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The All-Star question

Jun 24, 2010, 6:10 PM EDT


Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
At best, Stephen Strasburg will be 4-1 when All-Star rosters are announced.

It was probably sometime in the first hour following Stephen Strasburg's second career start that I received my first email from someone wondering whether there was any chance the rookie could make the National League All-Star roster. My initial reaction: Are you nuts? Of course not!

But the movement has gained steam over the last 10 days, bolstered by Strasburg's continued dominance, and suddenly it doesn't sound like such a far-fetched idea after all. Why wouldn't Charlie Manuel want to have this guy in his bullpen to help win an exhibition game that could ensure home-field advantage for his Phillies in the World Series? And what fan wouldn't want to see Strasburg stare down Justin Morneau, Kevin Youkilis and Robinson Cano in the eighth inning of a one-run ballgame?

There are plenty of reasons why Strasburg should be an All-Star. Here, though, are more reasons why he shouldn't go to Anaheim…

1. He'll only have been in the majors for one month. Manuel must announce his reserves and pitching staff on July 4, one day after Strasburg is scheduled to make his sixth start of the season. Six starts! That's one-sixth of a full season. Yes, it's somewhat absurdRead more ยป

  1. Brian - Jun 24, 2010 at 6:16 PM

    Just put him on that fan ballot for the final roster spot and let that determine whether or not he goes

  2. Bowdenball - Jun 24, 2010 at 6:24 PM

    Brian- putting him on the fan ballot would effectively be the same as putting him on the roster. You could put him on there with Albert Pujols, Babe Ruth, Mother Theresa and Alessandra Ambrossio and he'd win.

  3. Chris Duckworth - Jun 24, 2010 at 6:29 PM

    Dontrelle Willis went to the All-Star game in his rookie year, after making an early May debut and a last minute All-Star team roster move.

  4. Dan - Jun 24, 2010 at 6:55 PM

    Dontrelle Willis was 9-1, 2.08 as an AS in 2003, and made the team as an injury replacement.

  5. Anonymous - Jun 24, 2010 at 7:03 PM

    "Yes, it's somewhat absurd that all players are judged on only three months' worth of performance, but at least that's 50 percent of a full season."Actually, since fan balloting begins in like Week 2 of the regular season, players are really being judged in large part on their performance last season, or on their total career/reputation. It's nothing but a popularity contest, but at least with the balloting beginning so early in the season the names on the ballot are limited to players who have a body of work at that point. MLB ought to just acknowledge that fact, and declare that these are the All Stars for the period since the last game was played (i.e. second half of previous season and first half of the current one). That way it would be patently obvious that no matter how good or how popular he is, Stephen Strasburg with one month of service time has no business being on the All Star team this year.

  6. Anonymous - Jun 24, 2010 at 7:20 PM

    It is completely absurd, sure he is a good rookie with lots of potential but some guys play well for a whole CAREER and get one or two AS games, if you want to make a COMPLETE mockery of this game then sure let's add Strasburg and while your at it have Bryce Harper compete in the HR derby!

  7. raymitten - Jun 24, 2010 at 7:50 PM

    No AS appearance for SS in my opinion. I think the idea he would bump another deserving Nat from the team ends the story. The team has played much better this season due to performances from several key players, including Zim, Dunn, Hammer, Capps, Clipp, etc. They've been here all year and made a bigger difference in the improvement of the team than has SS in four starts, and 24 innings.

  8. We Need a Bat - Jun 24, 2010 at 8:10 PM

    I'm in the camp of keeping SS out of the All-Star Game. There will be plenty of chances in the future, barring catastrophic injury. If the Nats only get one spot, it has to be Tyler Clippard.

  9. Bowdenball - Jun 24, 2010 at 8:29 PM

    We Need a Bat-Ryan Zimmerman is the defending Gold Glove and Silver Slugger winner at his position. He's third in OBP behind David Wright and Chipper Jones, and Chipper's been injured a bunch. He outslugs both of those guys and is universally considered the better defender. He's 12 among ALL NL hitters in both OBP and slugging, again all while behind generally considered the best in the league at a key defensive position. By the way, Dunn is seventh among ALL NL hitters in OPS and Willingham is eleventh. There are, I believe, 22 all star position spots, so all three fall well within that range.Clippard's been great, but there's a pile of relief pitchers with stats as good or better than his- Gregerson, Nunez, Kuo, Rhodes, Meek, Broxton, Wagner, our old buddy Joe Beimel, etc. And that's not even accounting for the fact that some of them pitch the ninth against more pinch hitters in tenser, more valuable situations and against pinch hitters and tougher matchups. You're entitled to your opinion just like anyone else, but mine is that he's fourth in line. Maybe third because of the position depth at 1B in the NL. Anything beyond that, I just can't understand.

