre that the defending champion Rangers, who will host the darn thing, are the team with the haziest Summer Classic situation. Postseason hero Corey Seager would be the obvious selection, but he's hurt and has underwhelmed thus far in 2024. So have Adolis García, Nathaniel Lowe and Marcus Semien. Fill-in third baseman Josh Smith has been a revelation — he’s the only Ranger with an OPS over .800 — but things are quite crowded for AL third basemen.

That leaves Gray and a pair of veteran relievers enjoying stellar first halves in David Robertson and Kirby Yates. Gray is my pick. In 76 1/3 innings, he has posted a sturdy 3.77 ERA (3.32 FIP). The peripherals and strikeout numbers aren’t particularly encouraging, but he has kept runs off the board (two of his past three outings notwithstanding). Gray is looking good for an under-the-radar, sleeper selection.

Voters are choosing between Luis Arraez and Ketel Marte, but in the realm of NL second basemen, second to Marte's league-leading 3.5 fWAR is actually Turang's 2.5. The 24-year-old is quietly showing off his potential as a true contact hitter, offsetting a generally light-hitting profile with the fifth-lowest qualifying whiff rate in baseball. For a guy without much power to speak of, his .292/.354/.417 line is nothing to sneeze at, and he has stolen 28 bases on top of that, the second-most in baseball behind Elly De La Cruz.

Given that the Brewers are probably best described as "greater than the sum of their parts," if they can be afforded only one All-Star, Turang has as strong an argument to be Milwaukee's guy as any of his teammates.

If not for Mason Miller emerging as one of the most dominant closers in baseball, I’d make a strong argument for Bleday to be Oakland’s lone All-Star representative next month. The fourth overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft by Miami, Bleday showed little sign of blossoming into the star-level talent many projected him to be over his first couple of big-league seasons.

But since arriving in Oakland via trade this past winter, he has looked every bit the cornerstone outfield bat he was supposed to be. He ranks in the top 10 among qualified AL hitters in both wRC+ and fWAR, and while his offensive stats aren’t quite as gaudy as those of teammate Brent Rooker, I’d lean Bleday among A’s All-Star candidates considering his added defensive value.

It’s one thing for Bleday to be hitting like an All-Star, but for him to have also improved his outfield chops enough to be Oakland’s every-day center fielder is no small feat. With Bleday still just 26 years old, it seems that Oakland has found a reliable offensive piece to build around for the long haul.