Online voting has now begun to select the starting lineups for the 2022 MLB All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium.
Last season, the Phillies broke a long drought by sending multiple players to the All-Star Game for the first time since 2013. This year, they have the chance to send even more players to the game, with several guys putting together worthy campaigns.
Here's a breakdown of the players most likely to represent Philadelphia at the All-Star Game in L.A.
As hard as it is to believe, the reigning NL MVP has yet to make an All-Star team since coming to the Phillies. In his defense, he surely would have made the All-Star team in 2020 had there been an All-Star team that year, and he only missed out last year because an injury sapped his production in May.
Nevertheless, here we are, four seasons into Harper's tenure with Philadelphia, and he has yet to represent the team at the Midsummer Classic. That is set to change this year. Barring some sort of catastrophe (knock on wood), Harper will be selected to his seventh career All-Star team.
Not only that, but Harper really should be the starting designated hitter for the National League. The starting lineups are chosen via fan voting, so they can be a little unpredictable, but considering both his strong play and his famous name, Harper should have no problem earning the fan vote.
If voted in, Harper would be the first Phillies player to win the fan vote since Chase Utley in 2014.
After Harper, Wheeler has the next-best shot to represent Philadelphia as an All-Star.
Despite getting off to a slow start, Wheeler has been every bit as good as he was last year, when he made his first career All-Star team.
The only argument against Wheeler is his lack of innings pitched. Because the Phillies started him off cautiously this year, and because he missed a start while on the COVID-19 IL, Wheeler has only thrown 57.1 IP, which barely qualifies him for the ERA title.
With over a month to go before the All-Star Game, Wheeler still has plenty of time to get his innings pitched total up. As with Harper, Wheeler should be a lock to make the team barring an unforeseen disaster.
If he does make the squad, Wheeler would be the first pitcher to represent the Phillies at the All-Star game in back-to-back years since Cole Hamels in 2011 and 2012.
As a pitcher, Wheeler isn't eligible to be voted in by fans, but if he keeps pitching like he has been, Manager Brian Snitker could very well tab him to start the game. Were that to happen, he would be the first Philadelphia pitcher to start the game since Roy Halladay in 2011.
By ERA, Nola ranks just fifteenth among NL starting pitchers, but by nearly every other metric, he has been one of the best in the game. Among qualified NL starters, he ranks second in innings pitched, fourth in strikeouts per nine, first in walks per nine, and first in strikeout-to-walk ratio.
He has been nearly as good as Wheeler, and in far more innings pitched too. He may need to get his ERA down a little bit if he wants a spot on the All-Star roster, but if his ERA estimator stats are any indication, Nola is certainly capable of doing so.
While his 3.25 FIP ranks thirteenth in the league, his 2.89 xFIP ranks second, as does his 2.72 SIERA. His 3.10 DRA puts him in third place, and his 2.66 xERA puts him in fourth.
Looking at his numbers this season, it doesn't exactly seem like Realmuto is having an All-Star worthy campaign. A .242 batting average and a .682 OPS are uninspiring to say the least.
However, when it comes to the All-Star Game, it is necessary to compare Realmuto to his peers and not to his past production. The average catcher this season is hitting just .218 with a .644 OPS; all of a sudden, Realmuto’s numbers don’t look so bad.
Realmuto is also an above-average defender at his position, the best baserunning catcher in baseball, and he plays far more often than any other backstop. He is one of just two NL catchers to start more than 40 games at the position, and he has caught over 50 more innings than the next-most durable catcher.
He is better than most catchers in every aspect of the game, and he plays more frequently than anyone else at his position. As a result, he ranks second among NL catchers in both FanGraphs WAR and Baseball Reference WAR. Among those who have played catcher in at least 75% of their games, he ranks first.
He probably won't be voted in as the starter (Wilson Contreras of the Cubs has that one pretty much locked down), but Realmuto's solid play this season, along with his reputation as a perennial All-Star, make him a good candidate to join the team as a reserve.
Schwarber has been hitting very well lately, but he'll have to keep it up and not go into another slump if he wants to make his second straight All-Star Game. Competition is steep in the outfield, with the likes of Mookie Betts, Juan Soto, Mike Yastrsemski, and Brandon Nimmo leading the pack.
It's highly unlikely Schwarber will be voted in as a starter given the competition, but he certainly has a shot to make the team as a reserve if he keeps hitting like he has been.
As it stands, he ranks second among NL outfielders in home runs and runs scored, fourth in RBI, sixth in OPS, and ninth in wRC+. If he can get that OPS and wRC+ up a little bit, he’ll be in a pretty good position.
Schwarber is a slow baserunner and a mediocre defender, so he needs his bat to do all the talking. That’s a tall order, but if his bat stays hot, he can buy himself a ticket to L.A. this summer.
Harper, Wheeler, Nola, Realmuto, and Schwarber are the Phillies with the best chances of making the All-Star team, but there are a few others with an outside shot.
Seranthony Domínguez has been dominant, and his numbers are up there with the best relievers in baseball. The problem is, he has a lot of competition this year, and he's hurt by the fact that he is not a closer. Without big save numbers and without an All-Star pedigree, he's likely to get overlooked.
Nick Castellanos could be All-Star worthy if he gets hot again and goes on a tear, but he's running out of time to get his numbers up to where they need to be. It's pretty unlikely that Castellanos gets an All-Star nod, but it's not out of the question — he has proven he's capable of having the kind of hot streak he would need.
Finally, Brad Hand might have a shot to make Brian Snitker’s pitching staff. While Hand has only pitched 16 innings this year, he has done so with a 1.13 ERA. If he can keep his ERA so low while pitching a little more often, he could earn his way onto the squad. His reputation as a three-time All-Star will certainly help his case.
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