When the Cincinnati Reds decided to give Alfredo Simon the nod for a spot in the starting rotation at the outset of the season in replacement of Mat Latos, no one would’ve expected that Simon would be leading the NL in wins by the All-Star break with 12.
Nor would anyone have thought that Simon would be seventh in the NL with an ERA of 2.70.
But that’s exactly what the former waiver-wire cast-off of the Baltimore Orioles has done in 2014.
Initially, Simon’s stellar first half of the season wasn’t enough to land an All-Star spot with the NL pitching staff. But given the fact that teammate Johnny Cueto most likely won’t be pitching in the All-Star game due to his upcoming Sunday start, the NL may end up tapping Simon to come join the team.
Simon has had a somewhat star-crossed rise to the top of his game at the age of 33. His career was nearly derailed in 2011 when he faced murder charges in the Dominican Republic for an accidental fatal shooting. Then this year, Simon was named in a civil lawsuit alleging sexual assault last April.
Despite the off-field issues, Simon has maintained his focus and command for the entire season. Only twice has Simon surrendered more than three earned runs this year, and he’s given up two or fewer earned runs in 12 of his 18 starts.
There’s no question that Simon’s pitching earned him serious consideration for being named to the All-Star game. Now that Cueto and other NL All-Star pitchers — Madison Bumgarner, Julio Teheran and Tyson Ross — may all start the Sunday before the All-Star game, Simon might get the All-Star spot he’s definitely deserved this year.