Thursday, November 30 2023

MLB’s All-Star Game is a month from Tuesday and this week began with the first update of fan voting.

The fans select the nine starters in each league during a two-phase voting process.

The players’ ballot, in conjunction with the commissioner’s office, selects the reserves and pitchers. There are 32 spots on each roster with 20 dedicated to position players and 12 to pitchers.

The first wave of results did not produce any Phillies:

Catcher: Sean Murphy (Braves)

First base: Freddie Freeman (Dodgers)

Second base: Luis Arraez (Marlins)

Third base: Nolan Arenado (Cardinals)

Shortstop: Orlando Arcia (Braves)

Outfield: Ronald Acuña Jr. (Braves), Mookie Betts (Dodgers), Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (Diamondbacks)

Designated hitter: J.D. Martinez (Dodgers)

The Phillies’ top candidate to start would probably be Nick Castellanos, who has hit .312 this season with 30 extra-base hits. He had 40 last season. The only two players in the majors with as high a batting average and at least as many extra-base hits as Castellanos are Acuña and Freeman.


You can’t argue with Acuña and Betts as starting outfielders. Gurriel, who has started to fade a bit, has similar numbers to Castellanos.

Strange as it may sound, Trea Turner could still find himself in the All-Star Game if he surges over the next two to three weeks. The class of National League shortstops has been shockingly unproductive through June 12. Francisco Lindor is hitting .216 with a .711 OPS. Xander Bogaerts has slumped since May 1 and has his lowest batting average and OPS since his first full season in 2014. Dansby Swanson‘s offensive numbers are pedestrian.

Previously light-hitting Orlando Arcia leads the fan vote at shortstop. He’s been terrific for the Braves, batting .325/.381/.474 after entering the year a .243/.296/.369 career hitter. He’s well-exceeded expectations offensively and it’s made the deepest lineup in the National League even deeper.

Turner is hitting just .248/.290/.396 with 15 doubles, two triples, seven homers and 20 RBI in a league-leading 270 at-bats. He might finally be turning it on, though. He’s hit .417 over the last week with a double, two homers, four RBI and seven runs scored. His rate of hard-hit balls has increased dramatically in the month of June and he’s swinging and missing less than he has all season.


“I feel good,” Turner said after Sunday’s 7-3 Phillies win over the Dodgers. “When I do something wrong, I kind of know immediately and can fix it quickly. I’m hitting the ball hard and finding some holes.

“I’ve said it for a while, when mechanics are good, you can let the ball travel a bit, you can make better decisions, hit the ball harder and use the whole field. Just a lot of positives when your swing is right. I found that little hiccup in there, fixed that, and since then it’s been really good.”

The Phillies’ only other potential candidate to start might be Bryce Harper, who missed the first month of the season but is in a relatively thin group of designated hitters. Jorge Soler, who has 14 homers since May 4, has the best numbers of the bunch.

Jose Alvarado is the Phillies’ likeliest pitcher, as of now. He has a 1.10 ERA and 0.86 WHIP in 16 appearances with 28 strikeouts and three walks. Like Harper, he missed a month. From a practical sense, Alvarado is one of the best relievers in the league and maybe the top left-handed reliever, so he would be deserving of a spot unless he falls off over the next few weeks. There’s probably no Phillie who would enjoy himself more at an All-Star Game than Alvarado.


Zack Wheeler has come on but might have had too many early stumbles to make his second All-Star Game. He has a 3.47 ERA over his last eight starts and only five NL pitchers have more strikeouts but there are simply a lot of starting pitchers who have been better: Marcus Stroman, Bryce Elder, Spencer Strider, Merrill Kelly, Clayton Kershaw, Zac Gallen, Logan Webb, Michael Wacha, Mitch Keller, Corbin Burnes.

J.T. Realmuto is one final player to consider because of his all-around value as a catcher, but Will Smith and Sean Murphy have been clearly better so it would likely require an injury.

Source: Yahoo Sports


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