With the Midsummer Classic around the corner (four weeks away to be exact) and the All-Star voting coming to a close shortly, the fans are in full conversation on who should be representing their team in Arizona this year.
This post is not saying all five players should be on the All-Star Team. In fact, it’s naming the five Phillies who have stood out in the first half of baseball and are on pace to make the All-Star team in July.
Though three should be locks, the other two have a chance to be picked by Bruce Bochy and his two coaches.
SP Roy Halladay – 16 starts, 9-3, 2.51 ERA, 118.1 IP, 4 CG, 119 strike outs
As expected, Halladay is having the best season of the Phillies four aces. Tied for a team high in wins (9) and ERA (2.51) with fellow All-Star bound Cole Hamels, Halladay is also leading the National League in innings pitched, complete games and strike outs.
Halladay has given the Phillies the best chance to win in each of his 16 starts. And as a perennial All-Star who has started games for both the NL and American League, Halladay has put himself into the discussion for starter once again this year.
SP Cole Hamels – 15 starts, 9-3, 2.51 ERA, 104.0 IP, 1 CG, 103 strike outs
As predicted in the beginning of the season, Hamels is blowing through teams. Without the pressure of being the staff ace or even number two, Hamels is the fourth man in the Phillies quartet of aces and he’s pitching like the number two he was last season before Roy Oswalt’s presence.
Hamels has had the luxury to be matched up with other teams’ third and fourth pitchers, giving him the best chance at winning because his offense will face a weaker pitcher. But Hamels has proven he doesn’t need the run support, as his 2.51 ERA shows along with his 103 strike outs.
Hamels has adopted a wicked cutter to go with his strong fastball and his bred-and-butter pitch, the change-up. And the most surprising new weapon in his arsenal, the curve ball, turned from his Achilles’ Heel to one of his best weapons.
3B Placido Polanco – .291 avg, 30 R, 10 2B, 4 HR, 39 RBI
Polanco’s ticket to the ASG is the fact he’s leading all third basemen in fan voting. Polanco’s average cooled down to a .291, which is ninth among 3rd players at the hot corner. He’s also fifth in RBI’s and tied 16th in home runs.
But where Polanco isn’t blowing things wide open with offense, he’s doing in the field. The former second basemen is one of the surest gloves in the majors and he’s quieted the critics about his arm. His .968 percentage is sixth among 3B who have played at least 60 games and first for those who have played at least 70.
CF Shane Victorino – .297 avg, 44 R, 10 2B, 7 3B, 8 HR, 28 RBI
Victorino has recently been on a tear and is putting himself in good position to make the team as one of Bochy’s bench players or a candidate for the final spot voted by fans. He’s hitting .395 with two homers and eight RBIs and in the span, seven of his 17 hits were for extra bases.
Victorino also adds in the speed he has on the bases and in centerfield. As a former Gold Glover, Victorino has earned himself the reputation as one of the games elite fielders. His speed on the bases has also made him a threat to steal bases and create scoring opportunities. He’s leading the Phils with 44 runs scored and is second with 11 stolen bases (Jimmy Rollins has 15).
CL Ryan Madson – 31 appearances, 3-1, 2.03 ERA, 15/16 saves, 31.0 IP, 34 strike outs
Madson has turned himself into a full blown closer this season. Closing out 15 of his 16 games, Madson’s percentage (.936) is third in baseball.
This season, the starter-turned-reliever-turned-setup man-turned-closer-turned-setup-turned-closer-turned-setup-turned-closer (breath) finally found his niche when Brad Lidge started the season on the DL (still is) and when Jose Contreras went down with an injury. Now with Madson’s confidence through the roof as a closer, he’s poised to be the man, even when Lidge finally returns.