In or out: Which Padres could be headed to All-Star Game?

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Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Which Padres players will be headed to Seattle for the 2023 All-Star Game?

Major League Baseball’s Midsummer Classic, the All-Star Game, will be held on July 11 in Seattle. The Padres had three All-Stars last year and five the year before. Who, and how many, will get the call this year? Let’s check in on each of the Padres’ candidates and predict whether they are in or out.

Fernando Tatis Jr.

Let’s start with the obvious ones. Even with controversy following him everywhere he goes, Tatis is clearly one of the more adored stars in all of baseball, especially by the younger generation. That has manifested itself in the fan voting, which have Tatis sixth among NL outfielders, despite missing three weeks and still not fully hitting his stride at the plate.

1. Ronald Acuña Jr., Braves – 1,086,537
2. Mookie Betts, Dodgers – 676,491
3. Lourdes Gurriel Jr., D-backs – 367,348
4. Juan Soto, Padres – 339,009
5. Corbin Carroll, D-backs – 232,565
6. Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres – 207,474

Tatis has time on his side. Phase One of the voting does not end until June 26, when the top six outfielders advance to Phase Two.

Plus, it appears like he is rounding into form. In his last 12 games, he is batting .354 with a 1.155 OPS. He is playing elite defense and wreaking havoc on the bases, with eight steals total thus far. He currently owns a 138 OPS+ with a .861 OPS.

Given his international fame and him getting comfortable in 2023, it should be only up from here.

Verdict: In 

Juan Soto

Listed higher than Tatis on that list of NL outfielders is Soto. After a dreadful start to the season, his past five weeks have been much hotter. He currently leads the team with a 142 OPS+ and .868 OPS. He also has 23 more walks than any other hitter on the team. Even as he has cooled a bit lately, he still looks a lot more like vintage Soto. He is currently fifth among NL outfielders in wRC+ and sixth in OPS. He is clearly back to being one of the best-hitting outfielders in the National League. As long as the bottom does not fall out again, he should be good to go.

Plus, he is the reigning HR Derby champ. Will he get a chance to defend his title?

Verdict: In 

Manny Machado

Machado is a tougher case than his outfield teammates. He got off to a similar start as Soto, looking hapless at the plate for the better part of a month. Through June 2, he was batting .225 with a .638 OPS. A shell of his career numbers. Since then, he is batting .351 with an .871 OPS, which are back to his All-Star-level numbers.

The question will be, is it too little too late? There are some fantastic third basemen in the National League. That, with the slow start coupled with his stint on the IL, may doom him for this season. As of this moment, he ranks 11th in fWAR among NL third basemen. He will need a monumental push over the next two weeks.

1. Nolan Arenado, Cardinals – 410,122
2. Austin Riley, Braves – 368,044
3. Max Muncy, Dodgers – 358,235
4. J.D. Davis, Giants – 227,536
5. Manny Machado, Padres – 191,629

Verdict: Out

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Xander Bogaerts

Boagerts is one of the most respected shortstops in the game. Clearly, he has some national gravitas, as, despite his injury-ridden slow start, he is third in voting. That also might be due to a lack of true star power around the NL at shortstop. However, it makes sense since he is third among NL shortstops in fWAR. The bat has been quiet of late, given his sore wrist. He returned to the lineup after a brief spell on the bench to rest in Colorado.

He had a hot series, with a .364 average and 1.007 OPS in the three games in Denver. If he can maintain that over the next couple weeks, he should at least make the second phase of voting. Due to the lack of depth at the position, Bogaerts may get in either way, barring injury.

1. Orlando Arcia, Braves – 406,509
2. Francisco Lindor, Mets – 302,051
3. Xander Bogaerts, Padres – 209,144
4. Matt McLain, Reds – 200,152

Verdict: In 

Jake Cronenworth

The biggest unintended consequence of Cronenworth shifting from second base to first base is that he may never make another All-Star Game after making the two previous Midsummer Classics. He does not have the prototypical power bat of a first baseman like Paul Goldschmidt, Freddie Freeman, or Pete Alonso. While his defense remains solid, his bat simply does not measure up to the star first basemen in the league. He is even having a down season by his standards, hitting .216 with a 97 OPS+, both well below his career numbers.

