It’s fair to say that All-Star Weekend in the MLB was dominated by the Home Run Derby. This isn’t always the case. Like the NBA’s Dunk Contest, the Home Run Derby can be hit or miss, and not everyone is a fan of the new(-ish) format that matches players up and uses time limits instead of seeing how many homers they could hit with 10 “outs.” But this year’s contest was a blast, headlined by the sensational performance of Yankees rookie Aaron Judge.

Following the contest, Tuesday night’s All-Star Game almost felt like an afterthought. But if you paid attention, you might have noticed that the American League pulled off its win largely thanks to the performance of a handful of Dominican stars. These are the men who defined the evening for the winning side.

Jose Ramirez

Jose Ramirez – 3B, Cleveland Indians

Ramirez is quietly having a great conventional season in one that’s being overshadowed by bigger names and bigger bats. In the AL, Judge’s rampage to 30 home runs in the first half of the season has eclipsed all other hitter headlines. But hitting for average still counts for something. Statistically, it’s still a more useful stat than home runs in determining the scale of a game’s scoring, and it’s a better measure of a player’s overall success at the plate.

Now, this is one reason Judge is such a big deal; he’s also hitting .329 at the plate. But Ramirez is at .332, good for second best in the American League, and he hit like it on Tuesday night. In a game dominated by pitchers, he gave the AL team a shred of hope by going 2-for-2 during his time on the field. No runs came of it, but the hits were probably good for morale given that they were so hard to come by.

Miguel Sano

Miguel Sano – 3B, Minnesota Twins

Sano didn’t have a bad All-Star Weekend himself. In fact, those who watched the Home Run Derby will probably recall that it was Sano who matched up against Judge in the final. That was pretty much a no-win situation the way Judge was hitting the ball, but Sano should get credit for taking down Mike Moustakas and Gary Sanchez en route to the final.

But Sano’s impact in the actual All-Star Game was even more significant, as he scored the first run of the game with a solo shot in the fifth inning (after replacing Ramirez, incidentally). For a few minutes it even seemed as if Sano’s homer might decide the game—but then the Cardinals’ Yadier Molina matched it with his own home run in the bottom of the sixth for the National League.


Robinson Cano – 2B, Seattle Mariners

It was Robinson Cano who came through as the hero. In a game that was somewhat dull from an offensive standpoint, Cano lifted the AL to victory with his own home run in the 10th inning. Indians closer Andrew Miller (an ex-Yankee, like Cano) still had to close out the National League in the bottom of the 10th, but Cano’s homer was the game winner.

It capped off a pretty big night for some of the Dominican stars on the AL team.