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What debate? Of course Strasburg belongs in the All-Star Game

Jun 29, 2010, 3:31 PM EDT

There is no good reason to keep Strasburg out of the All-Star Game and plenty of good reasons to let him in.

Lots of people have spent a lot of time in the past few days debating whether or not Stephen Strasburg should be on the All-Star team.  I’m having a hard time getting my brain around the “no” side of the debate.

The way I see it, the All-Star Game is either (a) a pitched competition of the best players in the game that determines home field advantage in the World Series; or (b) it’s an exhibition designed to showcase the stars and thrill the fans who get to see all of baseball’s brightest lights on one stage on one night.  No matter which of those philosophies you subscribe to, Strasburg belongs, does he not?

For those who believe that the teams absolutely need to play to win, can anyone honestly tell me that there are 13 pitchers National League partisans would rather have throw one or two innings?  Ubaldo, Halladay, Josh Johnson, Jaime Garcia, Adam Wainwright, Mike Pelfrey, and a handful of relievers have an argument, I guess, but if you don’t put Strasburg in your top 13 most dominant NL pitchers this year, you’re crazy. Put differently, if I needed to pick one dude to strike someone out in order to save my children, I’d pick Strasburg for the job and so would you, and that has to count for something.

Likewise, if you believe the All-Star Game to be a mere exhibition, how can you deny him? What is more worthy of exhibition than Strasburg’s array of pitches? He has spurred ticket sales and TV ratings all year. He’s made guys on other teams drop what they’re doing in the clubhouse just to watch him pitch. I can’t imagine a single player in the National League who has generated more interest than Strasburg has this year. He’s practically designed to be at the center of a three-ring circus.

So what’s the cogent argument against his inclusion? That he hasn’t been up all season? Like that’s his fault? Even if you care about that — which I really don’t — I think he’s done enough in five starts alone to qualify for the “he had a great first half” argument, don’t you?

Besides: the Nats have to have someone in the game. Who you gonna send in his place? Matt Capps?

  1. JBerardi - Jun 29, 2010 at 10:01 PM

    Whatever. If you realy think Jared Weaver and Stephan Strasburg is a legit comp then I can’t really help you. Educate yourself about amateur and minor league baseball and get back to me.

    Also, you spend all this time worrying about small samples, but you only need five more games? WTF is that? Fine, wait for your precious five starts and see if I’m not completely right.

  2. allinSTACKme - Jun 29, 2010 at 10:05 PM

    nps6724: Very well said, could not agree more.

  3. nps6724 - Jun 29, 2010 at 10:18 PM

    Where did I say I “need 5 more games”?

  4. JBerardi - Jun 29, 2010 at 10:27 PM

    I mis-read. Doesn’t matter. Strasburg is a beast monstrous, and that’s all there is to it. Again, see if I’m wrong.

  5. nps6724 - Jun 29, 2010 at 10:36 PM

    I’m not even saying you’re wrong; it’s just way too early to say it as fact.

  6. JBerardi - Jun 29, 2010 at 10:41 PM

    It’s not to early to say it as fact. That’s what me and Craig are saying.

  7. scatterbrian - Jun 30, 2010 at 12:45 AM

    “Until teams see them and get some video (game one). Once teams make adjustments (game two), then the player has to make theirs (game three). That’s when you see how good or bad they are.” I read that as three games. Regardless of what you meant, you still haven’t given the number of starts necessary for a pitcher to win you over.
    Remember we’re talking about the All-Star game, not the Cy Young award or the Hall of Fame or anything else you’ve mentioned all throughout this post. We’re not even saying he should start the All-Star game, just that he should be on the roster. Keep in mind this is a game that requires one representative from each league, allows catchers to re-enter the game even though the rosters have expanded, regularly has multiple starting pitchers pitching for only one inning, features starting position players who are voted on by people like you and me, and somehow determines who has homefield advantage in the World Series. As voting stands today Placido Polanco is your starting 3B for the National League, ahead of a half dozen better choices. And yet you believe adding Strasburg would be the one thing that tips this whole thing into farce territory?

