This is a continuation of a piece I wrote in May, highlighting players that were most deserving of an All-Star spot. In that article I focused completely on position players, though, so in this piece I will highlight only starting pitchers.
I'm going to split it into two parts; I'll do AL starters today and NL starters tomorrow.
We're still close to a month away from the All-Star game, so of course some of my choices will most definitely change before we reach mid-July.
As always, keep in mind that all of this is subjective to opinion, so feel free to share your thoughts on my picks, and if you'd like, share who your picks would me. I'm always interested to hear contrasting ideas.
Zack Greinke has always had a lot of talent, but that potential had never really materialized until this season. He was solid in 2008, yes, but those numbers don't even compare to the type of stats he is putting up thus far in 2009.
Not only did he start the season by throwing 38 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run, but he also has an absolutely ridiculous K:BB ratio of 97:16.
Greinke (8-2) has given up two runs or fewer in 10 of his 13 starts, and is sporting a 1.72 ERA with a WHIP under 1.00. It doesn't really matter what Greinke does for the next month, he's pretty much a shoo-in to make the AL All-Star team, probably as the starter.
Putting up monster numbers is nothing new for Doc or his fans, but that does not take away from the impressive year he's having.
He leads all of baseball in wins with 10, and in innings pitched with 103 already. He's also near the top in strikeouts with 88, and ERA at 2.53.
Halladay gives his team a good shot at winning every time he goes out there, and is certainly performing well enough to make the All-Star team.
He was recently placed on the 15-day disabled list, but as long as he's healthy before the break, count on seeing him in St. Louis.
It's becoming clear that 2008 was a fluke for Justin Verlander, and he appears to be back at full force in 2009.
Trailing only the Giants' Tim Lincecum in strikeouts, Verlander is blowing away hitters at an astounding rate. He also has a very respectable ERA at 3.39, and an impressive record of 7-3.
He and teammate Edwin Jackson have given a much-needed boost to Detroit's rotation, and if they could find a way to get Dontrelle Willis and/or Armando Galarraga back on track, the Tigers could be quite a force.
I'm pleased to be able to write completely free of bias that Felix Hernandez should be an All-Star. The King is finally earning his nickname in 2009, putting up great numbers while flashing brilliance in a good portion of his starts.
There really isn't any strong argument against him—He has a good record (7-3), a great ERA (2.77), and a lot of strikeouts (90).
If things go as they should, Hernandez will be making his first of many All-Star appearances this year at the age of 23.
It's amazing what a change of scenery can do. Last season in Tampa Bay, Edwin Jackson was a mediocre, back-of-the-rotation pitcher.
In Detroit this year, he's looking like a true ace.
A big part of Jackson's success this season has been his devastating slider, which has baffled hitters left and right.
With a 2.24 ERA, 6-3 record, and the utter dominance he has shown, there's no reason he shouldn't make the team.
Jered Weaver has held together an Angels rotation that has been through incredible ups and downs.
From the untimely death of Nick Adenhart to the injuries that knocked out three-fifths of the starting staff, Weaver's consistently stellar pitching has anchored a rotation that improbably stands near the top of the league in ERA.
Who would have thought that, on a team containing John Lackey and Ervin Santana, Jeff Weaver's little brother would be performing better than anyone?
Weaver doesn't get a whole lot of attention, and he's not real flashy, but he goes out there every start and gets the job done, a huge contributor to most of the success his team is having.
He's got a 7-2 record, a 2.08 ERA (second best in the Majors), and 74 strikeouts. He deserves to make the team as much as almost anybody.
In no particular order:
C.C. Sabathia, NYY
Erik Bedard, SEA
Jarrod Washburn, SEA
Mark Buehrle, CWS
Gil Meche, KC
Kevin Slowey, MIN
Josh Beckett, BOS
Matt Garza, TB
Cliff Lee, CLE
Tim Wakefield, BOS
Kevin Millwood, TEX
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