Despite the lack of African-American players, MLB’s All-Star rosters reflect an incomparable diversity in a game where young, people of color -- foreign-born stars -- comprise a large portion of the 25 first-time All-Stars and 21 foreign-born All-Stars representing seven countries and territories throughout the globe.
In addition, there are 21 foreign-born players on the All-Star rosters (14 AL, 7 NL), including players from Venezuela (7), Puerto Rico (5), the Dominican Republic (3), Cuba (2), Curaҫao (2), Canada (1) and South Korea (1). Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo is the first Korean-born position player, and just the third Korean player overall to make an All-Star team, joining pitchers Chan Ho Park (2001) and Byung-Hyun Kim (2002). Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies is just the fifth player from Curaҫao to be selected to the Midsummer Classic, joining fellow 2018 All-Star Kenley Jansen (also 2016-17), Andruw Jones (2000, 2002-03, 2005-06) and Jair Jurrjens (2011).
While they only comprise less than 8 percent of the overall MLB rosters, six African-American players were chosen by the fans as All-Stars, which comprises about 13 percent of the All-star rosters as of Monday.
Mookie Betts, OF, Boston Red Sox:
100 career home runs for Mookie Betts! via @MLB https://t.co/CnYsIrnLIb
Betts is making a serious MVP run this season. The BoSox Gold Glover leads baseball in batting average (.342), is tied for sixth in homers (22), second in runs scored (72) and first in OPS (1.105). The five-tool stud is making his third All-Star appearance and continues to stake his claim as best all-around player in the game.
In 2016, Mookie should have been the first African-American player to win an American League MVP award since Ken Griffey Jr. in 1997, but Mike Trout had the voters' sympathy and Betts finished second. Yes, it’s been two whole decades since a brother got MVP props in the American League. MLB hasn’t had a black MVP for both leagues in the same season since 1995 when Barry Larkin took the NL MVP and slugger Mo Vaughn won it for Boston.
Matt Kemp, OF, LA Dodgers:
Who do you think pimped the homer more, Matt Kemp or Yasiel Puig? https://t.co/8uydHnOhX3
Since 2011, when Kemp finished second in the NL MVP voting his career has been a roller coaster of All-star caliber seasons and injury plagued drop-offs. That season Kemp became a bonafide MLB star and a leading Black Knight in the game. He played 161 games and led the National League in runs scored (115), total bases (353), OPS+ (171), WAR (7.8), home runs (39), and runs batted in (126). He was black excellence personified as he became the first player to finish in the top two in both home runs and steals since Hank Aaron in 1963.
Kemp is back with the Dodgers, the squad he spent the first nine years of his career with, and he’s blasting balls, staying healthy and making his first All-Star appearance since 2012. The best part about it is that the fans have acknowledged his success and his popularity is on the rise again.
George Springer, OF, Houston Astros:
George Springer: "One, it's a huge honor to go (to the All-Star Game) in general, but to have your own staff, your own blood there, is cool." #Astros https://t.co/3mJjINoCr7
Springer continues to be the catalyst for a World Champion Houston Astros squad that is 3.5 games up on Seattle in the AL West and looks headed to another World Series. On a team full of MVP-caliber players and young studs, Springer was the most impactful player in November.
“...when the smoke cleared and the Houston Astros secured its first franchise title by defeating the Dodgers 5-1 in Game 7 on Wednesday night, Black Knight George Springer had risen above the pack and embraced the moment to capture the Willie Mays MVP Award, rightly named after the greatest center fielder of all-time and an African-American baseball king."
George Springer is your World Series MVP!
Michael Brantley, OF, Cleveland Indians:
Michael Brantley just killed an Astro's fan. https://t.co/pVmtDbbrj1
The most deserving selection of this 89th Midsummer Classic is Cleveland Indians outfielder Michael Brantley. Three years ago he was considered among the elite MLB performers, then mysterious injuries and bad luck threw a major wrench in his rise. Some wondered if he’d ever be the same again.
After playing just 11 games in 2016 and missing out on Cleveland's World Series run, Brantley rebounded and made the 2017 MLB All-Star squad, before being limited to just 90 games. This season, he has already played 77 games and his health problems seem to be behind him. Brantley is one of the exciting players to watch in the game when he's at 100 percent. He has some old school flair to his hitting approach and is among baseball’s supreme Black Knights.
Lorenzo Cain, OF, Milwaukee Brewers:
Congratulations to Lorenzo Cain on being named to his second all-star team! #ThisIsMyCrew
Cain built his name and reputation as a late-blooming MLB star who roamed center field and was the heart and soul of Kansas City’s World Series squad in 2015. Cain’s skill-set is also a throwback in nature. He’s a .290-300 hitter who has 10-15 homer pop, runs like a gazelle, plays world class defense in the outfield and has added a championship pedigree and spark to a Milwaukee Brewers team that is battling the Cubs for first place in the NL Central division.
Aaron Judge, OF, NY Yankees:
AARON JUDGE TO DEAD CENTER https://t.co/EQBzV8N79W
What more can be said about the second-year Yankees superstar, who as a rookie shattered the Major League record for first-year homers, hitting 52 and put on a historic show at the MLB Home Run Derby? Judge smashed Justin Bour's Cinderella dreams with a barrage of moonshots that left the crowd in awe and accelerated his overnight rise to MLB icon.
This season Judge continues to do damage. He’s among the league leaders in homers with 25 and is a driving force behind the Yankees winning 58 games so far in a formidable AL East.