The All-Star break has arrived, and a typical stellar array of the game's greats is gathered in Cincinnati for Tuesday night's contest. Some of my earliest, most vivid memories of baseball are from All-Star Games past; to me, the 1971 game that featured six home runs from six future Hall of Famers, including Reggie Jackson's blast off the transformer in center field atop Tiger Stadium, seems as if it occurred just yesterday.
Each All-Star Game has its own unique cast of characters. Some players are perennial All-Stars, while others are having their singular moment in the sun thanks to an aberrant first half, exuberant fan voting, being the top candidate on their team (because each team must have a representative), injuries at their position, you name it.
Today, I'll rank every 2015 All-Star by the relative likelihood that each player would have made it to an All-Star Game based on their respective amateur and minor league pedigrees. Throughout, I will reference my annual minor league position-player and starting-pitcher rankings, based on performance and age relative to league/level. I've been preparing these lists since 1993, and they serve as master follow lists, with the order tweaked afterward based on traditional scouting methods.
Please note I include the injured All-Stars as well.
The 'can't-miss' prospects
1. Bryce Harper: This is a slam dunk. Not only was Harper an obvious first overall draft pick at age 17 in 2010, but he raced through the minors -- he ranked No. 3 overall in my minor league rankings in 2011 -- and debuted in 2012 at the age of 19. I mean, the guy was hitting 500-foot homers at Tropicana Field in a home run-hitting contest in 2009.
2. Kris Bryant: As close to Harper's hype as you can get.