Four Royals tapped to American League All-Star Game roster

The Kansas City Royals, one of the surprise teams in the American League for the first half of the 2024 season, had four players tapped to the AL roster for the upcoming All-Star Game. Bobby Witt Jr., Salvador Perez, Seth Lugo and Cole Ragans will be in Texas next week for the festivities.



July 8, 2024 - 2:01 PM

Bobby Witt Jr. (7) of the Kansas City Royals dives into third for an RBI triple in the fifth inning against the Cleveland Guardians at Kauffman Stadium on Sunday, June 30, 2024, in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images/TNS
Paul Skenes of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on Saturday, June 29, 2024, in Atlanta. Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images/TNS

Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Paul Skenes was picked for the All-Star Game on Sunday just eight weeks after his debut, and the major league-leading Philadelphia Phillies had a big league-high seven selections.

Skenes, who turned 22 in May, was selected by the Pirates as the top pick in last year’s amateur draft, two days before the All-Star Game in Seattle. He made his first big league start on May 11 and is 5-0 with a 2.12 ERA in 10 starts and 78 strikeouts in 59 1/3 innings. He has thrown 74 pitches of 100 mph or more.

Skenes’ final outing before the All-Star break is likely to be midweek, so he could be a possibility to start for the National League.

“That’d be cool. No expectations,” he said. “I don’t know who gets to decide that kind of thing, but that’d definitely be cool.”

Chicago Cubs pitcher Shota Imanaga joined Skenes and San Diego outfielder Jackson Merrill as the only rookie All-Stars for the July 16 game at Arlington, Texas.

Philadelphia pitchers Zack Wheeler, Ranger Suárez, Jeff Hoffman and Matt Strahm were picked to join three starting Phillies position players: first baseman Bryce Harper, shortstop Trea Turner and third baseman Alec Bohm.

Philadelphia has seven All-Stars for the first time, though Harper’s availability depends on when he returns from a hamstring strain that has sidelined him since June 27. Wheeler is lined up to pitch for the Phillies next weekend and the team told Major League Baseball he won’t be available for the All-Star Game.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have six All-Stars after pitcher Tyler Glasnow, catcher Will Smith, first baseman Freddie Freeman, outfielder Teoscar Hernández and injured shortstop Mookie Betts joined starting DH Shohei Ohtani on the NL roster.

Cleveland topped the AL with five after first baseman Josh Naylor, closer Emmanuel Clase and designated hitter David Fry joined a pair of starters: third baseman José Ramírez and outfielder Steven Kwan. San Diego also had five.

Atlanta pitcher Chris Sale earned his eighth All-Star selection, the first for the 36-year-old left-hander since seven straight from 2012-18. The gap is the longest for an All-Star since Albert Pujols earned his 11th trip for his final season in 2022, his first since 2015.

“It is definitely satisfying. I appreciate it for sure,” said Sale, acquired by Braves from Boston in December. “They took a chance and I’m happy to be able to do this for them.”

Texas closer Kirby Yates at 37 is the oldest All-Star and will be joined by second baseman Marcus Semien of the host World Series champion Rangers.

Salvador Perez (13) of the Kansas City Royals runs past Nick Fortes (4) of the Miami Marlins as he scores on a Nick Loftin single in the eight inning at Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday, June 26, 2024 in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images/TNS

Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez was picked for the ninth time, matching Houston second baseman Jose Altuve for the most among the 67 players on this year’s rosters.

Merrill at 21 is the youngest All-Star and among 32 first-time picks.

Skenes is scheduled to have one more start for Pittsburgh, and his 11 games put him on track to have the fewest for player in an All-Star Game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Detroit’s Mark Fidrych in 1976, the Dodgers’ Hideo Nomo in 1995 and Florida’s Dontrelle Willis in 2003 each had 13. (While Boston’s Don Schwall had 11 at the time of the first All-Star Game in 1961, he did not appear, and he had 15 when he pitched three innings three weeks later in that year’s second All-Star Game.)

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