Breaking down this year’s All-Star pitching staff by who made it, who didn’t deserve to make it, and who the noteworthy snubs from it were.
Over the weekend, Major League Baseball announced the full rosters for this year’s All-Star Game. The starter position players had already been established, with many of the reserves being clear as well. However, updates on the pitching staff had none been released until it was finalized. Here is what the 2021 All-Star pitching staff looks like this year…
*stats courtesy of Baseball Reference*
American League Starters:
- Shane Bieber (CLE) — 90.2 IP, 3.28 ERA, 130 SO, 33 BB, & 1.246 WHIP
- Gerrit Cole (NYY) — 105 IP, 2.91 ERA, 135 SO, 20 BB, & 0.962 WHIP
- Nathan Eovaldi (BOS) — 103.1 IP, 3.66 ERA, 99 SO, 20 BB, & 1.229 WHIP
- Kyle Gibson (TEX) — 95.2 IP, 1.98 ERA, 81 SO, 29 BB, & 1.035 WHIP
- Yusei Kikuchi (SEA) — 93.1 IP, 3.18 ERA, 93 SO, 31 BB, & 1.029 WHIP
- Lance Lynn (CWS) — 84.2 IP, 2.02 ERA, 99 SO, 28 BB, & 1.028 WHIP
- Shohei Ohtani (LAA) — 67 IP, 3.49 ERA, 87 SO, 35 BB, & 1.209 WHIP
- Carlos Rodón (CWS) — 89.2 IP, 2.31 ERA, 130 SO, 26 BB, & 0.959 WHIP
American League Relievers:
- Matt Barnes (BOS) — 37 IP, 2.68 ERA, 62 SO, 10 BB, 0.865 WHIP, & 19/23 SVO
- Aroldis Chapman (NYY) — 29.2 IP, 4.55 ERA, 52 SO, 22 BB, 1.483 WHIP, & 16/20 SVO
- Liam Hendricks (CWS) — 37 IP, 2.43 ERA, 57 SO, 4 BB, 0.757 WHIP, & 22/25 SVO
- Ryan Pressly (HOU) — 36 IP, 1.50 ERA, 46 SO, 5 BB, 0.806 WHIP, & 15/16 SVO
- Gregory Soto (DET) — 33.2 IP, 2.94 ERA, 40 SO, 20 BB, 1.337 WHIP, & 6/6 SVO
National League Starters:
- Corbin Burnes (MIL) — 82 IP, 2.41 ERA, 120 SO, 15 BB, & 0.902 WHIP
- Yu Darvish (SD) — 102 IP, 2.65 ERA, 123 SO, 24 BB, & 0.951 WHIP
- Jacob deGrom (NYM) — 85 IP, 0.95 ERA, 136 SO, 11 BB, & 0.541 WHIP
- Kevin Gausman (SF) — 108.2 IP, 1.74 ERA, 124 SO, 27 BB, & 0.801 WHIP
- Germán Márquez (COL) — 105.1 IP, 3.59 ERA, 105 SO, 41 BB, & 1.177 WHIP
- Trevor Rogers (MIA) — 97.1 IP, 2.22 ERA, 118 SO, 32 BB, & 1.048 WHIP
- Zack Wheeler (PHI) — 114 IP, 2.05 ERA, 139 SO, 25 BB, & 0.939 WHIP
- Brandon Woodruff (MIL) — 107.1 IP, 2.10 ERA, 125 SO, 25 BB, 0.783 WHIP
National League Relievers:
- Josh Hader (MIL) — 32.2 IP, 0.55 ERA, 55 SO, 12 BB, 0.735 WHIP, & 20/20 SVO
- Craig Kimbrel (CHC) — 30.2 IP, 0.59 ERA, 53 SO, 10 BB, 0.652 WHIP, & 20/22 SVO
- Mark Melancon (SD) — 36.2 IP, 2.21 ERA, 30 SO, 15 BB, 1.173 WHIP, & 26/30 SVO
- Alex Reyes (STL) — 41.1 IP, 1.52 ERA, 54 SO, 32 BB, 1.306 WHIP, & 20/20 SVO
Who Should Not Have Made It?
That’s a lot of information to take in, but it should display the average level of performance amongst this season’s All-Star pitching staff. Now that all their statistics are available, clear outliers will begin to appear. Out of all the pitchers heading to Colorado, nobody is more of an outsider than Aroldis Chapman. His infamous fastball-slider combination can easily be argued as the most lethal and unhittable duo in all of baseball. However, he simply has not pitched well.