  8. Chris Fiorentino - Jun 30, 2010 at 7:47 AM

    The kid has a special arm, the kind that doesn’t come along very often. Just as Doc Gooden, Ben McDonald and Mark Prior had. So I think it is very dangerous to “crown his ass” so early, especially off 5 starts against some very weak competition. Of course, he can’t choose who he pitches against and he has put up some great numbers.
    Now if you want to say that the All Star game is for the fans only, then sure he should go. But for the pitchers and the extra position players, it is supposed to be a reward for who put together the best FIRST HALF, not 7 starts. Besides, there are at least 10 starting pitchers who should go ahead of Strasburg because of the first halves they have put up…and who will all have at least 10 more starts than Strasburg at the break…
    Jimenez, Josh Johnson, Halladay, Gallardo, Hudson, Wainwright, Carpenter, Garcia, Pelfrey, and Latos…not to mention guys like Lincecum, Cain, Leake, and Richard.
    While I agree that the fans would like to see Strasburg throw an inning over just about all those guys, the idea of “deserving” to be in the game also counts and I don’t see him as being “deserving” yet…not after he will only have 7 starts leading into the game.

  9. nps6724 - Jun 30, 2010 at 7:47 AM

    No, it’s not the only thing that would be a farce. For instance it’s a farce whenever someone has played sparingly for whatever reason and they are voted in, but that wasn’t the subject of the post.

    It has nothing to do with impressing me or winning me over; it’s simply about playing time. All the other pitchers that are going to make the ASG have started 15 or more games already. Unless they al start pitching a lot worse before then, almost all of them will have similar stats to Strasburg. Similar stats + more games = better and more deserving.

    No one who plays less than 50% of the 1st half should be going to the ASG unless they completely destroyed everyone in their path in their short amount of playing time. And while Strasburg pitched well, that didn’t happen.

    Simply put, through no fault of his own, he hasn’t earned it this year while others have. So let the others make the team as they should and let Strasburg go when he DOES earn it.

  10. Benny Blanco - Jun 30, 2010 at 9:10 AM

    His current stats are undeserving of an All-Star appearance. Can you really argue with that statement?
    As i mentioned earlier, no pitcher has ever or should make the All-Star game with those numbers. No matter how well or how poor his team plays behind him. No matter how great his stuff is. Next year if his 10-2 with a 2.00 ERA, there will be no need to have this disucssion.

  11. Michael - Jun 30, 2010 at 10:22 AM

    The problem with your refutation of my example of Josh Willingham is that an .839 OPS is FAR from bad, and, when combined with his stellar one month stats, makes an all-star level first half. I agree that Willingham’s true talent is closer to his career levels, but you’re underlining my point that if you subscribe to the philosophy of rewarding players for a good first half, then Willingham is an all-star.

  12. nps6724 - Jun 30, 2010 at 10:33 AM

    Exactly.

  13. Codebeard - Jun 30, 2010 at 12:55 PM

    Placido Polanco is voted upon by the fans, and most fans are idiots who go by name recognition or just vote for “their guy”. Pitchers are selected by the manager, a person who should really know better.
    And going “around the league” doesn’t mean facing each team three times. You’re assuming that a team will only be able to gather footage from their own games against a certain pitcher. Even within the course of a month a pitcher and their opposing hitters will make adjustments for each other even if they haven’t faced off in that time span. You think that other teams aren’t going to take notice of Jaime Garcia’s struggles from his last start and try to take something from that?

  14. scatterbrian - Jun 30, 2010 at 1:38 PM

    Similar stats, huh? If you look at starting pitchers with a minimum of 30 IP, Strasburg’s leads in K rate at 13.6, followed by Bud Norris (11.1), Jered Weaver (10.5), Lincecum (10.2) and so on. His K/BB ratio would be the second best, right between Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay. He’s pitching at an elite level. He’s able to dominate hitters like an elite closer, and do so over several innings. He dominated in spring training, he dominated in the minors, and he’s dominating at the highest level. He’s not some fluke, flash in the pan. He’s not a pitcher who needs a long wait-and-see period. You could tell he belonged and was special after seeing Lastings Milledge flail at his curveball in his first start.

    “Almost all” of the other options do not have similar stats, and this doesn’t happen every season.

    A challenge: You’ve claimed that there have been 100s of pitchers who have had Strasburg’s stuff but flamed out or whatever you’re saying. Name three in the last decade.

  15. scatterbrian - Jun 30, 2010 at 5:06 PM

    “…it is supposed to be a reward for who put together the best FIRST HALF…”

    According to what rules? There is only one rule for starting pitchers: if you start the Sunday prior to the game, you can’t be on the active roster.

    This game is no longer about fans so much as it’s about securing homefield for your league. And a pitcher who has Strasburg’s command and arsenal–and who is averaging over 13 Ks per nine innings–is a weapon you should want on your side.

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