Here are three St. Louis Cardinals who could be first-time All-Star Game selections.
Coming into the 2022 Major League baseball season, we knew the National League Central would be a battle between the Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals. Meanwhile, the rest of the division (Pirates, Cubs, and Reds) is all in a rebuilding process. Looking back at some predictions, I noticed most experts predict the Brewers will win the NL Central.
As the standings stand today, the Brewers have a half-game lead over the Cardinals and seems as if it will be a tight race throughout the course of the season. In the last 10 games though, the Cardinals have been playing phenomenal ball and trimmed the deficit between them and Milwaukee. Their pitching hasn’t been that great, ranking 14th in team ERA, but their lack of great pitching has been extricated by their consistency at the plate. The Cardinals rank fifth in MLB in team batting average (.254), fifth in team hits (478), and fourth in runs scored (269).
While players like Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, and Adam Wainwright are expected to perform at a high level every year, there have definitely been some new names that have lifted the Cardinals amongst some of the best teams in the NL.
Here are three players that could be first-time All-Stars for the Cardinals this season.
Second baseman Tommy Edman
While Nolan Gorman has been the talk of the team for his hitting the past week or so, Tommy Edman has been exceptional all season thus far. Coming off a 2021 campaign where he won a Gold Glove, Edman has seemingly improved his approach at the plate and is hitting .280, five home runs, and leads the team in runs score (44), and triples (three). Typically, Edman is known for his defensive ability, but this season has had his best start at the plate in his career.
As a switch hitter, Edman provides exactly what you would want out of a lead-off hitter — a combination of speed and a reliable contact bat. As an organization, the future looks bright with both Edman and Gorman as their middle infielders with a likely scenario of Edman moving to shortstop (where he played in college), but for now Edman is their superstar outside of Goldschmidt and is finally getting recognition he deserves.
Edman will always be a superstar defensively, but if he continues his enhanced hitting throughout the next month, he will become a first-time All-Star come July.
Right-handed pitcher Ryan Helsley
Ryan Helsley has been one of MLB’s most dominant relievers thus far this season. Yes, we’re walking about the guy that finished with a 5.25 ERA in 2020 and 4.56 ERA in 2021. This past offseason, Helsley underwent knee surgery to end his 2021 campaign. This was immediately following missed time due to an elbow injury. This season, Helsley has been healthy and has emerged as one of the game’s best relief pitchers.
In 17 games, the 27-year-old right handed relief pitcher has a 2-0 record, 0.42 ERA, a 0.52 WHIP, and 30 strikeouts. Most of the reason for his success is how overpowering his fastball has been for hitters at the plate.
There is no doubt in my mind, Helsley will become a first-time All-Star this year and it will be much deserved as he has been so exhilarating to watch on the mound for the Cardinals.
Right-handed pitcher Andre Pallante
If it wasn’t for Helsley’s dominance on the mound, more people would be talking about how good Pallante has been on the mound. In 29 innings pitched, Pallante has given up a lot of hits (29), but hasn’t allowed many runs (just four). His ERA currently sits at 1.23 and he has struck out 20 batters.
If hasn’t been the prettiest, but he has also been solid throughout the early part of this season. Formerly recognized as a top-30 prospect in all of baseball, Pallante has shown some noticeable improvements and given another month, if can keep his hits allowed and runs scored against down, Pallante could be added as a first-time All-Star.
On top of that, we could be having a discussion at the end of the year when it comes to NL Rookie of the Year. He has been stepping in a huge way for a struggling Cardinals’ pitching staff when it needed him to most and will likely be rewarded some way, shape, or fashion.