Back in March, MLB.com put together a preseason ranking of baseball’s best second basemen.
Missing entirely from that list?
Guardians infielder Andrés Giménez.
But on Saturday, Giménez was officially named an American League All-Star starter, filling in for the injured Jose Altuve.
In just a few short months, Giménez has climbed the pecking order, rising from relative anonymity to the toast of the American League.
Just a year ago, Giménez was bouncing between Triple-A and the majors, having failed to establish himself as an everyday starter in Cleveland.
Flash forward 365 days and it’s obvious why Giménez earned his first All-Star nod.
And when news broke that Giménez was starting the midseason game, fans were over the moon:
I don't think the baseball world truly understands how good the Guardians are going to be for the next 5 years, at least. It all began with Jose staying, but there are some potential stars on the team, now.
— Guardian Of The Jose Ramirez (@KevinGillman) July 16, 2022
Andres Gimenez when he found out he’ll be the starter at second base in the all star game pic.twitter.com/vpR65xqZ1t
— CleWest (@erjmanlasvegas) July 16, 2022
— MoreForYouCleveland (@MoreForYou_CLE) July 16, 2022
A year ago, Andrés Giménez was in Columbus trying to reinvent his swing after being sent down, a year later, he’s the starting 2nd baseman for the American League in the All Star Game#ForTheLand https://t.co/QCgBVQB67g
— Joe Collins (@joedcollins1) July 16, 2022
"Starting All-Star second basement, Andres Gimenez" sounds so right🤗
— C0RY (@c0ry024) July 16, 2022
not gonna acknowledge what my baseball team did today Andres Gimenez is an all star
— Nick (@nlck22) July 10, 2022
Andres Gimenez is headed to Los Angeles to play in the All-Star Game while Francisco Lindor will watch from home.
Trust this Front Office.#ForTheLand
— Guardians of the Land (@OurCLEGuardians) July 10, 2022
José Altuve gas withdrawn his participation from the All-Star game due to injury.
Andrés Giménez is now your starting second baseman for the ASG!!!!
— At The Corner Podcast (@AtTheCornerPod) July 16, 2022
On the season, Giménez is batting .296, the best in his position.
He’s got 75 hits in 79 games, as well.
But Giménez managed something no one else on the Guardians staff could pull off lately: consistency.
Since June 23, when the Guardians’ recent struggles began, Giménez is batting .278, with 10 RBIs, 20 hits, and three homers.
By comparison, José Ramirez is batting just .253 over the same stretch, with 24 hits 13 RBIs, and three homers.
That’s right: Giménez has been just as important and impactful over Cleveland’s last 25 games as Ramirez.
Ramirez, for his part, was likely headed for a starting position himself at the All-Star game until scuffling recently.
Had that been the case, Cleveland would have two starters in the All-Star game for the first time since 2000.
Regardless, sending three players to the All-Star game (Emmanuel Clase, Ramirez, Giménez), is a major accomplishment.
Giménez’s rise represents the best-case scenario for this Guardians team.
For starters, he came over in the infamous Francisco Lindor deal.
At the time, the trade was seen as a low point for the franchise, as Lindor was one of the best infielders in baseball.
But in Giménez, then a prospect, the Guardians got a franchise staple, someone who projects to be around for quite some time.
And it helps that Giménez made an All-Star game before the post-trade Lindor, who now suits up for the Mets.
In addition, Giménez vindicates the front office’s decision to go young this season.
This season, the Guardians have fielded the youngest team in baseball, with an average age of 26.1 for batters and 26.5 for pitchers.
Oh, and the Guardians have the third-best farm system, per Bleacher Report.
Further, the Guardians rank 28th in salary, giving them ample wiggle room to bring in an established star or veteran in free agency if need be.
Even in dark droughts like the one Cleveland is currently stuck in, there are reasons to find hope and optimism.
Sunnier days are ahead.