Stephen Strasburg is one of the most hyped pitchers baseball has seen in a long time. So far, he's shown his dominance in his first three outings, and seems to be living up to the hype. In fact, some columnists, such as MLB.com's Mike Bauman, are saying that Strasburg should be in the All-Star game on July 13.
It's the funniest thing I've heard this week. There are a mountain of reasons why he shouldn't get the nod, many of which have already been mentioned. First off, he's pitched in three games. Let that sink in a bit. He's played great in those three games, of course, but putting in someone that new just doesn't make sense.
Are we going to put Carlos Santana in the All-Star game too? He's hitting nearly .400 in his first nine career games. Even Mike Leake may not get in, but at least he's been performing the entire season and not two weeks.
Also, keep in mind who he's faced. He played against the Pittsburgh Pirates (poor hitting team), the Cleveland Indians (poor hitting team), and the Chicago White Sox (poor hitting team). Strasburg better be playing well against them. He'll be playing next against the Kansas City Royals and the Atlanta Braves, who are much better hitting teams. If he wound up 4-0 at the end of that with a 1.50 ERA, that would look a lot better.
Even if he did that though, I wouldn't put him in for one reason: The starters in the National League are dominant this year. Aside from Ubaldo Jimenez, you have Josh Johnson, Roy Halladay, Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia, and about eight other possibilities in the NL West alone. There's so many options for Charlie Manuel to pick from that Strasburg won't be in that list.
Looking through some of the arguments for having him in the All-Star game, my thoughts don't change at all. Among them are, "it would be a more popular All-Star Game with him," "it's the 32 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings," along with others. The All-Star game is supposed to recognize the best, not the most popular. If we were going to pick based on hype and popularity, then half the players this year would be rookies this year.
Yet, looking at the MLB.com poll, 40% say that he should be in it.
He's been amazing so far. I get that. He's going to be in many All-Star games in his career. Putting him in one after he's played against three bottom-rung teams is just ridiculous though. Let him continue to perform before we even speak of this. If he can dominate against Kansas City and Atlanta, then I'll at least consider the possibility.
Until he performs over a long period of time (more than a handful of starts), let's not give him more credit than he deserves. He's going to have a great career. We don't have to exhaust our praise of him now.
After all, for every Juan Marichal, there's a Dwight Gooden and three Karl Spooner's. He's had an amazing minor league rise and first three starts, but that's what they are: his first three starts. That does not equal an All-Star appearance.