Should Stephen Strasburg Make the All-Star Team?

Posted by Dave Nichols | Wednesday, June 30, 2010 | , , , , | 1 comments »

(Photo by Cheryl Nichols/Nats News Network)

Everyone else is weighing in on this, so I might as well generate a few cheap hits putting Stephen Strasburg's name into another post.

Do I think Strasburg is one of the top pitchers in the National League already?  Yes.  Yes, I do.

Do I think seven starts for the Washington Nationals is enough to qualify him to be named to the NL All-Star team this season?  No.  No, I don't.

While I think the selection criteria that fans, managers and the league uses to determine All-Stars is faulty as best, I can only go with my personal opinion.  I just don't think a player called up after Memorial Day should be rewarded with a trip to the All-Star Game, regardless of the success he's had in those few starts.  He just hasn't had enough appearances to quality.

Now, I don't feel as strongly as Mitch Williams, of the MLB Network: 
“I don’t care if two of his first four starts were no-hitters, there is no way you can put this kid on the All-Star team after five starts. As much as he is impressive, polished, young and exciting, the All-Star Game is based on the entire first half. It will do this kid a disservice and alienate other players against him if he makes the team. Pitchers will look at him and say, ‘He’s going to make the All-Star team when I’ve pitched 120 innings and have nine wins?’ If Strasburg makes the team, it hurts the credibility of the league.”
I know Williams' statement is full of hyperbole, and he probably doesn't feel that strongly about it either.  But MLB Network sent me the quotes, so at least he's putting it out there.

Hurting the "credibility of the league"?  What a joke.  Does Williams remember this game ended in a tie a few years back?  Does he realize this exhibition decides home field advantage for the World Freaking Series?!?

Back to the matter at hand...

It would be great theatre to see Strasburg face the best hitters in the American League.  And not wanting to place undue pressure on him (yeah, right), but it's a pretty good bet we'll see Strasburg in future games.  I just think it's premature to name him to the team after just seven starts.  And he's actually said as much when asked about it.

Of course, an appearance by Strasburg would generate interest, be polarizing, maybe even controversial -- which all would make for great television.  Which generates ad revenue.  Which lines Bud Selig's pockets a little deeper.  So if you look at just the bottom line, there's your excuse for the league office to name him to the squad.

And if crusty old Charlie Manuel actually thinks having Strasburg on the team could help him seal home field advantage for the dispicable Philies in the World Series, who am I to judge?

As for the Nats fan in me, I'm perfectly happy having Stras get 10 days or so rest in the middle of what must be an extremely tiring first half of a season. 

Think about it:  he's played on three different teams in three different leagues, made his major league debut, every minor league game he pitched was in front of national media; every big league start has been a circus.  He's even been on Letterman!  It's gotta be tiring, even if he doesn't really notice it with all the adrenaline he must be running on.

If it were me, I'd leave the kid home this year.

But if they take him, I'll certainly tune in.


  1. Cheryl Nichols // June 30, 2010 at 1:20 PM  

    Not to mention he's been nominated for two ESPY's too!