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(Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports)

Which Phillies Could Be All-Star Game Bound? 7th-Day Stretch

Zack Wheeler’s dominant season has him poised to make his first All-Star team. Will any of his teammates join him? (Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports)

Note to self: stop pondering the mythical turning point for the Phillies so often. A rough road trip against two of the NL’s best teams (the Dodgers and the… Giants?) has killed the momentum of a 7-2 start to June. The setback is not a death blow to the team’s hopes, but unfortunately, this is still the same team we have seen all season. Great at some moments, terrible at others, and wildly mediocre in the aggregate. The first two weeks of June offered hope that the Phillies were ready to be something better, but if they are, they did not show it this week.

That being said, not every player on the 2021 Phillies has been mediocre, and with the All-Star Game on the horizon, set to take place in Colorado on July 13, the time has come to determine which Phillies make the cut. As you might expect from a team with such a high payroll, the Phillies do have quite a few candidates to represent the club this year. They include players familiar with the ASG festivities and players who have never made an All-Star team before. With critical games coming this week, including four games in three days against the division-leading Mets, we should first step back and give some credit to the Phillies who deserve it the most.

Just Buy A Ticket To Denver Already

P Zach Wheeler: 2.15 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 11.02 K/9, 2.06 BB/9, 5.36 K/BB (Previous ASGs: None)

If the Phillies wind up with only one All-Star for the seventh straight year, there is little doubt as to who it will be. I could say a lot of great things about Wheeler, who has lived up to even the wildest dreams of Phillies fans since arriving in 2020. I could talk about his incredible consistency, dominant stuff, or how he could win the non-Jacob deGrom NL Cy Young Award (seriously, deGrom is so good, he deserves his own award). Instead, I present this to you.

On The Cusp

C J.T. Realmuto: .292 AVG, 7 HR, 29 RBI, .888 OPS, 148 OPS+, 4 SB, 2.0 WAR (Previous ASGs: 2018, 2019)

You would think someone whose nickname is literally “the best catcher in baseball” would be an ASG shoo-in. Not quite. All of the hype for the NL’s starting catcher is centered on Buster Posey’s return after he opted out of the 2020 season, but Realmuto is a strong candidate as well despite not being top three in fan voting. Among catchers on the NL ballot, Realmuto ranks third in batting average, T-5th in home runs (a category in which he is having a down year), T-2nd in RBIs, and second in OPS, not to mention he has been outstanding defensively all season behind the dish. Posey has the fan vote on lock, but Realmuto could be the favorite for the backup catcher assuming Yadier Molina (who is also having a good year) does not secure that spot.

RF Bryce Harper: .274 AVG, 8 HR, 18 RBI, .848 OPS, 137 OPS+, 5 SB, 1.0 WAR (Previous ASGs: 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)

If I was making these categories strictly on performance, Harper would not be ranked this highly. Injuries have plagued his 2021 campaign, just the third season of his massive 13-year contract. Harper is not hitting for power and has just 5 more RBIs than Ronald Torreyes, who has 97 fewer at-bats. His defensive performance has not been flawless either, but he is nevertheless eighth in voting amongst outfielders and the only player on the team to be top three in voting (or top nine for outfielders, since there are three spots) at any position, so he gets into this category based on that fact alone. Harper has been good when he is on the field, but he was better than this in 2019, when he failed to make the NL All-Star team.

2B Jean Segura: .332 AVG, 3 HR, 20 RBI, .845 OPS, 136 OPS+, 6 SB, 2.4 WAR (Previous ASGs: 2013, 2018)

Segura is doing something that almost no one in baseball is doing in 2020: sacrificing power for getting on base. Only one second baseman on the ballot has a higher average than Segura, and that’s Chicago’s Nico Hoerner, who has only 74 at-bats to his name. Segura is unfortunately not eligible for the batting title, as he was limited to just 174 at-bats due to injury, (for reference, Pittsburgh’s Gregory Polanco has the fewest at-bats of any batting title eligible player with 193), and his spotty defensive work is not doing him any favors. Despite said drawbacks, Sugura has been consistently successful at the plate all season and definitely has a shot at a reserve role. His current groin injury has him sidelined for about three weeks, however, which may end up being too much for his candidacy to overcome.

So You’re Saying There’s A Chance

1B Rhys Hoskins: .238 AVG, 15 HR, 42 RBI, .778 OPS, 115 OPS+, 2 SB, 0.6 WAR (Previous ASGs: None)

Hoskins’ sub-par defense does a number on his wins above replacement (WAR), and although his plate performance, the bulk of any first baseman’s candidacy, grades out better, Hoskins is still not at All-Star level. He is not walking as much as he used to – he had four more free passes in 95 fewer plate appearances last season. As a result, his OBP has dropped from a very good .384 to a below-average .310 mark. All-Stars generally do not suffer through 0-33 droughts, but Hoskins has always been a streaky player, and when you hit 2 home runs and 6 RBIs in a game like Hoskins did Saturday, such inconsistency can be overshadowed. If Hoskins was still getting on base at an elite rate, he would have a legit shot, but like Harper, Hoskins was better in 2019 and did not receive a nomination.

The Field

Honestly, the next most likely Phillie to make the All-Star team, based purely on performance, is probably… Ranger Suárez? I mean, he has a 0.71 ERA in 25.1 innings of relief. But long relievers seldom make All-Star teams, especially ones that did not even start the year in the Majors. Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin have only been decent. Didi Gregorius has struggled and been hurt. Andrew McCutchen has struggled defensively and only recently began picking it up at the plate. Ditto for Alec Bohm. If I had to bet, I think just Wheeler will make the team, with Realmuto being the only player that I really think deserves it (Segura just will not have the ABs with his current injury).

See if any Phillies made this more neutral All-Star game article.

Good first halves are important, but a good second half really matters. A strong finish has eluded the Phillies in each of the last two 162-game seasons, but recognizing the players who have been successful so far is important.

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