Phillies Wheeler an All-Star snub

by Marc Narducci | Jul 12, 2022
Phillies Wheeler an All-Star snub

The MLB All-Star selection is an imperfect process, especially since each team has to have at least one representative.

Most of the stories after the All-Star team reserves were announced on Sunday, were about the deserving players who didn’t make it.

Of course, that is always the case. Players on good teams who are having productive seasons often get penalized because each team needs at least one rep.

So there was a lot of chatter about Phillies right-hander Zack Wheeler not being selected and rightly so.

When the teams were selected, Wheeler had the ninth-best ERA in all of baseball, 2.46.

Of the top nine, only Wheeler and Chicago White Sox right-hander Dylan Cease (who may have been a more significant snub) weren’t selected. 

Cease had a 2.45 ERA, eighth in MLB at the time the team was selected.

Wheeler’s B-WAR of 3.2 was eighth among MLB pitchers (with Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola, another candidate, fifth at 3.4).

There were 12 pitches selected for the National League team. The American League had 13 with Los Angeles Angels right-hander Shohei Ohtani being selected as both a pitcher and a DH.

One thing about pitchers who get snubbed – is they often earn a chance to get still be selected. According to MLB rules, clubs or players are allowed to make requests for usage accommodation of pitchers in the All-Star game if there are factors (such as an IL stint, recent surgery, innings workload or other reasons) that would affect the pitcher's availability.

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So a club could request that a pitcher, while still on the team, doesn’t throw in the All-Star game.

If something like that happens, or if a pitcher is legitimately hurt, look for Wheeler to get the call.

Last year Wheeler earned his first-ever All-Star game selection during a dominant season that saw him go 14-10 with a 2.78 ERA and 247 strikeouts in 213 1/3 innings.

At the time of All-Star selection this year, he was 8-4 with a 2.46 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 95 innings. His ERA+ was 165, compared to 148 for all of last season.

Wheeler was second in the Cy Young voting last year and one could argue that he is having a better season this year.

Remember, he got off to a slow start. From May 1 until July 8, his last start before the All-Star pitchers was announced, Wheeler was 7-1 with a 1.65 ERA.

The Phillies had two All-Star selections, Bryce Harper, the DH who won the fan vote and Kyle Schwarber, who was picked as a reserve outfielder. (Harper won’t play due to his fractured left thumb).

While the Phillies have often been criticized for many of their transactions, Harper, Schwarber and Wheeler are evidence of excellent free-agent signings, with two All-Stars and a third who should be there.


Author: Marc Narducci

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