ESPN's early MLB All-Star predictions feature honor for Dodger long overdue

Los Angeles Dodgers v Philadelphia Phillies
Los Angeles Dodgers v Philadelphia Phillies / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

While it's technically still too early to be talking about the 2023 MLB All-Star Game and rosters for the showdown in Seattle, the contest is somehow just about a month away. Feels like yesterday the stars descended on Dodger Stadium. Time flies when you're dominating the NL West.

Since voting is underway, that means Dodgers fans have the ability to make themselves heard and lead the charge to make standouts like JD Martinez, Mookie Betts, and Will Smith starters in the Midsummer Classic.

Martinez has been on an otherwordly surge, and it's hard to envision an All-Star Game without Betts as long as he's at the peak of his powers. Smith could potentially be the Dodgers' most deserving star this season, though -- especially considering he's never received the honor. Yes, even with very few star catchers in the game today, perhaps the preeminent catcher on the preeminent team has never made an All-Star roster. So let's change that, in case MLB flubs it again?

ESPN's way-too-early All-Star roster, which dropped this week, believes Smith is a lock, but that doesn't mean you can rest on your laurels. Per the Worldwide Leader's projections, Smith will be one of five Dodgers on the roster, but won't be a starter; that would be Sean Murphy of the Braves instead. On the flip side, Betts, Martinez and Max Muncy are all currently projected starters, with Clayton Kershaw joining the pitching staff.

Dodgers 2023 All-Star predictions include Will Smith

Come on, fans. Do your thing. Get Big Willie Style behind the dish.

Smith has made himself essential to the 2023 All-Star roster. He's dominating at a position of scarcity. He won't be squeezed out by a required All-Star from an inferior team, the same way Rangers backstop Jonah Heim seems likely to fall victim to Royals star Salvador Perez. It seems unlikely this pursuit goes south -- and it had better not.

If a 145 OPS+, .300 average, .400 OBP and nearly 10 bombs aren't enough for you, how about doing it for the purposes of the narrative? Smith has been an almost-unmatched catcher since his 2019 debut, in terms of both consistency and pop. Murphy? Yeah, he's been similarly fantastic. And he, uh, also hasn't made an All-Star team, somehow. But considering they're both having roughly equivalent seasons, it would be nice to see Dodgers fans step up and stamp out an NL rival in the voting process.

Having five All-Stars isn't cool. You know what's cool? Having four All-Star starters.