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Phillies' All-Star Chances: Who Does Rob Thomson Take With Him to Seattle?

Morgan Killian-Moseley


Phillies manager Rob Thomson has some decisions to make, and not all of them have to do with the Phils evaluating their playoff chances.


With Major League Baseball's All-Star starters due to be announced on Thursday, Thomson will begin the process of putting together this year's National League All-Star team; which Thomson will manage by virtue of the Phillies being the defending NL champions.


One piece of the puzzle was already determined on Sunday as Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. was the NL's leading vote-getter in Phase 1 of voting; automatically securing himself a spot in the starting lineup, barring injury.


Bryce Harper is the only Phillie with a chance of making the starting lineup, as he squares off against the Los Angeles Dodgers' J.D. Martinez for the starting designated hitter role. Harper won the starting DH spot last year but was unable to play due to injury, leading to Atlanta's William Contreras (now with the Milwaukee Brewers) starting in Harper's place.


So, now the question needs to be asked: what Phillies have the best chance of making the trip with Thomson to Seattle's T-Mobile Park? Let's take a look at the possibilities:



Outfield/DH


Bryce Harper

Chances of winning the popular vote: Moderate

Chances of making the team if Martinez wins the vote: Moderately Low


Harper, flat-out, is the face of the Phillies franchise, and one of the most popular players in baseball. The fact that Harper missed only about six weeks of the regular season after Tommy John surgery and is still hitting almost .300 going into Monday tells you his value to the team. That being said, if Martinez wins the vote, Harper's chances of making the squad drop quite a bit, considering the plethora of power-hitting corner infielders in the NL who would fill the role of single-plate appearance DH well.


Nick Castellanos

Chances: Moderately High


Nick Castellanos has been, by and large, the Phillies' best position player this season, leading the team with a .313 average and an .849 OPS percentage as of Monday. People were concerned about Castellanos after last year's struggles, but it seems he's much better acclimated to playing at Citizens Bank Park this year. The NL outfield is crowded, but all signs are pointing towards Casty being in Seattle.


Kyle Schwarber

Chances: Low

Yes, Schwarber is the team leader in home runs with 20, the only Phillie in double digits in that category as of Monday. But with the Diamondbacks' Corbin Carroll (.290/.369/.558, 16 HR, 41 RBI), the NL Rookie of the Year frontrunner, likely making the team whether he's voted in or not, as is L.A.'s Mookie Betts, plenty of teams that could have an outfielder as their only representative (Washington's Lane Thomas, Pittsburgh's Bryan Reynolds), plus the aforementioned single-plate appearance DH types to choose from in the NL, Schwarber is looking like an odd man out.


Brandon Marsh

Chances: Virtually None


Marsh had an outstanding start to his season, but it's the same case for him as it is with Schwarber; the NL outfield is too crowded.


Infield/Catcher

J.T. Realmuto

Chances: Moderately Low


The "Best Catcher in Baseball" has not performed like it, with a .168/.234/.257 slash line at Citizens Bank Park as of Monday, and a .182 average with runners in scoring position this season. Many people believe Baltimore Orioles phenom Adley Rutschman has already surpassed Realmuto for the title, and the Dodgers' Will Smith (.291/.407/.518, 12 HR, 41 RBI) and the Braves' Sean Murphy (.290/.388/.531, 12 HR, 43 RBI), who has to be thanking his lucky stars he's no longer part of the Oakland-hoping-to-soon-be-Las Vegas Athletics, are the ones squaring off in the final vote, with both will likely making the trip to Seattle. It's possible Realmuto makes the team as a replacement if Murphy or Smith can't go. But it's by no means a guarantee, as Colorado Rockies backstop Elías Diaz (.289/.345/.471) has put together a strong season as well.


Alec Bohm

Chances: Virtually None


If you had Alec Bohm as the Phillies' RBI leader at this point of the season, you're either a time traveler, a psychic, or a liar. That being said, there's too much corner infield talent in front of him in the Senior Circuit to have any real chance of being named an All-Star.

Take a look at Bohm's NL contemporaries, first at third base:

Finalists:

  • Nolan Arenado (Cardinals)- .268/.315/.471, 15 HR, 50 RBI

  • Austin Riley (Braves)- .265/.333/.440, 13 HR, 38 RBI, 50 R

Other Candidates:

  • Max Muncy (Dodgers)- (.191/323/.474, 18 HR, 45 RBI)

  • Ryan McMahon (Rockies)- .263/.346/.484, 12 HR, 41 RBI


And over at first base:

Finalists:

  • Freddie Freeman (Dodgers)- .317/.397/.549, 14 HR, 48 RBI, 62 R

  • Matt Olson (Braves)- .236/.350/.541, NL-Leading 25 HR & 60 RBI

Other Candidates:

  • Paul Goldschmidt (Cardinals)- .286/.376/.486, 13 HR, 40 RBI

  • Pete Alonso (Mets)- .226/.318/.537, 24 HR, 55 RBI

  • Christian Walker (Diamondbacks)- .282/.346/.521, 15 HR, 53 RBI


Bohm's 47 RBI put him at 4th among qualified NL first basemen, but his lack of pop (19 XBH, .401 SLG) counts against him compared to his competition, especially in an All-Star setting where fans want to see big flies.


