Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez has been stomping toward this honor since he signed as a 16-year-old prodigy from Venezuela. He promised his mother then that if he didn't make it to the big leagues, he would return to school. She wanted him to be an astronaut.

Instead, he has continued playing baseball like he's from another planet, making his first all-star team Sunday. Gonzalez was selected by the players as a reserve. He also accepted National League captain Matt Kemp's invitation to participate in the Home Run Derby.

"This is going to be fun. I am going to enjoy it. I will have around 15 members of my family there," said Gonzalez, his smile widening as he spoke. "My teammates are really happy for me. That's what matters most."

In a forgettable season for the team, Gonzalez has been a wrecking ball. He's hitting .337 with a .394 on-base percentage. He has 17 home runs and 58 RBIs.

"He hasn't gone in a slump. He steals bases. He's hitting lefties just as well as righties. It's hard to pick out one thing," outfielder Michael Cuddyer said.

"It bothers me that people think he's just (a product of Coors Field)," Cuddyer added. "If a guy can hit, he can hit. Nobody says that about guys in Cincinnati, about guys in Philly, about guys in Boston, about guys in Chicago (AL), about guys in Toronto. Those are all tremendous places to hit. You hear guys say that about CarGo, those are guys that don't watch him play every day."