Phillies dominate MLB Insider's early All-Star Game picks

The Phillies should be heavily represented at this year's All-Star Game.
New York Mets v Philadelphia Phillies
New York Mets v Philadelphia Phillies / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

Balloting for this year's MLB All-Star Game in Texas has begun, so strap in for several weeks of debates about who should go, who should start, and who couldn't possibly be snubbed.

Jim Bowden, formerly general manager of the Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals, has been a noted MLB insider at The Athletic for years, and he feels strongly that the Philadelphia Phillies will be heavily represented at this year's Midsummer Classic.

Phillies dominate MLB Insider's early All-Star Game picks

Bowden recently put together an entire roster for both leagues (subscription required). While he ended up landing on the Los Angeles Dodgers as the National League leader with six selections, the Phillies are well-represented with five players.

Bowden believes that not only are the Phillies deserving to send a pair of corner infielders to this year's game, but to have them start for the National League.

Bryce Harper, currently leading NL first basemen in RBI and slugging percentage, makes a pretty open-and-shut case. This would be the eighth career All-Star appearance for the Phillies' future Hall of Famer.

Meanwhile, Alec Bohm is making a compelling argument as he eyes his first career All-Star appearance, leading all NL third basemen in RBI and doubles. Bohm has struggled a bit recently, but he isn't facing very heavy competition at the hot corner, so he stands an excellent chance of booking a trip to Arlington next month.

Behind the dish, Bowden makes a bit of a surprising selection by including J.T. Realmuto as a reserve. William Contreras of the Brewers and Will Smith of the Dodgers are mortal locks at this position barring injury, likely leaving just one backstop position available.

Bowden confidently gives the spot to Realmuto, who is having a solid offensive season and also ranks favorably in NL catcher defensive metrics as well. It would be the fourth career All-Star selection for Realmuto, who continues to build his case for Cooperstown.

Two Phillies pitchers should get All-Star invitations this year

On the pitching side of things, Bowden believes that the Phillies have a pair of slam dunks on their staff.

Workhorse Zack Wheeler is his pick as the National League starter, owing to the fact that he leads the league in innings pitched and ranks in the top four in both ERA and strikeouts. Wheeler is well positioned to make his second All-Star appearance, and he would become the first Phillies pitcher to start the game since Roy Halladay in 2011 if Bowden's pick comes to fruition.

Would-be first-timer Ranger Suárez is unsurprisingly the Phillies' other All-Star hurler, according to Bowden. Suárez actually leads all NL starting pitchers in WAR at the moment, and he also leads the league in ERA and wins.

It's been a two-month jump to stardom for Suárez, who is in serious contention for the Cy Young even as experts around the league wait to see if he can sustain this level or if it's just been smoke and mirrors. With a career ERA of 3.17, it may be time for people to realize that Ranger is here to stay.

Add it all up, and Bowden thinks that five Phils are ticketed for the Midsummer Classic, which would mark the first time since 2011 and the sixth time in franchise history that the Phillies would send a quintet of representatives. It seems only fitting that the team has a heavy All-Star presence in the midst of such a great year on the field.