The MLB All-Star Game is one of the great traditions the sport still holds today. Seeing some of the all-time greats play together for one night has a somewhat magical effect on any baseball fan.
When looking at the 2016 Phillies however, it may take some time to find a star worthy of representing the city in the mid-summer classic. Due to the “every franchise must be represented rule” at least one Phillie will be heading to San Diego this summer.
When looking at the Phillie’s lineup, only one player strikes me as a potential all-star in 2016. That would be Odubel Herrera. Last years Rule 5 pick has come into his own and may have placed himself in the Phillies long term rebuilding plans in the outfield.
Through 25 games this season, “El Torito” has a .327 batting average, a .438 OBP, and an OPS of .887. His batting average is ninth best in the National League, his OBP is fourth, and his OPS is 18th. Through in his 30 walks (which ranks fifth in the entire sport) and you are fairly impressive in a player that had little hype surrounding him a year ago.
After Herrera you struggle to find a hitter worthy of being selected. If his batting average was higher you could argue Makiel Franco deserves a shot at being a replacement player. The third baseman is tied on a lengthy list for eighth in the National League in home runs. Unfortunately, it will be his batting average that keeps Makiel out of the All-Star Game. His .244 hitting is fourth worst among starting National League third basemen.
On the pitchers mound we may have a different story. Unseen story Jeanmar Gomez could sneak into San Diego with his Major League leading 16 saves. He averages just over a strike out per save and has left batters swinging through air for the first two months of the season.
In the starting rotation, arguments for Aaron Nola and Vincent Velasquez can easily be made. Nola is eighth in all of baseball with 64 strikeouts, which is more than Jake Arrieta and Chris Sale. He has held batters to a .195 batting average, ninth best among qualifying major league pitchers. While a 2.95 ERA is not among the best in baseball, it is in no way shabby.
More from That Balls Outta Here
- Philadelphia Phillies bullpen could still struggle greatly in 2023 season
- Philadelphia Phillies: Most impactful transactions in 2022
- How will Rob Thomson manage the Philadelphia Phillies bullpen in 2023?
- How Phillies’ Ranger Suárez is set to build on 2022 postseason dominance
- What can Philadelphia Phillies expect from Bryson Stott in 2023?
Vince Velasquez sits in similar territory with Nola. He is tied for 13th in the entire league with 59 strikeouts. His .242 ERA is 11th best in all of baseball, which is better than Madison Bumgarner, Felix Hernandez, and Jose Fernandez. Having only one loss to his name this year and leaving hitters batting only .191 could lead Vinny to his first All-Star Game.
Finally, Hector Nerris may claw his way in. He has the second most strikeouts among all Major League relief pitchers with 33. Amongst all relief pitchers who have made 10 appearances, Nerris has the 10th best opposing batting average. He has also left National League hitters off the scoreboard, as he is third among NL relief pitchers with at least 20 appearances in ERA.
Best case scenario we could see five Phillies representing the red and white in San Diego. Due to the popularity contest the game has become, we are more likely to see two or three on a roster of 34.