Bryson Stott

Chances: Slim


Stott has been a strong all-around performer for the Phils this season, hitting .295 with a .752 OPS, plus building the longest hitting streak to start a season in Phillies history. But unfortunately for him (and for the whole team) his NL East counterparts at second base have been flat-out better. The starting vote is down to Atlanta's Ozzie Albies, 2nd in the NL with 55 RBI, and Luis Arraez of the Miami Marlins, who, in case you haven't been paying attention these past three months, is hitting almost .400. That said, Stott is a potential dark horse candidate to gain a middle infield reserve spot, though Arizona's Ketel Marte (.294/.373/.518, 14 HR, 42 RBI) has proven himself to be All-Star caliber yet again.


Trea Turner

Chances: Virtually Zero


Last year's NL starter at shortstop has been, in all honesty, a disappointment to Phillies fans this season. Turner's record-matching five-homer performance for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic seems to have hindered his first season in red pinstripes; as his .248 average and .692 OPS going into Monday are on-pace to be his worst over a full season in his career. While Turner did show signs of starting to turn things around in the Phillies' series against the Mets this past weekend, Phils fans expect a lot more out of someone who led the NL in batting average in 2021, has led the majors in hits twice and the NL in stolen bases twice; especially if he's getting paid $300 million over 11 years.

Turner's lackluster performance has been far outshined by NL shortstop finalists Francisco Lindor of the Mets (.221/.306/.443, 15 HR, 52 RBI) and Orlando Arcia of the Braves (.318/.374/.458, 6 HR, 26 RBI (and you'd definitely need to be a psychic or time traveler to have predicted Arcia's resurgence).



Starting Rotation

Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, Taijuan Walker

Chances of one making the team: Moderate

Chances of two making the team: Slim

Chances of all three making the team: None


June has been a very strong month for the Phils' pitching staff as a whole, with a 3.24 ERA, a 1.10 WHIP ratio, and a .218 opponent's average over the month. AS for the top three starters:

  • Nola- 26 IP, 2-1, 3.46 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, .172 OAA, 33 K

  • Wheeler- 28 ⅓ IP, 2-0, 4.13 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, .250 OAA, 30 K

  • Walker- 30 IP, 4-1, 1.50 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, .154 OAA, 28 K


Unfortunately for the Phils, the Arizona duo of Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly have been outstanding with each earning nine wins, Chicago Cubs rotation mates Marcus Stroman and Justin Steele both have ERAs below 3.00, Atlanta's Bryce Elder (NL-leading 2.40 ERA) and Spencer Strider (Major League-leading 136 strikeouts) have looked like two more in a long line of Braves aces, San Diego's Michael Wacha (7 wins, 2.90 ERA, NL-leading 1.05 WHIP ratio) has looked like NL comeback pitcher of the year, and the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw (9 W, 2.72 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 103 K) has looked like, well, Clayton Kershaw.

Nola, Walker, and Wheeler have reasonably good numbers that mix them in with their competition. But none of them have numbers that stand out against the competition. Nola's 1.07 WHIP is good for 3rd-best in the NL, but the entire top 10 in the American League have better ratios than the NL-leading Wacha; including former Phillie Zach Eflin who has a 1.03 WHIP for the Tampa Bay Rays. (Yet another case of a pro athlete getting better as soon as they leave Philadelphia) Given the number of pitchers that opt-out after being selected, one of the Phils' top three starters may make the NL pitching staff, but that may be a stretch.


Ranger Suarez

Chances: None


Mr. Ranger just doesn't have enough outings this season to warrant All-Star consideration. His time may come soon, though.


Bullpen

Craig Kimbrel

Chances: Slim


With names ahead of Kimbrel like Camilo Doval (Giants), Alexis Diaz (Reds), Josh Hader (Padres), David Bednar (Pirates), and Devin Williams (Brewers), even a multi-time all-star like Kimbrel doesn't have much of a chance of making the team.


Gregory Soto, Jose Alvarado, etc.

Chances: None


It's been a trend as of late to have an All-Star bullpen spot given to a non-closer.

But none of the Phils' other bullpen arms have done enough to earn a spot like that. Considering the following:

  • Ian Gibaut is the Reds' team leader with eight wins this season. All of them out of the bullpen. The only Phillies starter who can match that is Walker.

  • Marlins reliever Andrew Nardi has a 5-1 record, same as Kimbrel, with a 2.62 ERA (Kimbrel's is 4.06)


So which Phillies make the NL All-Star squad? Right now, Castellanos and Harper have the best chances, but plenty can change before the Mid-Summer Classic. One thing's for sure, though: "We got at least one, Topper."



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