I've heard good and bad arguments for Stras-mas, as it has been called, to extend to the All Star game. The two best reasons I can come up with to support his inclusion are:
- The All Star game determines home field for the World Series, and Strasburg gives the NL a better chance at winning.
- Strasburg is a huge draw for the fans, and the All Star game, at the end of the day, is for the fans.
Where I start to have a bit of a problem with things is when you start to wonder how many players the Nationals will send to the game. While there are other guys manning third base with better numbers (David Wright, Scott Rolen, David Freese to name a few), I find it hard to go too deep down the list of NL thirdbasemen before you hit Ryan Zimmerman. He's been a solid player for a couple of years, but has been somewhat underrated after a strong rookie campaign. He's putting up his usual solid numbers this year, and is among the best in the game on defense. Does Strasburg get the nod over a full time player if only one Nat is representing the team in Anaheim? If I thought the fans would vote him as a starter, I'd feel differently, but I think a guy like Wright will be the starter on name recognition and his home market alone (although I'm not meaning to suggest he hasn't earned the spot).
I also think Tyler Clippard gets slighted if you put Strasburg on the team. Clippard has been a revelation out of the pen, and has become one of the best setup men in the game. It's equally a testament to his potential and an indictment of the Nationals' rotation to point out that Clippard is among the wins leaders in the NL, but I think it does warrant considering the former "Yankee Clippard" for a spot.
I do think the All Star game is meant to reward the players who have had a solid first half. By letting the fans determine the starters, you already routinely see undeserving players starting the game. So I don't think it's a slam dunk to hand a spot to a guy that didn't even make it to the majors until early June -- especially when it comes at the expense of a guy that's been getting it done since April 6th. Strasburg is an exciting talent, would be a huge draw for the fans, and likely bring a number of casual fans to the game. I'm just not sure I completely agree that it's the right thing to do for a game that has already been subject to some poor decisions on the commissioner's part.
Please join the debate and leave a comment.