Just a few years ago, the Philadelphia Phillies roster was stacked with a verifiable list of All-Star selections at every position. In fact, in the last five years dating back to the 2008 season, the Phillies have sent six starters, six pitchers and six reserves for a total of 18 selections in five seasons.
The Phillies were at the top of their division and one of the best in the NL for all but the 2012 season, so it makes sense that they had so much talent and so many All-Star selections.
However, despite the Phillies having three All-Stars in 2012, it was the first time since prior to the ’07 season, that the Phillies did not have one of their position players listed as a starter in the game.
It was a trend that seemed to mirror the 2012 season, as also for the first time since prior to ’07, the Phillies did not win the NL East and did not send a team to the postseason.
But the difference between the All-Star game and the postseason is that each team does not have to be represented in the playoffs. The All-Star game meanwhile, has a one-player-per-team rule that ensures at least one player from each team appears on the roster for the game.
So, of course, the Phillies will have at least that one All-Star, even if it is just to fill a quota.
If that quota were taken away, however, it would leave one to wonder if any of the 2013 Phillies’ would qualify as an All-Star. And, would any of them be worthy to be named a starter in the game?
Chase Utley is having a pretty good rebound season and leads all NL second basemen with 38 games played. While that is not exactly a stat worthy of earning an All-Star nod, Utley is also tied atop the league leaderboard in triples (2) and home runs (7). He has the highest OPS and SLG of any NL second basemen and is ranked in the top five of just about every other offensive category, including fourth in OBP, fifth in AVG, third in hits, fifth in runs and second in RBI and stolen bases.
Ryan Howard has also been solid this season and has begun to pick up his power numbers as of late. He is ranked third at his position in both doubles and home runs as well as in the top 10 of RBI, AVG, SLG and OPS. Once again, he is pacing all NL first basemen with a league-high 42 strikeouts.
Michael Young, the only other Phillie having a potentially All-Star worthy campaign, is just barely in the top 10 of most offensive categories. Specifically, he is blocked by both David Wright and Pablo Sandoval, the likely choices to start at third.
As for pitchers?
For the first time in a few years there really isn’t a bona fide starter from the bunch who should make the All-Star game. Kyle Kendrick, the best of the rotation this year, has a very outside shot as he is a little better than average in most pitching categories and ranks in the top 10 of most as well. If he continues to build on his early success, however, it would greatly improve his chances.
Although since the one player per team rule is in effect, if neither Utley or Howard makes the team, Kendrick would be the likely choice to fill this spot.
With the starters decided by fan vote, however, it does seem Utley has a great shot to once again make an All-Star roster. In fact, of the possible Phillies, he probably has the best chance.