1. Freddie Freeman, Dodgers – 775,503
2. Pete Alonso, Mets – 377,749
3. Matt Olson, Braves – 272,275
4. Paul Goldschmidt, Cardinals – 178,238
5. Trey Mancini, Cubs – 79,229
6. Rowdy Tellez, Brewers – 65,316
7. Jake Cronenworth, Padres – 58,289

Verdict: Out 

Ha-Seong Kim

If the All-Star selections were simply handed out to the elite defenders, regardless of offensive production, Kim would be one of the leading vote-getters. Unfortunately for the charismatic South Korean, that is not how the All-Star process works. While he may lead the league in defense (and good vibes), his offensive output just isn’t enough to earn him a trip to Seattle.

If the selection was strictly made by fWAR, Kim would also have a good shot, as he ranks third among full-time second basemen in the NL. However, his bat is lacking. He owns a serviceable 103 wRC+, but that  ranks 10th among NL second basemen.

1. Luis Arraez, Marlins – 509,092
2. Ozzie Albies, Braves – 376,726
3. Nolan Gorman, Cardinals – 245,524
4. Miguel Vargas, Dodgers – 142,182
5. Jeff McNeil, Mets – 126,924
6. Thairo Estrada, Giants – 103,446
7. Ketel Marte, D-backs – 102,953
8. Nico Hoerner, Cubs – 84,061
9. Ha-Seong Kim, Padres – 82,879

Verdict: Out

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Yu Darvish

Pitchers are always harder to gauge since they are not subjected to fan voting. The pitchers are selected by fellow players as well as the Commissioner’s office. Darvish is well-respected around the game. He is a five-time All-Star already. Basically, he is becoming one of those players where, if his numbers are around his career averages, you can probably pencil him in for the All-Star Game.

However, to this point, his 2023 numbers are not up to par with the back of his baseball card. If the season ended today, his 4.30 ERA would be a career-worst for a season with at least ten starts. His 95 ERA+ is below league average. Darvish needs to put together a stellar few weeks if he wants to make a sixth All-Star Game.

Verdict: Out

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Blake Snell

Dare we make a case for Snell to make the All-Star Game over Darvish? Snell has been lights out for the better part of a month. In his last three starts, he owns a 0.47 ERA with 27 strikeouts. He is currently 13th in the NL with 81 strikeouts, which leads the Padres. However, his 3.78 ERA and 108 ERA+ are still somewhat pedestrian for a hopeful All-Star.

Verdict: Out

Joe Musgrove

With a toe injury sidelining him for the spring and a slow start after his return, Musgrove has been behind the eight ball. He earned his first All-Star bid last season. Given his 4.37 ERA and 94 ERA+ (even with more recent success), he likely will not get another nod this season.

Verdict: Out

Michael Wacha

Amazing that we are even having this debate. Wacha was signed as a depth piece to eat innings at the back end of the rotation. Instead, he has been the steadiest presence on the staff. He owns a solid 3.18 ERA and 129 ERA+. He was an All-Star in 2015. He currently ranks 10th in the NL in ERA.

What a Cinderella story that would be. It might be too crowded for the right hander to make it, but his case is better than any other starter in San Diego.

Verdict: Out 

Josh Hader

For the better part of the last six years, Hader is in the conversation for the best closer in the game. To this point, he has four All-Star selections and three NL Trevor Hoffman Reliever Awards. Much like Darvish, Hader has enough of a reputation to where, if his numbers are around normal, he is likely in. Unlike Darvish, Hader is right around his career numbers. Among relievers with at least 20 innings pitched, he is third in the NL with a 1.37 ERA. He is second in saves, with 16.

Verdict: In

Bonus: Is Gary Sanchez doing enough to garner All-Star buzz? He has six homers in 13 games, with a 166 OPS+. He has turned into one of the best mid-season hitter acquisitions of A.J. Preller’s tenure.

As of now, odds are the Padres will have four All-Stars. A lot can change over the coming weeks, with players getting hot or cooling off dramatically. The fans will have their say, and several Padres are popular to the national and international audience.

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