This Sunday at 1pm EST, TBS will broadcast the MLB All-Star Selection Show where both league rosters will be unveiled. While the Nationals don’t have any players that have a chance of starting via the fan vote, there are a number of players that could find themselves in Kansas City on July 10th.
There are 25 spots on the NL roster that will need to be filled after the 8 starters from the fan vote are revealed. 16 spots are determined by a “player ballot” that includes all active players, coaches and managers. These 16 spots are comprised of 5 starting pitchers, 3 relief pitchers and a backup to each of the elected starters. That leaves 9 spots for Tony La Russa to fill. Some of these spots will be used to give the bad teams their lone representative in the game.
Now that we have an understanding of how this works, I believe there are five Nats that have a legitimate chance at making the roster.
Strasburg could very well be the starter and is an obvious shoo-in. Matt Cain or R.A. Dickey could be the starter and deserve the honor, but I believe Stras will get the nod. This could be the first of many midsummer classic starts for him.
Not only does Gio have the 5th most strikeouts in the bigs, he also has an ERA under 3, a WHIP hovering around 1.00 and most impressive of all he owns the 2nd lowest BAA (batting average against) at .191. Layman’s translation of all of that baseball nerd talk is Gio’s one bad motha and will be making his 2nd appearance on an All-Star team.
Clip made his first all-star game last year as the Nats lone rep and wound up as the winning pitcher. He has been lights out for the better part of the last three seasons but has turned it up another notch since taking over as the closer — converting all 13 of his save opportunities with a 0.47 ERA.
If La Russa decides to keep the phenom off of the roster, you can bet that he will win the fan’s final vote for the 34th spot. With the amount of attention and excitement he will bring to the game, I don’t think Selig and the boys will be too happy if he’s not on the team.
Now that Pujols and Fielder are in the AL and Ryan Howard has been on the shelf all season, LaRoche is by far the second best first bagger in the NL this year. Joey Votto is one helluva player and deserves to be the starter, but believe it or not he’s trailing LaRoche in home runs and RBI’s. Freddie Freeman is the only person I could see La Russa making an argument for here. I think Adam deserves a spot.
I would love to also see Ian Desmond make the team as he’s having an outstanding season at the dish and should be getting a lot more attention for the kind of year he is having. If he keeps up this pace you are looking at 80 runs, 190 hits, 25 homers, 90 RBI’s and 16 steals. There are only a handful of shortstops that can put up numbers like that.
The bad news for Desi is Starlin Castro or Rafael Furcal will most likely get those spots. Jed Lowrie has been putting up solid numbers for the Astros so I think he will garner some attention as well. The good news is Desmond looks to be coming into his own at 26, and may be on the verge of becoming a fixture of All-Star teams of the future.