With only a few weeks left until the National League All Stars are announced, we can speculate as to who Mike Matheny will tab to be the starting pitcher for the NL team. This year there have been veterans who have re-emerged from injuries to post some of the best pitching statistics in baseball. As it seems to be the norm these days, there have also been younger pitchers who have lived up to the potential and dominated in the first half.
Let’s take a look into some of the pitchers that may garnish the honor of starting an All Star Game.
After an injury plagued 2013 campaign, Cincinnati Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto has been on a roll. Cueto leads all starters with an absurdly low 0.77 WHIP. On top of that he is second in the MLB with an 1.85 ERA. Cueto has been the stop gap the Reds have needed early on this season going the distance in 3 of his 14 starts so far. Barring injury Cueto will be a surefire Cy Young candidate at the end of the year and should be the favorite to be the NL starter for the All Star Game.
Another year, another stellar season for Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright. Matheny would love to choose Wainwright as the starter for the All Star Game even if it meant creating even more of a rift between the Reds and the ball club he manages. Recent injury concerns may keep Wainwright out of the game completely but it would not be because he did not make the team. Wainwright leads the NL in wins with 9 and is second in the NL in WHIP posting a 0.93, not to mention his 2.15 ERA. Wainwright like Cueto is a favorite to win Cy Young and as long as his elbow is healthy will be in the discussion for the start.
The San Francisco Giants made one of the best, if not the best, signings in the offseason when they inked 38 year-old ace Tim Hudson to a 2 year, $23 million deal. Hudson has been phenomenal for a Giants team that has exceeded expectations and seems to have run away from the pack in the National League West. Hudson owns a 7-2 record and leads all MLB starters with a 1.81 ERA. The Giants could not have dreamt up a better result with the type of season Hudson is having. Hudson gruesomely broke his ankle last year against the Mets and was limited to only 21 games. He has been a true feel-good story of this 2014 MLB season.
The Atlanta Braves had high hopes for their 23 year-old ace Julio Teheran after a 2013 season in which he finished 14-8 with a 3.20 ERA. They definitely did not think Teheran would be this special. At such a young age Teheran has displayed excellent control, only walking 21 batters in his NL leading 105 innings pitched. The young crafty right hander has shaved almost a full run off his earned run average from last year posting a 2.31 ERA. If Teheran was given the start it would be the second year in a row an NL East player was named the starter, as last year’s starter was Mets ace Matt Harvey.
Although the Washington Nationals have been injury-riddled and yet again disappointing, Stephen Strasburg has been anything but that. Strasburg is currently leading the NL in strikeouts and has an outstanding 10.8 strikeouts per 9 innings. He has a higher ERA then the other pitchers mentioned with a 3.06 ERA but with a few more good starts he could easily lower that substantially. The 1st overall pick in the 2009 draft has faced some adversity in the past but now is the work horse ace that the Nationals have always projected him to be.