  10. joemktg - Jun 24, 2010 at 8:56 PM

    Mark: where would the All Star game fit in relative to the every-5-day start sequence? It was my impression that the club has mapped out a strict 5 day rotation, so I have to think that if the All Star game does not fit into this sequence, then it's a non-starter.

  11. LoveDaNats - Jun 24, 2010 at 10:04 PM

    Couldn't SS "just say no" to an all star invitation?

  12. We Need A Bat - Jun 24, 2010 at 10:40 PM

    Everybody's entitled to their opinion, of course. I'd be perfectly happy to see Zimm go, and despite the fact I wouldn't give him credit for last year's Silver Slugger and Gold Glove, I agree with much of what you wrote. I just think he's hurt himself by hitting .239 and slugging .352 in June on a team that has been dreadful offensively for most of the month.Tyler has been overworked all year, maintaining a 1.53 ERA and a WHIP under 1. He has 8 wins as a reliever. He's been particularly good in June, having to be used in almost every pressure situation in which the Nats got a W. Come to think of it, that was true when they were winning, too.When I think of having Brian Bruney or Ron Villone, or heck even Tyler Walker or Sean Burnett (even though they're pitching better lately) in all those tight jams, I shudder to think what our record would be.I agree, I don't think Dunn is a consideration due to numbers at 1B, and I guess that's your point about Tyler Clippard and numbers at reliever.To me, it's: (1) Clippard, (2) Zimmerman, (3) Hammer, (4) Dunn, (5) Strasburg. Just my $0.02. I've been wrong before ….

  13. Anonymous - Jun 24, 2010 at 10:51 PM

    Let me play devil's advocate(for the record its completely absurd were even discussing this), wouldn't it spark everyone's interest in the game to see how he would play against the likes of Pedroia and Aroid?

  14. Cwj - Jun 24, 2010 at 11:38 PM

    My take: Strasburg's W-L record shouldn't be considered. Nor should any other pitcher's. W and L are meaningless in determining a pitcher's worth. ERA, K/IP, BB/IP, K/BB, and WHIP of course.Still, I don't think Stras should get the nod over Clippard. Clip has been AMAZING this year and even going back to last year.

  15. Cwj - Jun 24, 2010 at 11:53 PM

    Clippard's last 17 games: 9 holds, 1 sv, 1 win. 18.1 IP, 10H, 1ER, 1BB, 23K…those are Strasburg like numbers (if SS were a reliever) :)

  16. Green Armadillo - Jun 25, 2010 at 12:38 AM

    "2. He can't be the Nationals' lone representative. "Says who? Not the fans, who aren't voting in any of those you listed, or the other potentials (Livan, Willingham). The player ballot? Perhaps someone gets in that way, but the bottom line is that it is almost certain that half a dozen deserving guys from this Nats club alone won't make the team. Strasburg isn't yet the best pitcher in the league, but he doesn't have to be. There are a dozen slots for pitchers on the roster. There is absolutely no way that there are a dozen pitchers in the National League that the general public would rather see over Strasburg. For that reason alone, I'd say that it's more likely than not to happen.

  17. K.D. - Jun 25, 2010 at 1:19 AM

    Manuel is an old school, by the book, earn your way baseball man. I can't see him inviting Strasburg to join the AS pitching staff. There are plenty of talented NL pitchers to choose from. Now next year, that is a distinct possibility.

  18. alm1000 - Jun 25, 2010 at 1:34 AM

    No way he goes – #2 the fact that he would likely bump another Nats is the best reason. That would create resentment, even if unstated at the time. We don't need that problem and Stephen is right – he doesn't deserve it. Its an honor to be earned based on performance – not stuff. He has maybe the best stuff in the games but hasn't played enough yet.

