The 86th MLB All-Star game is on the horizon and the voting is underway. The MLB rules require that every team is represented with at least one All-Star, so that means at least one of the Chicago Cubs will be attending the game. There is little doubt that even if it wasn’t a requirement, one of the Cubs’ players would make the team. Probably the appropriate question is who on the team is a legitimate All-Star.
Anthony Rizzo, currently third in the NL first baseman voting with 834,554 votes as of the MLB June 2nd update, puts him 232,928 away from second place Paul Goldschmidt and 546,142 behind first place Adrian Gonzalez.
Rizzo is having the best offensive year of any of the Cubs players. Rizzo is slashing .332/.449/.608 with 11 home runs, 35 runs batted in, and a career-high 10 steals. Even if Rizzo cannot catch Gonzalez or Goldschmidt before the July 2nd deadline, he stands the best chance of any of the Chicago Cubs’ players.
Kris Bryant is second in the third baseman votes with 1,079,693, but he has a lot of ground to make up against the NL’s second-leading vote getter, Matt Carpenter, who has an 894,810 vote lead over the Cubs rookie. Bryant is having a very good rookie campaign but is it as good as the Reds’ Todd Frazier?
Bryant’s .282/.389/.608, seven home runs, and 35 runs driven in over 47 games compared to .282/.356/.587, 16 homers, and 36 RBI in 55 games isn’t really that much better than Bryant. In fact, if you take away the nine homers, Bryant is the better option.
Starlin Castro, like Rizzo, is third in voting for the shortstops with 853,452. The Cardinals Jhonny Peralta and the Giants Brandon Crawford are first and second respectively in the voting. Castro is 426,259 behind Peralta for the lead.
Castro isn’t having the best of seasons at the plate, his .265 batting average, four homers, 27 RBI are all lower than Peralta’s and Crawford’s numbers.His performance at the plate isn’t all-star worthy and his play with his glove has been far from that as well.
The pitchers are selected by the managers of each league. The Cubs’ Jason Hammel is making a very strong case for being not only an all-star, but possibly the starter for the National League.
Hammel is 5-2 with a 2.76 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, and 76 K’s are very impressive; he’s looking to be the steal of the free agency right now – maybe Nelson Cruz could also be considered a steal, but for the money and the expectations, Hammel was a bargain.
Hammel’s five wins puts him four behind current NL leader Gerrit Cole with nine wins. The 2.76 ERA is great, but Cole’s 1.73 ERA is mind-boggling. Where Hammel has the advantage over Cole is WHIP. Cole has a 1.10, also very good, but not quite as up to Hammel’s. Cole has 10 more K’s over Hammel, but he’s also had one more start than Hammel.
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There are many options for starters other than just Cole and Hammel, but who will get the ball to start the game could be decided more so on the pitching schedule and who is coming off a recent outing and who may be scheduled after the break.
Either way, unless Hammel’s next few outings are really rough; there shouldn’t be too much doubt that he is deserving of the all-star honor.
Looking at the Chicago Cubs as they stand now, Rizzo, Bryant, and Hammel are the best bets to make the team, with an outside shot of Jake Arrieta if he can string a couple of strong performances before the break.