Just another example of the increased dominance of pitchers over even just a few years ago. Interestingly, the Tigers, Yankees and Phillies ranked #9, 11 and 12 in ERA last year. There are, of course, many other factors that go into how many runs a team gives (including the type of park they play in), but I would expect teams with a 3.00+ K/BB this year to have a decent ERA.
With 750 players on 30 MLB teams, only a small percentage of them are selected as All-Stars. Inevitably, several of those stars having good seasons are left off the All-Star roster despite putting up stellar first-half numbers.
Quite a few new names could finally have their names called out as All-Star selections in 2013. Here are five such players who could be among those names called.
1. Brett Lawrie: Toronto Blue Jays
Third baseman Brett Lawrie got off to a promising start in his Toronto Blue Jays career, hitting .293 with nine home runs in 43 games after his call-up from the minors in 2011. He backed that up by hitting .273 with 11 home runs and 48 RBI in 2012, showing fans a passion and penchant for going all-out on every play.
The 2013 season could be the year that Lawrie breaks through with an All-Star selection. Considering he’ll be enhanced by a vastly improved offense around him in Toronto, it’s a distinct possibility.
2. Jonathon Lucroy: Milwaukee Brewers
Catcher Jonathan Lucroy was on his way to a special season last year when he was placed on the disabled list courtesy of a broken hand suffered while retrieving a suitcase in his hotel room. Lucroy was hitting .345 with five HR and 30 RBI at the time of his accident.
A healthy and productive first half could very well see Lucroy playing at Citi Field in New York in mid-July for the National League All-Star team.
3. Allen Craig: St. Louis Cardinals
While he started the season late, St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Allen Craig finished the 2012 season with impressive numbers. Craig hit .307 with 22 HR and 92 RBIs in 119 games.
Craig is now a key component in a potent Cardinals’ offense and could be rewarded with an All-Star selection if he produces in the first half of 2013 in the same manner in which he ended last season.
4. Austin Jackson: Detroit Tigers
The Detroit Tigers were patient with young center fielder Austin Jackson, allowing him to progress through growing pains in his first two seasons.
Their patience paid off, as Jackson put together a career year in 2012, hitting .300 with 16 HR, 66 RBI and a league-leading 10 triples. At just 26 years of age, Jackson gives the Tigers plenty of promise for the future, and with that promise will likely garner All-Star selections as well.
5. Salvador Perez: Kansas City Royals
The Kansas City Royals were so enamored with young catcher Salvador Perez that they rewarded him with a five-year, $7 million contract following his brief but impressive debut in 2011. Perez hit a robust .331 with three HR and 21 RBI in 39 games following his call-up from the minors.
Perez’s 2012 season got off to a miserable after a knee injury during spring training required surgery. Perez finally made it back in late June and managed to hit .301 with 11 HR and 39 RBIs.
Perez is without question one of the rising young stars behind the plate in the American League, and his time to shine in the All-Star Game could come as early as this season.
This is a guest post submitted by Ally Silva. Ally played all kinds of sports growing up and adamantly follows everything sports now, particularly Chicago sports. She works with Phoenix Bats, a company that creates world-class wooden bats for amateur and professional ball players around the world. Ally loves writing on different sports topics and is very grateful to be able to contribute here.
Pre All Star Break 2012 (min. 60 inn.)
Cliff Lee (Phillies) 4.90, 9.06
R.A. Dickey (Mets) 4.73, 9.23
Stephen Strasburg (Nationals) 4.57, 11.64
Zack Greinke (Angels) 4.27, 9.00
Cole Hamels (Phillies) 4.07, 9.00
Post All Star Break 2012 (min. 60 inn.)
James Shields (Rays) 4.75, 9.41
Marco Estrada (Brewers) 4.63, 9.07
David Price (Rays) 4.55, 9.06
Jeff Samardzija (Cubs) 4.21, 9.82
Max Scherzer (Tigers) 4.07, 10.96
Most of the names here are not a surprise. It includes both Cy Young winners from last year and most of the pitchers are well established. The exceptions are Marco Estrada and Jeff Samardzija, who combined to go 14-20 last year and are a combined 30-38 in their career.
They are both primed for breakout seasons after finishing so strong in 2012. It might be easier for Estrada to win games, though, because the Brewers were 3rd in runs scored last year (and finished 83-79), while the dreadful Cubs were 28th in runs scored (and 61-101).