ESPN projects D-backs to have 1 MLB All-Star starter, 3 reserves

Jun 7, 2023, 10:14 AM

Arizona Diamondbacks Lourdes Gurriel Jr....

Lourdes Gurriel Jr #12 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrates after hitting a game tying solo home run against the Washington Nationals during the ninth inning at Chase Field on May 06, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. Diamondbacks won 8-7. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

The Arizona Diamondbacks have been one of the biggest surprises of the 2023 MLB season, jumping out to a 36-25 record.

Arizona sits in first place atop the NL West, a game up on the Los Angeles Dodgers and a half-game back of the Atlanta Braves for best in the National League.

Because of that success early on, ESPN’s staff projects heavy D-backs representation in the 2023 MLB All-Star Game.

Ace Zac Gallen was listed as the starter for the National League, while outfielders Corbin Carrol and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., plus right-handed starter Merrill Kelly, were listed as reserves.

Gallen has been one of the best pitchers in the NL with a 2.75 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 7-2 record in 13 starts. But the NL has many star starters vying for that role.

He’s yet to be named an All-Star in his career.

Carroll has not been too surprising to those familiar with the organization but has made himself an everyday name as a future face of the MLB.

The do-it-all outfielder has posted a .286/.373/.523 slash line with 10 home runs and 16 stolen bases. He’s hoping to make his first-ever All-Star appearance in his hometown of Seattle.

What an exciting young player. He has been good enough to make a strong case as the third outfield starter behind Acuna and Betts. Besides the game-changing speed and potential to hit 25 home runs, I love the rapid improvement in his approach. He had 24 K’s and eight walks in April and improved to 18 strikeouts and 15 walks in May. He’s going to be a regular at the Midsummer Classic.

Gurriel was supposed to be an add-on in the trade that brought catcher Gabriel Moreno to the Valley but should have the D-backs mulling a contract extension instead.

He has a career season going, posting a .310/.359/.550 slash line with a .909 OPS in 53 games played. He has smashed nine home runs with 35 RBIs, adding a much-needed bat as some of the younger players have struggled.

Gurriel has never made an All-Star game appearance in his career.

Alek Thomas and Jake McCarthy were supposed to join Carroll in the Arizona outfield with Gurriel as more of a DH option, but as the two sophomores struggled at the plate, Gurriel has been terrific, rediscovering the power that left him last year in Toronto.

Last but certainly not least, Kelly has had another quietly dominant year on the bump for Arizona.

The 34-year-old has shown consistent progress since coming over from Japan in 2019, but 2023 has been a career year.

The righty has posted a 2.80 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 7-3 record over 12 starts. He is holding batters to a .194 average.

Kelly is also pushing to make his first All-Star appearance.

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ESPN projects D-backs to have 1 MLB All-Star starter, 3 reserves