Nationals

Which Nats will be All-Stars?

Anthony Rendon has still yet to crack his first All-Star roster.

Disclaimer: Keep in mind the All-Star game means nothing if very little for the players (see Rendon, Anthony and his comments from a month ago). So please, don’t be triggered if I didn’t include your favorite player on this list. The game matters not at all. Literally not one iota. Capeesh? Capeesh. Enjoy the article.

Oh yeah, additionally all numbers listed below are through Friday night’s games, if you care to nitpick.

With the rosters for the ‘Midsummer Classic’ (how an exhibition game can be dubbed a ‘classic’ before even being played is beyond me) set to be revealed tonight on the four-letter network, I thought it’d be proper for me to give thoughts on which Nationals will ultimately win the trip-of-a-lifetime to Cleveland, Ohio. Because, for one reason or another, people care about this thing. So let’s give it a go.

Locks

Anthony Rendon, 3B: I tried Anthony. I really tried to keep you off this list and save you from additional media interaction that we know you hate. Sorry man, you’re just too damn good.

Everyone’s favorite baseball player might be the MVP of the National League at this point if you imagine a Christian Yelich-less and Cody Bellinger-less world that doesn’t exist. Regardless, it’s been a stellar all-around season for the Rice product, who has stellar counting stats (17 HRs, 55 RBI) despite an IL stint as well as a great slash-line (.302/.393/.605 is nothing to scoff at). Put him up against fellow NL 3B and his case is even stronger. 1st in Slugging, 1st in OPS, 1st in wOBA, 1st in wRC+ and more. With Nolan Arenado voted to start the game, Rendon’s really only competition is Kris Bryant who, I mean, MIGHT win just purely on name value and popularity among players, etc. But if they’re smart, that won’t happen. Expect to see Rendon for one or two ABs on July 9th. At least I think that’s when the game is. Don’t fact-check that.

Max Scherzer, SP: MAX. What a run he’s been on.

Do I even need to get into numbers besides those? The dude’s ridiculous. The only question might be whether he starts the game or not. With Dave Roberts managing the NL side, it’s a pretty good chance he defaults to his ace Hyun-Jin Ryu to throw the first pitch. BECAUSE EVERYONE WANTS TO SEE HYUN-JIN RYU START THE ALL-STAR GAME, OF COURSE. Even if Scherzer is superior in almost literally every meaningful stat besides the holy grail that is earned run average, he probably won’t start, especially because he’s done it before. If you care about that, expect to be disappointed. I guess.

On the Bubble

Howie Kendrick, Swiss Army Knife: Kendrick could be credited with perhaps saving the Nationals season with his play when guys like Rendon, Trea Turner, Matt Adams and Ryan Zimmerman were down and when Brian Dozier couldn’t hit the broad side of the barn.  A .333 average with 45 RBI, an OPS over .950, a wRC+ near the 150’s, and Kendrick should be heavily considered.

There’s not a lot of things I like about the Nationals Twitter account, but this was a good nugget:

Because he missed the first few weeks with a bad hammy and hasn’t exactly been an every-day starter, Howie hasn’t qualified to be on most of the leaderboards. And that’s what makes evaluating his situation particularly tough. So what we have to do is look at the NL infielders and see if we can fit a spot for him. At second base Ketel Marte will start, but no one stands out at all among Max Muncy, Mike Moustakas and others. First base is pretty loaded with Pete Alonso and Josh Bell more than deserving. And I’ve already been through third base.

Looking into my crystal ball, I’d say Kendrick probably gets slapped on one of those “Final Vote” bits and then finishes last to the tune of Nats fans complaining about “the system” even though there’s a 95% chance they didn’t vote and *whispers* The All Star game doesn’t matter. That is absolutely what’s going to happen.

Update: I’ve just been made aware that the Final Vote is not a thing anymore. I should take out that last paragraph but… I’m not going to. I have an affinity for taking jabs at myself in the third person (breaking news: I’m a Nats fan).

Juan Soto, Childish Bambino  OF: Soto got to the big leagues in late May of 2018, too late for him to make the ASG, and really arrived this year around the same time. The first month and a half were riddled with injuries and just bad play by the phenom. It was around May 17 when he found his stroke, raising his average from .228 to .302 since (!) Slashing .302/.399/.542, you’ll recognize those numbers are very similar to those of Anthony Rendon.

Where does he stack up in the National League outfield? Well, it’s complicated. With Ronald Acuna Jr., Bellinger and Yelich slated to roam the outfield, that leaves maybe three or four spots up for grabs between, in my opinion, Charlie Blackmon, Hunter Renfroe, Marcell Ozuna and… fine, Jeff McNeil. You look at the numbers, it’s clear: Soto should be a reserve. Absolutely should. But the reason I’m not taking out the sharpie and writing his name is because the Mets and Cardinals are *required* to have participants (another reason why the ASG is a travesty to the baseball society), and McNeil and Ozuna might be their best bets. You might think DeGrom’s a lock, but you run into the same issue with pitchers. So put those two in, plus Blackmon, and things get a lil’ dicey. Either way, he deserves it.

Longshots

Stephen Strasburg, SP: I love Stephen Strasburg.

Yeah, I love Stephen Strasburg.

I feel the need to say this a lot because I think Nats fans (there I go, third person again) don’t properly appreciate the pitcher he’s been for this team and what he’s done. He sometimes gets overshadowed by Max, who has the pomp and flare that few have, but at his best he can be just as good. @ me.

Anyways, me loving Stephen Strasburg isn’t going to get him to the All-Star game. It’s not because he isn’t having a great season. He certainly is. Look, 5th in WAR, 3rd in innings, 7th in FIP, 3rd in strikeouts. All fantastic numbers. Elite, I may call them. But 18th in ERA, the holy grail, doesn’t help his case. And this also goes back to the every-team-needs-one-participant bogus rule that I don’t really care to delve into anymore. I’d be surprised if Stephen made it. I hope he doesn’t, go enjoy yourself out in Cali and stay healthy. Please, for the love of all that is good. Stay healthy.

Honorable Mentions: Sean Doolittle, Trea Turner. Close but nah.

Let me know what you think. Who will be all-stars? Join the conversation @domandthunder.

 

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