Not only has Chapman thrown fewer innings than most other relievers, but his ERA and WHIP are astronomically greater. Chapman has always had a problem with finding the strike zone, something that with the cracking down of substances has only gotten harder for him. His base-on-balls percentage is nearly two times greater than the year before, but his control is not the only issue. He is surrendering hard hits to over 41% of his batted balls.
Another out there selection for the American League All-Star pitching staff would be Gregory Soto. His numbers are similar to Chapman, except for his lacking number of saves. That being said, Soto, as true with Germán Márquez and Yusei Kikuchi, might be the only somewhat deserving representatives for their ballclubs. Márquez and Kikuchi both had solid numbers, but if not for the rule forcing each team to send a player, they likely would not have made the cut.
As much as everyone loves Shohei Ohtani and his raw pitching talent is quite impressive, there is an argument he shouldn’t have made it as a pitcher. His numbers are slightly skewed from a couple of bad appearances, but his lack of innings pitched could be a reason for someone else instead. His stuff is gross no doubt, but his numbers are a bit lacking when looking at some of the snubbed players.
American League Snubs
Snubs for relief pitchers are very debatable. There are simply so many of them with such different usage rates that it makes picking a select few very difficult. However, Chapman is far from who I would’ve chosen. Some American League relief pitchers that deserved to make the All-Star pitching staff instead are Taylor Rogers, Scott Barlow, or even James Karinchak. There are probably several other worthy names, but these guys have really done better than Chapman in almost every way.
All three of them have more innings pitched, lower ERAs, and lower WHIPs than Chapman, with them also having comparable, if not better, strikeout-to-walk ratios. Chapman is a great pitcher, but simply not someone who should’ve been selected. Similarly, one of these three guys could have (if not for the rule) also replaced Gregory Soto in Colorado this summer.
Two big misses for the American League starting pitchers come from the two small-market, moneyball squads. Chris Bassitt (OAK) is a big snub. He has pitched a ton this year, throwing 111 innings, and has better statistics than both Eovaldi and Kikuchi. Eovaldi especially because his presence is not as needed as Kikuchi’s with Boston having four other players heading to the midsummer classic. Bassitt’s health throughout the season should be awarded as he leads all of baseball in games started.
The other pitcher reigning from a small market is Tyler Glasnow. Yes, Glasnow is injured and will be for a while, so his vote would eventually get replaced, but his numbers were among the best in baseball before then. Even with the injury, Glasnow has still recorded 88 innings and 124 strikeouts, not to mention his American League-leading WHIP of 0.932. His absence from the All-Star pitching staff is quite surprising, to say the least.
National League Snubs
Now the thing about the National League is that there are tons of amazing pitchers to choose from. Looking at the roster’s starting pitchers, they are almost all tremendous. Germán Márquez is the only exception, not that he’s been bad, but that there are some amazing people being left out over him. Atop the list of possible replacements are two lesser-known players and two big names that are somewhat shocking to not see in the All-Star Game.
Taijuan Walker and Freddy Peralta have been dominant. Walker has fewer innings and strikeouts, while Peralta has been filthy. In 93 innings, Peralta has 129 strikeouts and a WHIP of 0.903. Peralta’s problem is walks and having two of his fellow Milwaukee starting pitchers already going.
Max Scherzer and Walker Buehler are the two popular players that have had great years and yet missed out on the vote. Both these workhorses have ERAs below 2.50 and WHIPs under 0.930. Once again, this just goes to show how incredibly talented the National League’s pitchers have been thus far.
As stated above, relief pitchers are hard to pick for the All-Star Game. Too many options, with too many variables. However, Kenley Jansen did get somewhat robbed. Mark Melancon is really the only one he could’ve replaced, which is a bit bold because Melancon leads the National League in saves. However, Jansen only has five less saves on 7 fewer opportunities, thereby making them pretty similar. The big difference pushing it towards Jansen over Melancon is ERA and WHIP.
In general, the All-Star pitching staff was done pretty well. The National League simply has too many good pitchers, while the American League had a couple of head-scratchers. Snubs will always be a part of All-Star voting and for the most part, Major League Baseball did it pretty well this year.
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