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2022 MLB All-Star Game: How are the starters selected?

With the starting lineups now set for the 2022 MLB All-Star game, we take a look at the process by which starters and reserves are selected

With the starting lineups now set for the 2022 MLB All-Star game, we take a look at the process by which starters and reserves are selected
Billie Weiss/Boston Red SoxGetty

Major League Baseball announced the starting lineups for the 2022 All-Star Game on Friday and there are very few surprises on offer. You might have a different preference than the starter, but for the most part, the guy who got it has a solid claim to the job.

The only exception would be Shohei Ohtani, who got the American League designated hitter spot, when there is no argument at all that Yordan Álvarez is the better designated hitter. Ohtani is an All-Star based on his all-around playing ability, and should have probably been in the pitching rotation, but the best DH in the AL is Álvarez, and by a very long way.

This serves to highlight one of the criticisms with the All-Star selection process. Starting lineups are set, not by a manager or coach, but by fan votes. This means that teams who have a large or influential fanbase can be over represented. The fans love Shohei. Who doesn’t? I actually love Shohei. But no matter how much you love him as a fan, you can’t deny that he is the second-best of the two men selected at the DH position.

With the starters set by the fans, the players themselves, along with the coaches and managers, vote for a backup for each position. If they choose a player who has also been chosen by the fan vote as the starter, then the second-place player for this category is selected.

The manager of each of the All-Star teams, who by tradition is the manager of each league’s representative team in the previous World Series, in consultation with other managers around the league and the Commissioner’s Office, will then fill up the roster to 33 players.

So we have a starting nine chosen by the fans, a backup nine chosen by the players, and fifteen players chosen by the managers. This latest step lays bare the second great criticism of the All-Star selection process. In this selection, it is ensured that every team has at least one player named to the All-Star roster.

As a final step, there is the All-Star Final Vote, where fans vote for one additional player, chosen from a list of five players compiled by the managers and Commissioner’s Office, to bring the final roster to 34 players.

Once these rosters are set, the managers and Commissioner’s Office will replace any player who become injured before the All-Star game or who decline to participate. Pitchers who start the final Sunday before the All-Star game are also replaced.

2022 will also see an unusual step taken, by which Rob Manfred will exercise his recently acquired prerogative to add legacy selections, for players who deserved special recognition, to each team. He has named both Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera to the rosters as legacy All-Stars.

Although incomplete and perhaps lacking in objectivity, the All-Star balloting system has a great advantage in that it provides a fair sample of the best players from around the league. Some are fan favorites and some are recognized by their peers, but when you are talking about All-Stars, that is really what defines the word.


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