  19. rogieshan - Jun 25, 2010 at 2:44 AM

    alm1000: <"No way he goes…That would create resentment…">There already is resentment. Our bats go silent when he's pitching.The All-Star game is now one big infomercial. If there's enough push from fans, Selig will consider it, maybe not this year. A rookie exemption can't be far off.

  20. Steve M. - Jun 25, 2010 at 3:03 AM

    Definitely not in the initial group. If a pitcher drops out, then the door is open for Charlie Manuel.As a Nats fan, I want to see several Nats chosen. My concern is that Manuel could choose 1 Nat and that may be Strasburg which would keep any other worthy Nat off of the roster.

  21. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_for_Me - Jun 25, 2010 at 3:17 AM

    No. It would count against the Scott Boras-ordered innings cap. Rather he pitches the extra two innings for us, not some exhibition.What's Brian Bruney doing the third week of July?

  22. A DC Wonk - Jun 25, 2010 at 3:41 AM

    "the Scott Boras-ordered innings cap"Huh? Perhaps I'm unaware?My understanding is that the Sabermatic stat-heads have figured out a pretty strong correlation between too many innings pitched and a young arm and subsequent injury. (Didn't most of the the young pitchers on, was it the '08 TB Rays, suffer injuries soon after? Another team?) — and that they've figured out how many innings is too many (something like increase by 20 innings year-by-year or something)?I dunno. But we've all seen incredible young talents pitch a lot of innings and get arm trouble too soon. I'd rather be safe than sorry and still have Strasburg be as effective in five years as he is now, even if it means shutting him down in Sept. We're probably not in the playoffs this year.(Of course, Livo is an exception to all rules regarding innings thrown ;-) )

  23. Anonymous - Jun 25, 2010 at 8:56 AM

    I still don't understand why a short period of time in the Majors should be a consideration of all-star worth. Even if SS went 0-20 AFTER the all-star game….SO WHAT? A player should be picked on his record NOW, BEFORE the all-star game. Being in the Majors for a short period of time doesn't take away from his talent TO DATE, or lessen his statistics TO DATE! All this nonsense about only being in the Majors for a couple of months is not credible. His record is.

  24. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 25, 2010 at 12:48 PM

    To rogieshan and the "resentment" comment….The team must REALLY be resentful of J.D. Martin. They only got 3 hits for him but 6 hits for Stephen….

  25. natsfan1a - Jun 25, 2010 at 1:01 PM

    Good points, Mark, and I'm also in the "eh, not so much" camp for sending SS this year. I'd rather see the nod go to someone who has played (and performed) in the bigs for more than a month or two.

  26. STRASBURG IS A WASHINGTON NATIONAL - Jun 25, 2010 at 1:13 PM

    The All Star vote has never been fair from the "fan perspective". It is usually a popularity contest or a joke in some cases like William Hung. Placido Polanco as the starter at 3rd base? Yah, real fair.So, Stephen Strasburg right now is one of the Top 5 pitchers in the National League at this point in time and if Charlie Manuel wants a scoreless inning, wouldn't he want Strasburg to get him home field advantage in the World Series?

  27. natsfan1a - Jun 25, 2010 at 1:27 PM

    How about Enrico Pallazzo behind the dish? :-)—It is usually a popularity contest or a joke in some cases like William Hung. Placido Polanco as the starter at 3rd base? Yah, real fair.

  28. Pete - Jun 25, 2010 at 1:32 PM

    http://cheezburger.com/View/3673673472

  29. Bonnie Jo - Jun 25, 2010 at 4:10 PM

    @joemktg: If the All-Star Game DOES line up with the 5 day schedule, then maybe Stras really SHOULD go. You know, routine is very important for these young guys.

  30. Mrs. Z. - Jun 25, 2010 at 4:11 PM

    Pete: you are awesome.

  31. A DC Wonk - Jun 25, 2010 at 5:17 PM

    I still don't understand why a short period of time in the Majors should be a consideration of all-star worth.Well, there's an argument to be made that lots of players can get on a hot streak, but it's not objective proof that they are all-star quality unless they can demonstrate that it's not just a lucky hot streak.Would you, e.g., argue that Michael Morse deserves a spot, since his BA is so high?(I'm not saying the two are completely analogous, but I'm sure you know what I mean)

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