Houston Astros: 5 Most Likely All-Star Representatives
For those unaware, voting for the All-Star game is underway and you can cast your vote here. Don't worry if you haven't had a chance to vote for your favorite players, as voting will be open until the end of June.
However, because of the Houston Astros poor start, they will most likely only get the minimum one representative. That doesn't mean there isn't a deserving player. I have come up with five Astros who are the most likely and deserving to be an All-Star in 2011.
Wandy Rodriguez is currently on the DL with an injury to his left elbow but is off to one of the best starts his career. He currently has a 3-3 record with a 3.21 ERA and averages 7.23 strikeouts per nine innings pitched. He leads the Astros in ERA for starters and has become a workhorse for this staff. He averages 103.8 pitches per start and averages the most innings per start.
This year is one of Wandy's best chances to pitch in the All-Star game because he has generally been a slow starter and pitches much better in the second half.
Bud Norris has had a great start to 2011, becoming a strikeout machine and one of the top two pitchers for the Astros. In 11 starts this season, Norris is only 2-4 but has a 3.76 ERA and averages 103.6 pitches per outing and 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings.
Norris is tied for 15th in the majors in strikeouts this season and has more strikeouts than pitchers like CC Sabathia, Tommy Hanson and Chris Carpenter. What is even more impressive is that his K/9 of 9.8 ranks fifth in the majors, which is better than Cole Hamels and Tim Lincecum.
Brett Wallace had some big shoes to fill when he took over for Lance Berkman last year, and he did struggle for the last half of 2010. The 2011 season has been a completely different story for the Astros' first baseman. This season he is hitting .316 with four home runs and 17 RBI. He also has a team leading .385 OBP, which is good for 10th in the National League.
The speedy leadoff man for the Astros is also having a good start to the 2011 season. He currently leads the National League with 22 stolen bases and has only been caught twice, to go along with a .273 average and 60 hits.
Bourn is a key part of the Astros offense but a lot of his value comes from his defensive abilities. He only has one error on the year good for a fielding percentage of .992. He should get an All-Star nomination for having to deal with that hill in center field of Minute Maid Park for that reason alone.
Hunter Pence is my choice to represent the Astros this season at the All-Star game. He leads the Astros in hits, home runs, RBI and batting average.
Pence's stats so far this season are even good enough for tops in the National League. His .317 batting average is eighth in the NL, his 73 hits ranks second, he is tied for first with 17 doubles, and currently sits in second with 43 RBI. There is no reason that Hunter Pence shouldn't be an All-Star this year.