It seemingly happens every year — a blue-chip prospect gets called up to the majors in the first half of the season, does extremely well and then generates a good deal of conversation as to whether or not he should make the All-Star team.
The most notable recent example of this was Stephen Strasburg two years ago. He made his major league debut on June 8 — only about a month before the Midsummer Classic. He struck out 32 batters in his first three starts and carried a 2.32 ERA into the All-Star break. But, perhaps owing to his lack of service time, he was not selected.
This year, several rookies have impressed just as much as Strasburg, but with a month more of service time. They have legitimate chances to be invited to go to Kansas City next month. Two of them just so happen to be playing at Fenway Park this weekend.
The first is Boston third baseman Will Middlebrooks, whom Baseball America ranked as the 51st-best prospect in baseball prior to this season. Called up on May 2 to replace the injured Kevin Youkilis, Middlebrooks went on a tear from the get-go and hasn't let up since. He's currently hitting .310 with six home runs and 22 RBIs and has forced manager Bobby Valentine to get creative in finding ways to keep his bat in the lineup.
The second is Washington outfielder Bryce Harper, and, really, what more can be said about the 19-year-old phenom that hasn't already been said? All he's done since making his debut on April 28 is hit .282 with six home runs and 17 RBIs. Again, he's only 19.
Both have valid arguments to be selected as an All-Star — but who do you think has the stronger case?
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