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Witt, Salvy, Lugo and Ragans Earn All-Star Nods



KANSAS CITY, Mo. ( – The Royals are sending four players to the 2024 All-Star Game — and three of them are going for the first time.

Catcher Salvador Perez, shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. and starters Seth Lugo and Cole Ragans were all named to the American League All-Star roster, announced Sunday afternoon on MLB Network.

It’s the first time since 2016 that the Royals have four All-Star representatives, and Ragans and Lugo are the first Royals pitchers to be named to an All-Star Game since Jason Vargas in 2017.

This marks the first time in franchise history that the Royals will have two All-Star starting pitchers in the same season.

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Witt, Lugo and Ragans are all first-time All-Stars, while Perez is heading to his ninth Midsummer Classic. The All-Star Game is set for July 16 (8 p.m. ET, FOX) at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

“It feels like the first one,” Perez said. “I’m excited.”

The Royals’ veteran catcher and fourth captain in team history knocked his 1,500th career hit on Sunday against the Rockies after hitting his 250th career homer earlier this season. He and George Brett, who was a 13-time All-Star, are the only two players in Royals history to reach both of those milestones.

“Salvy’s doing what he does, adding another one to his list,” Witt said. “Hearing the names [of who] he has more All-Star Games than, it’s special. Adding to his Hall of Fame career. It’s really special to be able to have my first one with those guys and teammates.”

The four found out in a team meeting held Sunday morning in the visitors’ clubhouse at Coors Field as manager Matt Quatraro rattled off the accolades and accomplishments of all four players.

“It was really cool,” Quatraro said. “Truthfully, I get pretty emotional doing that. They’re not taking it for granted, but I also don’t take that opportunity to stand in front of that team and be able to present that for granted. It’s really special.”

For Witt, his first All-Star Game will be a special homecoming after growing up in Colleyville, Texas, just 30 minutes north of Globe Life Field. His dad, Bobby Witt, was drafted by the Rangers and pitched in Texas for 11 seasons of his 16-year career.

Now “Junior,” as his teammates and family call him, is a budding superstar shortstop and face of the Royals’ franchise. Fresh off a contract extension this offseason that makes him a Royal for at least the next seven years, Witt entered Sunday’s series finale against the Rockies slashing .320/.369/.555 with 14 home runs, 25 doubles and 58 RBIs. His 4.9 WAR, according to Baseball Reference, ranks fourth among all Major League position players. He has a 5.4 WAR over on Fangraphs, which ranks third in baseball.

“I was going home no matter what, but now it just makes it more special,” Witt said. “I don’t really have a lot of words to describe it. It’ll be one of those moments that’s going to last a lifetime.

“You play this game to win a World Series, but the All-Star Game is one of those things, too, that it’s just so special to be a part of it and represent Kansas City and the Royals.”

Witt and Perez were finalists to be starters for the American League but lost the fan vote to Orioles duo Gunnar Henderson and Adley Rutschman, respectively, so they were expected to be on the AL roster and were voted in by their peers on the player ballot.

Lugo, too, was virtually a lock to be an All-Star, earning his first trip in his ninth Major League season. In just his second season as a full-time starter, following years of pitching in relief for the Mets, Lugo leads the American League with a 2.21 ERA and 11 wins this year across 19 starts. He ranks first in innings (122) in baseball and has dominated hitters nearly every time he steps on the mound, logging a quality start in all but four starts this season.

“Coming up, I didn’t think I would be here at this stage of my career,” Lugo said. “It’s not the journey I thought I was going to be on. I knew younger in my career that I could sustain some stuff, I could play later in my life. Age wasn’t going to be an issue. Little bit of perseverance and determination, it’s a good feeling.”

He’s been everything the Royals have wanted and more when they signed him this offseason, a leader on and off the mound. Now, he’s not only an All-Star for the first time but in the running to start for Bruce Bochy’s AL squad.

“Yeah, sure,” Lugo said of potentially starting on July 16. “There are only two starters every year for an All-Star Game. That’d be really special to be that guy.”

Ragans was the one player who wasn’t completely expecting the selection, evidenced by the fact that he’ll have his wife bring his suit to Boston next weekend before they head to Texas. But the 26-year-old lefty whom the Royals acquired from the Rangers last year is just as deserving, with his 3.28 ERA that ranks 19th in baseball and 134 strikeouts that ranks third.

Like Witt heading home, Ragans will be heading back to the ballpark he made his big league debut at when he was a member of the Rangers.

“Representing the Royals at this is special,” Ragans said. “It’s cool that I have a lot of memories on that mound. My first Opening Day, my first big league start, my first big league win. It’s pretty cool. Of all places for my first one to be, it just happens to be back [at the place where] I stepped on a big league mound for the first time. It’s full circle.”