CHICAGO – When the starters were announced for the 2019 MLB All-Star Game, two members of Chicago’s baseball teams got the call, both from the North Side.
On Sunday, four other players got the nod as reserves, with the majority this time coming from the South Side.
First baseman Jose Abreu, pitcher Lucas Giolito, and catcher James McCann were all selected to the American League roster for the midsummer classic on Tuesday, July 9th at Progressive Field in Cleveland.
Kris Bryant was the other Cubs’ player to make the roster. He joins starting catcher Willson Contreras and shortstop Javier Baez on the National League team.
Two of the players have been in this position before, with Abreu and Bryant each playing in their third All-Star Game. The White Sox first baseman was elected the starter for the 2018 game while also getting a reserve selection in his rookie year of 2014. In 2019, Abreu has 60 RBI – third-highest in the American League – while hitting .268 with 19 homers with a slugging percentage of .508.
As for Bryant, he’s bounced back from a difficult 2018 season where he was hampered by a shoulder injury, as his .298/.398/.537 slash line is more reminiscent of his first three seasons with the Cubs. The third baseman has followed up a strong month of May (.333 average, ten homers, 22 RBI) with a .292 average in June with three homers and six RBI.
Giolito and McCann are new to the contest, having each enjoyed surprise breakout seasons with the White Sox in 2019. The starting pitcher’s turnaround has been one of the best in all of baseball, as Giolito shook off a miserable 2018 season (10-13, 6.13 ERA) to post an MLB-high 11 wins so far this season compared to two losses.
He was named the American League Pitcher of the Month for May and had a nine-game winning streak that spanned three different months. His 2.72 ERA is half of what he was giving up last season and could make him a candidate to start the All-Star Game for the American League.
Signed in the offseason after a 2018 season in Detroit in which he batted .220 with a WAR of -0.5, McCann has found new life with the White Sox. Not only has he helped a pitcher like Giolito find his groove, but his .319 average at the plate is easily the best of his career to date, and his nine homers and 28 RBI have him on pace for personal bests in both categories.