CHICAGO – When Cubs’ fans look onto the field for the midsummer classic in 2019, it’s gonna look a lot like the year before.
Once again, the team has two starters on the National League team, and they are the same guys.
For a second-straight season, Javier Baez and Willson Contreras were elected by the fans to start the All-Star Game at Progressive Field in Cleveland on Tuesday, July 9th. Contreras does so at catcher with Baez starting at shortstop instead of second base as he did in Washington in 2018.
Per Jordan Bastian of MLB.com, the pair have become the first Cubs’ teammates to start back-to-back All-Star Games since Andre Dawson and Ryne Sandberg did so in 1990-1991. Contreras is the first catcher for the team to start back-to-back midsummer classics since Gabby Hartnett in 1936 and 1937. Baez is just the third player in MLB history to start an All-Star Game at second base and shortstop and is the first to do so in back-to-back seasons.
A dynamic player at the field, plate, and on the basepaths, Baez has followed up his near MVP season of 2018 with another strong campaign. He’s hit .287 with 19 homers and 52 RBI in 2019 with an on-base percentage of .326 and a slugging percentage of .548, all numbers which are on par with last season. Baez also has a .975 fielding percentage at shortstop and continues to dazzle with acrobatic plays in the field.
Contreras has responded to a poor finish to the 2018 season with a strong first half of 2019 with a slash line of .300/.395/.586 with 17 homers and 48 RBI.
Anthony Rizzo was also a finalist to start at first base for the National League but lost out to Freddie Freeman of the Braves. At third base, Kris Bryant was beat out by Nolan Arenado of the Rockies for the starting spot.
Those two players figure to have a shot to be named to the National League roster when the reserves for the game are announced on Sunday.