Jays From the Couch takes an early look at possible Toronto Blue Jays All Stars…it’s slim pickin’
With the 2018 MLB All Star Game just over two months away, the cream is slowly beginning to rise to the top of the American League. Mookie Betts, as we have seen in the meetings from the two series against Boston, has been obliterating opposing pitching making him the highest ranked player in baseball to this point. We are just rounding the quarter pole here in this race and Betts, who has 13 home runs thus far, is on pace for a 50+ HR campaign. He is also sporting a .364 average while still being able to pace himself for 20 bases. Insane truthfully. He will no doubt be an All Star again in 2018. Between Betts and the next ranked batter, Mike Trout, they are unbelievably neck-and-neck with the only thing separating the two, about twenty points of batting average. On the mound, it is no surprise that Max Sherzer leads the way sporting 7 wins and a disgusting 91 strikeouts in only 58 innings of work. What about north of the border though?
J.A. Happ seemed to start the year lights out, but has since cooled off to the tune of a 5.28 ERA in the last month. Notably, he is still holding an impressive K/9 IP clip with 56 through only 45 innings. He’s no Max Sherzer…but then again, no one is.
The usual suspects, in terms of All Star status for Toronto, are either fighting back from past injuries or are off to a cool start. Josh Donaldson has been, meh this year so far and is on pace to match 2017, where if you recall, had a much larger stint on the DL than this campaign.
Roberto Osuna is decent but not dominant by any means. He did have 9 saves thus far which would put him on par with 2017, but with the recent allegations against him…we may not see the 2017 All Star any time soon unfortunately. Other former All Stars that have been relatively quiet are Justin Smoak, Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman, and Aledmys Diaz.
But who does have the chops to take their game on the road to the US Capitol. Kevin Pillar seems to be the only shoe in from a Toronto perspective. He got off to a stellar start and has continued to contribute every game. Centre Field is stiff competition though and you would have to think the aforementioned Mike Trout would be the fan favorite there. Even in right, Mookie Betts will be the first choice there. Then who?
In terms of stats and success thus far, Tyler Clippard seems like the logical choice. He has an impressive 1.17 ERA on the year, with 4 Wins and a Save over the last month. Plus, with Osuna being on time out, you would have to believe Tyler is in line for his work with his 26 k’s over 23 innings and 1.00 WHIP. Paired with the previous mention of stiff outfield competition, he might even be the Jays best candidate.
After that, it really thins out for Toronto. Yangervis Solarte might have an underdog chance, he is leading the team in home runs and had proved invaluable covering defense during injuries so far this season. He would have to continue on this pace, and his utility status might help for an All Star 2nd team player. Solarte might be a fan favorite, but, chances seem slim as he didn’t make it when San Diego hosted the game in 2016, a campaign where he posted a decent .286 BA.
Aside from this trio, we might be looking at the short end of the stick for Toronto All Stars in 2018. Teoscar Hernandez has been having a nice season so far, although the rising stars game may not be out of the question. He has put together a Fantasy slash line (yes, I coined it) of 19/6/15/3/.261 in only 139 AB’s.
As we look around the bullpen, which is where we may have an outside chance at depth players, you would have to look at Seung-hwan Oh. He has given himself a solid 157th ranking in Yahoo Fantasy and over 18 innings of limited work, has been effective with 20 K’s, a Win, Save and stingy 2.79 ERA with a 1.19 WHIP. Ryan Tepera started much the same and has about the same K/9 ratio but his ERA has jumped recently to 3.05, but he does have 3 wins, making up for some of the struggles from the starting rotation.
Whoever makes their way to the Mid-Summer classic I am sure will be going solo for the Jays this Summer. Their play has not warranted more than that in comparison to the other numbers being posted around the league. In Washington DC, it will be a great atmosphere, hopefully it will be a good game and represented well by our boys in blue. BW
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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