3 Reds players on-pace to be All-Stars in 2023 through 30 games

Cincinnati Reds reliever Alexis Diaz
Cincinnati Reds reliever Alexis Diaz / Andy Lyons/GettyImages
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The Cincinnati Reds are now 30 games into the 2023 season and have been more exciting than most fans had anticipated. While there've been some hiccups along the way, this team has been fun to watch.

Before the season began, the list of potential All-Stars was pretty low. Outside of Joey Votto and Wil Myers, no one on the roster had ever been invited to the Midsummer Classic. But a few players are making an early-season case to be rewarded for their efforts so far this season.

There's still a little more than a month before fans begin to cast their votes, so a lot can happen between now and then. But as it stands right now, which three Reds players are most likely to be named to the NL All-Star team in 2023?

1. Reds RHP Alexis Diaz is on-pace to be an All-Star in 2023.

Alexis Diaz is the best weapon that David Bell has in the bullpen. After a successful rookie campaign in 2022, Diaz has stepped up his game so far this season and is arguably more dominant than he was a year ago.

Diaz's performance has not been without its flaws. There've been occasions when the 26-year-old has looked a bit erratic, but most of those mistakes have come during non-save situations. That's no to say that Diaz can't perform outside that scenario, but when his team has the lead and he's entering during the ninth inning, it's been lights out.

While the strikeout numbers are nice, it's the walk-rate that has been much more impressive in Year 2 for the right-handed reliever. Diaz was walking far too many batters in 2022 (12.9-percent), but has really turned a corner this season.

Alexis Diaz, according to FanGraphs, owns a 5.9-percent walk-rate and a 50-percent K/BB%. That's virtually unheard of. Add to it a 0.17 FIP, and the Cincinnati Reds have one of the best relief pitchers in the National League. If he gets enough save opportunities, Diaz could be headed to the All-Star Game in 2023.

2. Reds RHP Graham Ashcraft is on-pace to be an All-Star in 2023.

Before the season, both Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo were jockeying for position to be named the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day starter. Greene was given the nod and also signed a six-year contract extension.

Lodolo, who's status as a former first-round draft combined with lanky 6-foot-6 frame and left-handed delivery have made him a darling among the baseball pundits and experts.

But when it comes to being flat-out filthy, Graham Ashcraft takes the cake. The right-hander has been Cincinnati's best starting pitcher this season and it still feels as though he's not getting enough credit for his performance thus far.

One thing that Ashcraft does is pitch to contact. Most viewers want to see 10-plus strikeouts and 100-plus mph fastballs, but that's not Ashcraft's game. The former sixth-round pick works quickly and relies on his defense to help him out. Ashcraft, according o FanGraphs, owns a ground ball-rate of 56.1-percent.

While Lodolo has been plagued by his 25.8-percent HR/FB-rate and Greene has been hampered by extended innings that result in short outings, Ashcraft has kept the ball in the ballpark and has gone six or more innings in almost every single start this season. Ashcraft is on track to make it to the Midsummer Classic in 2023 if he keeps pitching like this.

3. Reds 2B Jonathan India is on-pace to be an All-Star in 2023.

You could make a strong case that Nick Senzel deserves this spot over Jonathan India, but let's see if the former first-round pick can maintain his hot streak beyond just one week before we go jumping on the bandwagon.

India, however, looks like the player he was two years ago when he took home NL Rookie of the Year honors. After an injury-plagued season that saw the University of Florida alum attempt change himself into a power-hitter, India has returned to the speedy leadoff hitter than the Reds need him to be.

There's concerns over India's defense at second base, as the 26-year-old has -3 defensive runs saved and -1 outs above average this season, but he's making the routine plays at the keystone and has a higher fielding percentage than the past two seasons combined. India may never be an elite fielder at second base, but he can impact the game in so many other ways.

One of which is his speed on the base paths. India already has more stolen bases this season than he did all of last year and he's only been thrown out once. By the way, that call should have been overturned.

Jonathan India has cut down on his strikeouts, bumped up his walk-rate, and just looks more comfortable this season. India will have plenty of competition for a starting spot in the All-Star Game with the likes of Luis Arraez, Jeff McNeil, and Ozzie Albies also playing second base, but he's more than up for the competition.

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