Which Tampa Bay Rays deserve their first MLB All-Star Game appearance?

Minnesota Twins v Tampa Bay Rays
Minnesota Twins v Tampa Bay Rays / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

Although the Rays may be the best team in baseball, did you know that they don't have any all-stars in their starting lineup? This Rays team is very young, with the oldest player being just 33 years old.

The cool thing about the Rays is that all these guys are among the best at their respective positions. They all have a shot at starting the All-Star game.

Randy Arozarena - Outfield

This pick should be a slam dunk. Not only is Randy the face of the Rays right now, but the 2021 AL rookie of the year is raking all night, day, year, or “R.A.N.D.Y” for short. Not only is Arozarena among team leaders in many impactful offensive categories, but the young outfielder is among American league leaders at his position too. This factor makes him a compelling choice for your all-star ballot. Arozarena ranks sixth in average, sixth in home runs, and third in wRC+ (wRC+ is a statistic in which hitters are evaluated on their overall hit ability, with 100 being league average, so anything above 100 is pretty solid). What else does he have to prove?

Yandy Diaz - First Base

Every all-star ballot should have Yandy Diaz starting at first base for the American League. Although the AL has some stand-out candidates like the Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr. or the Rangers’ Nathaniel Lowe, Diaz has been the most consistent. Yandy is 1st among AL first baseman in OPS with A’s rookie, Ryan Noda, being in second place, 84 points behind. The Cuban native also leads in AVG and home runs. Since the Rays acquired Diaz from Cleveland, he has been transformed into a perennial all-star. We better see Yandy Diaz starting the All-Star Game come July.

Wander Franco - Shortstop

Coming off signing a lucrative, 11-year, $182 million contract in the 2021 offseason, Franco was looked over in 2022. Franco showed flashes of what was to come but two IL stints for two different injuries derailed his season. Fast forward to 2023, Franco is everything that Rays fans wanted. Franco leads American League shortstops in outs of above average (outs above average is a range-based metric that shows how many outs a player has saved over his other players). But his hit tool is really what scares opposing pitchers. This season, the switch hitter is slashing .303/.366/.487, good for a .853 OPS. Right now, the AL shortstop pool is a two-horse race, with Franco and the Blue Jays' Bo Bichette leading the pack. Franco and Bichette are captivating picks for your ballot, but you can’t go wrong with Wander Franco.

Josh Lowe - Outfield

Josh Lowe may be the most improved player in all of baseball this season. In 52 games in 2022, Lowe slashed .221/.284/.343 with two home runs and 66 strikeouts. Over 53 games this season, Lowe is slashing .295/.340/.546 with 11 home runs and 47 strikeouts. Over roughly the same time frame, Lowe reduced his strikeouts and refined his bat. Lowe ranks 5th in home runs and ranks 2nd in stolen bases among AL outfielders.

Many teams offer strong contenders for the American League All-Star Game roster, but many of these all-stars play for the best team in baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays.