Is there anything better than summer baseball? MLB The Show 22’s new featured program puts the spotlight on the All-Stars Of The Franchise–an all-in-one revision of 2021’s Team Affinity Season 3 that highlights modern legends (Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera), new blood (Shane McClanahan), absolute wildcards (David Bednar, Tony Gonsolin), and the rest of this year’s All-Star selections.
The 2022 All-Star Program features 30 new bosses (one from each team), a mess of retro uniforms and themed choice packs (Always Intense, Takashi Okazaki), and another long list of flashbacks–such as 2018 2nd Half Blake Snell, 2011 Silver Slugger Justin Upton, 2019 All-Star Nolan Arenado, and 2019 Monthly Awards Yoan Moncada. There’s also a David Ortiz Program, a new Moonshot Week Event, store packs with 99 Home Run Derby Juan Soto and 99 All-Star Game MVP Giancarlo Stanton, an All-Star Other Program featuring 2022 All-Star Miguel Cabrera and Topps Now Jasson Dominguez, and two conquest maps with gear designed by artists Sket One and King Saladeen.
The cherry on top is a 2022 All-Star Jackie Robinson to earn through collections, so here’s a primer on the best All-Star Game and Home Run Derby cards to add to your team before the 99s arrive.
Aaron Judge (CF) – New York Yankees
Yankees All-Star Aaron Judge.
Future Yankee or not, Judge has been destroying baseballs. The 6’7 titan hit .284/.364/.618 with 33 home runs, 14 doubles, and eight stolen bases in 89 total games this year–his best offensive run (statistically) since his Rookie Of The Year tear in 2017. He’s an All-Star regular at this point and it’s no surprise as Judge’s move to CF is paired with 118/115 power, active quirks like Dead Red and Breaking Ball Hitter, and a glove that goes diamond everywhere (95 fielding) at Parallel Five.
Andres Gimenez (2B) – Cleveland Guardians
Guardians All-Star Andres Gimenez.
The former Mets prospect arrived in Cleveland last year as a result of the Francisco Lindor trade and despite an inconsistent 2021 season, he has become one of the Guardians best-kept secrets. In just three months, Gimenez has upped his power (10 HR, 43 RBI) and barrel rate (8.2%) and has grown into more of a fastball hitter who turns web gems into art. His All-Star card could use Bomber, but the high contact splits and max attributes for fielding, speed, and arm are elite at second base.
Bryce Harper (RF) – Philadelphia Phillies
Phillies All-Star Bryce Harper.
Bryce Harper’s swing is “daddy”. The two-time National League MVP (2015, 2021) hit .318 with 15 home runs and 48 RBIs in 64 games before suffering a fractured left thumb (June 25th), and his All-Star nod plays to his primary strength: being a full-on demon for righty pitchers. His max hitting stats at Parallel Five (115/111, 105/87) are a small step below his previous Awards cards, but they come with Live Series quirks such as Dead Red, Unfazed, Rally Monkey, and First Pitch Hitter.
Dansby Swanson (SS) – Atlanta Braves
Braves All-Star Dansby Swanson.
The Braves’ resident Hot Boy has been doing Hot Boy things all season long–including an offensive uproar in May that produced a .305 BA, five home runs, 17 RBIs, six stolen bases, and hits in 13 of 14 games to end the month. His All-Star card is a “supercharged” take on his Monthly Awards nod, but Swanson carries a big stick with an even smoother swing. He’s a doubles machine with versatility as parallels can unlock quirks like Speedster and a diamond fielding badge at second base (and third).
Jorge Lopez (CP) – Baltimore Orioles
Orioles All-Star Jorge Lopez.
The Baltimore Orioles entered the 2022 MLB All-Star Week with 46 wins and with one of the best bullpens in the majors–all because Jorge Lopez is that dude. The starter was DFA’d by Kansas City in 2020 and despite some struggles (6.21 ERA in 2020-21), “El Pichu” pitched his way into the O’s closer role, notching 17 saves with a 1.62 ERA in 40 appearances so far this season. His mix makes hitters fold thanks to 99 break (and a curve) but his primary sinker hums with Outlier I and 90+ control.
Juan Soto (RF) – Washington Nationals
Nationals All-Star Juan Soto.
Juan Soto is the most dangerous hitter in baseball. The MLB leader in walks (79) finished an unusual first half (.250/.405/.497) before turning down a $440 million contract and hitting 53 home runs at Dodger Stadium to win his first Home Run Derby–all at the age of 23. His 2022 All-Star version is a welcome addition to right field, but his first 99 overall swaps out defense for the new Derby Champ archetype: 105+ contact, 92 vision, 125 clutch, and 125 power against both righties and lefties.
Julio Rodriguez (CF) – Seattle Mariners
Mariners All-Star Julio Rodriguez.
Blink and you might miss Julio Rodriguez. The Dominican-born 21-year-old has already started the AL Rookie Of The Year conversation thanks to his immeasurable pop (16 HR, 52 RBIs) and speed (21 SB), and an 81 homer-performance at the Derby in his All-Star debut. His HRD card lives by power, but his 2022 AS version gets the edge as he’s a 6’4″ outfielder with 99 speed, 108 contact and 114 power against lefties, and 89 fielding that gets a diamond rating in center field at Parallel One.
Justin Verlander (SP) – Houston Astros
Astros All-Star Justin Verlander.
Despite missing all of 2021 due to Tommy John surgery, the 39-year-old Verlander is already on his way to a third Cy Young Award (2011, 2019) thanks to a 12-3 record, 1.89 ERA, and 108 Ks. His All-Star card is all dad vibes, but his 109 H/9 has a higher ceiling than most and is fueled by 90 control, 100 BB/9, and 92+ break on his first four pitches (fastball, slider, curve, changeup). Mr. Upton’s 88 velocity can also be paralleled up to 93 as a nod to last year’s beloved Milestone No Hitter.
Manny Machado (3B) – San Diego Padres
Padres All-Star Manny Machado.
With “El Niño” Tatis Jr. rehabbing a broken wrist, Manny Machado has balled out in his 11th season–putting up a .303/.377/.513 slash line with 15 home runs, 51 RBIs, 19 doubles, and seven stolen bases for the Padres. The best part? His 2022 All-Star series rakes. Machado’s splits counter pre-existing pitching metas and Unfazed, Situational Hitter, and Breaking Ball Hitter quirks increase his value at third base (and shortstop). His speed could benefit from parallels, but his 97 arm is a never-ending dream.
Martin Perez (SP) – Texas Rangers
Rangers All-Star Martin Perez.
The Rangers ace known as “El Del La Matas” (The One from Matas) finished the month of May with a 0.64 ERA, 33 strikeouts, and a 1.4 WAR, becoming just the fourth American League pitcher in the last 33 seasons to put up a similar ERA or lower in 40 innings pitched. Two of the other four? Legends Pedro Martinez (2002) and Johan Santana (2004). Perez is control-first (109 BB/9) and while his K/9 is prone to foul balls, three of his main pitches have 92 break and it’s not the cutter with a 97 rating.
Ryan Helsley (CP) – St. Louis Cardinals
Cardinals All-Star Ryan Helsley.
There’s really no debating it: Ryan Helsley throws absolute gas. The Tahlequah, OK-born reliever has made hitters bend the knee in his fourth year with St. Louis, posting a 0.69 ERA with eight saves and 57 strikeouts in 39 innings. Helsley ripped off two K’s in his brief appearance at the All-Star Game–becoming just the second pitcher to throw 103 MPH in the Midsummer Classic (he did it twice)–and naturally, his All-Star Series card adds heat with Outlier I, 119 H/9, and a hard slider with 94 break.
Sandy Alcantara (SP) – Miami Marlins
Marlins All-Star Sandy Alcantara.
Sandy Alcantara is having a “chess, not checkers”-type of season for the Marlins as the 26-year-old dominated the first half with a 9-4 record, 1.76 ERA, and 123 strikeouts in a league-leading 138.1 innings of work. His 74 K/9 stat deserves better, but it’s directly tied to 111 H/9, 112 stamina, and a five-pitch mix that always ricochets between a primary circle-change and a four-seam with Outlier II. Alcantara’s sinker? It has 92 control and 97 break and hits max stats at Parallel Two. Chess stuff.
Shohei Ohtani (SP) – Los Angeles Angels
Angels All-Star Shohei Ohtani.
Ohtani-san’s numbers are still absurd. His offensive output (19 HR, 56 RBIs, 10 SB) is matched by a 9-4 record and a 2.38 ERA with 123 strikeouts in 87 innings (as of July 21st)–a torrid pace defined by personal goals (150 innings) that would make him just the 14th player ever to win back-to-back MVP awards. Shohei’s All-Star card has pop (and Dead Red), but it balances low H/9 and BB/9 stats with 99 break, a distracting splitter, and 93 velocity that can be paralleled to add bite to his fastball.
Willson Contreras (C) – Chicago Cubs
Cubs All-Star Willson Contreras.
Willson Contreras deserves his flowers. The lifelong Cubs catcher earned his third All-Star nom with 13 home runs, 17 doubles, and a .821 OPS, and joined his brother, Atlanta Braves’ William Contreras, as the first siblings to play in the same Midsummer Classic in 20 years. Willy’s debut diamond card is a Salvador Perez clone with 90/82 and 112/125 hitting splits, but it’s also a Top 5 backstop in MLB The Show 22 due to the 93 arm, 65 speed, outfield versatility, and Catcher Pop Time quirk.