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Strasburg and the All-Star Game

Posted By Dave Cameron On June 25, 2010 @ 4:34 pm In Daily Graphings | 142 Comments

The first four starts of Stephen Strasburg‘s career couldn’t have gone much better. His xFIP is a disgusting 1.36, and in just 25 innings of work, he’s amassed 1.2 WAR, which would extrapolate out to a +10 win season if he had started the year in the big leagues. And yet, you can’t realistically make a statistical case that Strasburg should make the all-star team this year. He just hasn’t pitched enough to overcome all the starters who have been performing well for their teams since opening day. He’s not even in the top 30 among NL starters in WAR right now.

But he should make the team anyway.

Despite Major League Baseball’s attempts to make it “count,” the All-Star Game just isn’t as interesting as it used to be. The game is a mid-season exhibition, and both players and fans treat it as such. It lost any remaining credibility as a contest in 2002, when the game ended in a tie. And perhaps the last great, organic moment at the ASG that wasn’t immediately ruined by a brutal speech from the commissioner was the Randy Johnson-John Kruk match-up in 1993.

Since it doesn’t really count, the game needs interesting stories, and there is no more interesting story in baseball right now that Stephen Strasburg. Attendance is way up when he pitches, and for good reason – he’s the best show going right now.

Really, who would you be more likely to watch pitch the 5th inning in Anaheim in two weeks – Strasburg or Matt Cain? Honestly, unless you’re a die-hard Giants fan, the answer is Strasburg for practically all of us.

No, he hasn’t earned it as much as Cain (or other pitchers) have. It won’t be fair to whatever pitcher gets left off the squad to make room for the guy with a handful of starts. I know that, and I’m still okay with him making the team, because having him in the game instantly makes it interesting again.

The all-star game is glorified theatre. There’s no more interesting actor than Strasburg. Put him on the big stage and make the game fun to watch again.


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