Pitching is not a position the fans vote on. Obviously. But I wanted to write about players it would be reasonable to expect to see in the All Star Game.
First is a list of the pitchers who are most deserving:
Adam Wainwright – 11-5 2.22 ERA 2.67 xFIP WAR: 4.3
Matt Harvey – 7-1 2.00 ERA 2.64 xFIP WAR: 4.2
Cliff Lee – 9-2 2.59 ERA 3.08 xFIP WAR: 3.5
Clayton Kershaw – 6-5 2.08 ERA 3.16 xFIP WAR: 3.1
Derek Holland – 6-4 3.14 ERA 3.44 xFIP WAR: 3.4
Max Scherzer – 12-0 3.10 ERA 2.78 xFIP WAR: 3.4
Feliz Hernandez – 8-4 2.70 ERA 2.50 xFIP WAR: 3.3
Chris Sale – 5-7 2.79 ERA 2.98 xFIP WAR: 3.1
Players who may make it, and have decent enough numbers
Mat Latos – 7-2 3.03 ERA 3.32 xFIP WAR: 2.7
Jordan Zimmerman – 11-3 2.28 ERA 3.42 xFIP WAR: 2.5
Partick Corbin – 9-0 2.22 ERA 3.72 WAR: 2.3
Yu Darvish – 8-3 2.78 ERA 2.65 xFIP WAR: 3.0
Clay Buchholz – 9-0 1.71 ERA 3.22 xFIP WAR: 2.9
Justin Verlander – 8-5 3.77 ERA 3.41 xFIP WAR: 2.9
Expect Scherzer and Harvey to start. Scherzer has that amazing record, and even though records are overrated, advanced stats defend him too as the best pitcher in the AL this year. Scherzer has been one of the most underrated pitchers in the AL for years and deserves the national attention. It’ll also be national audiences chance to see him to that terrifying neck jerk he does when he delivers his pitch.
As much as I would love to see Wainwright start, it’s in New York, the All Star Game is a chance to give young and hot players exposure, and Harvey is as statistically deserving. So expect him to start.
A look at the Cardinals pitchers
Wainwright – A Given. He is definitely in and could possibly start. He is arguably the best pitcher in baseball this year. And even though I expect Harvey to start, and would start him myself, Wainwright would be my Cy Young winner for the first half of the season.
Shelby Miller – 8-6 2.79 ERA 3.23 xFIP WAR: 2.2 REASONABLE EXPECTATION. As a fan, you want Miller in there. As an objective fan, it makes sense for you to expect him to play. He’s a young star who is expected to keep getting better, much like Harvey. He will be there again someday. He, like Harvey, is the future of Major League pitching. Certain pitchers, like say Jhoulys Chacin of The Rockies (7-3 3.59 ERA) are pitching over their heads. It makes sense to default to the young stars who represent the future in times like this.
Jake Westbrook – 4-3 2.96 ERA 4.52 xFIP WAR: 0.4 NO EXPECTATIONS. Too few innings pitched; stuff not good enough to compensate.
Lance Lynn – 10-2 3.52 3.89 xFIP WAR: 2.0 REASONABLE EXPECTATIONS. Good record for the traditionalist. Pretty good WAR for the stats crowd. ERA a little high and may kill his chances, but there is a good chance Lynn could make the team.
Joe Kelly – 0-3 3.86 ERA 3.81 xFIP WAR: -0.1. NOT GONNA HAPPEN
A look at the Royals pitchers
James Shields – 3-6 2.99 ERA 3.54 xFIP WAR: 2.4 REASONABLE EXPECTATIONS. Forget his record, Shields deserves it. Good ERA and a high WAR, it’s not his fault he has a weak offense behind him. If you want to win the game, you pick Shields to pitch.
Ervin Santana – 5-5 2.84 ERA 3.51 xFIP WAR: 1.7 SLIGHT EXPECTATIONS. Santana has been better than expected, but probably not All Star caliber.
Jeremy Guthrie– 7-6 4.76 ERA 4.47 xFIP WAR -0.5 NOPE
Wade Davis – Wade Davis – 4-6 5.55 ERA xFIP 4.12 WAR: 0.9 NO
Luis Mendoza – 2-4 4.16 ERA 4.36 xFIP WAR: 0.7. NO AGAIN
In conclusion, seeing your favorite players is important, but seeing the best players is more important. But along with seeing the best players and your hometown players, there’s another category, which is “players most likely to help you win”. You would think that would be the same as best players, but not necessarily. The World Series is not often won by the best teams in the regular season, but that rather the team just happens to get hot into the post-season. So if you want to win the All Star Game, doesn’t the same apply? So say an average player like Darwin Barney hits over .400 for July. Why not put him in the game? If he’s hot, he will help you win. Who cares what a player did in April to inflate his stats but has been cold in the last month and a half.
And should Yasiel Puig start? I would say absolutely. Puig’s slash so far since coming up is .436/.467/.713. Is that sustainable? Of course not. Is it a small sample size? Yes
But more than that, it’s just that he hasn’t been figured out yet. He will get figured out someday and his numbers will regress. But until then, why not take advantage of him and use him to win the AS Game. Since Selig made the game count, you have to adapt to that mentality. And with that said, here is my list of All Star position players you need to pick if you honestly want to win that game.
That’s my list. Hope everyone enjoys the game!