The National League All Star reserves for both position players and pitchers seemed to do justice.
When the American League All Star reserves were announced, there were a few head-scratchers. It was rectified when there were injuries, but it is good to know one league got it correct. The NL All Star reserves and pitchers did the league justice, but let’s take a look at the right calls and the wrong calls.
The NL All-Star roster is loaded. pic.twitter.com/z6WNi7uF6x
— MLB (@MLB) June 30, 2019
The Easy Pitching Selections
Examining the pitchers first, it is clear that the NL pitchers were selected with good care. Max Scherzer is having another Max Scherzer year, and he gets his seventh consecutive appearance in the All Star game. Zack Greinke has also earned his sixth All Star appearance and he is really having a throwback year. He has an ERA of 2.90 and his ERA+ is 154. Greinke seems to be throwing it back to 2015 in certain aspects of his game, especially limiting base runners.
Hyun Jin-Ryu and Kirby Yates are also among the easy selections to the All Star game. Ryu is having a year to remember with a 1.83 ERA through 103 innings pitched. His FIP suggests that regression is due, being that it is a full run higher at 2.88. However, Ryu is limiting the traffic on the bases with his walk rate being under one per nine innings of work. Kirby Yates leads the NL in saves and is having a powerhouse year at the back end of the bullpen for the San Diego Padres. He has a 1.27 ERA across 35.1 innings and has only given up one home run. He is deserving of this selection.
The Questionable Pitcher
Looking at this list there is only one name that jumps out — Sandy Alcantara. Alcantara is selected as the only player to represent the woeful Miami Marlins, which is a rule of the All Star game. Even still, he has had a good season, just not an All Star worthy performance. He has an ERA of 3.82 across 101.1 innings and his FIP of 4.62 suggests he has not pitched as well as his ERA. Alcantara does not have the swing and miss stuff, considering his K/9 is sitting at 6.2. He is also allowing a lot of traffic on the bases with a WHIP of 1.401, and everything just points to him as not deserving of the selection. The rule does not make sense, but that is an argument for a different day.
The Easy Position Player Selections
There are a lot of deserving players who did get the nod, but a few stand out more than the rest. The first is Anthony Rendon. He has to be one of the better third basemen in the game — especially the last three years. This is his first All Star selection, but he has quietly put together three very good years that could have netted him All Star consideration. He is hitting .310/.395/.627 at the time of writing this and has hit 20 home runs. Rendon is on pace to pass his career high in home runs of 25, as he sits at 20 before the break. He is due to be a free agent this year, and he is putting up a pretty good year before that happens.
The second player to mention is Yasmani Grandal. If you remember correctly, the past couple of free agent markets have not been kind to middle tier players. Grandal took a one year contract with the Brewers as a “prove it” contract, and he is showing everyone what he can do. The 30 year old is hitting .256/.374/.511, all of which are career highs. He has an OPS+ of 126 and has brought 18 home runs to an offensively starved position. Grandal is deserving to be the back up on this years’s team.
Two Breakout Young Guns
The final two names to note are two first basemen that have put on a show this year. Josh Bell of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Pete Alonso of the New York Mets have had break out seasons. Josh Bell is hitting .306/.377/.654 and is leading the league in doubles and RBIs. He has also hit 26 home runs which is 4th in the NL. He finally has lived up to the hype at 26 years old. Pete Alonso, on the other hand has burst onto the scene as a 24 year old rookie. He has hit .278/.372/.623 in his 86 games. The first baseman has 28 home runs, which puts him just above Josh Bell at 3rd. Alonso is also 6th in OPS, and 3rd in bWAR for position players. Between these two, it should make for a fun game and fun for years to come in the NL.
The Questionable Position Player
David Dahl of the Colorado Rockies is the only player one could really question on this list. The All Star game selections are generally offensive driven, and he has only done well in two categories — triples and his slash line of .317/.362/.910. He is also 5th in caught stealing, and it just does not point to a guy who should be on an All Star team. This isn’t has egregious as the Sandy Alcantara inclusion, but there are other players who have put up seasons that could merit taking David Dahl’s slot in the All Star game. He is a young guy at 25 years old, and he should have many very productive years. This is not the year for Dahl to be named an All Star
The NL All Star reserves and starters were selected with less debate than that of the AL. As always, there are stand out performances that get recognized, and there are snubs. In any case, this year’s All Star game will be very entertaining. It will showcase a lot of young and upcoming stars that Major League Baseball has to offer.
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