Three Dodgers Named to All-Star Team
By Alex Campos
Three Dodgers were named to the National League All-Star Team for next week’s game in San Diego.
Clayton Kershaw was as close to a lock for All-Star status as could be, and he was probably the most deserving pitcher to start the All-Star game next Tuesday in San Diego. He rebounded from a “down” year last year and has gone demi-God mode on the competition. His 1.79 ERA is a skosh higher than it was in his MVP 2014 season, but his FIP is a very nice 1.69, compared to 1.81 in 2014. Kershaw has struck out 145 batters and walked nine. He has as many games without a walk (eight) as he does with a walk and in his last start, he walked more than one batter for the first time, but the second was obviously intentional.
Kershaw will not participate in the All-Star game due to his back injury, but he was still named an All-Star for the sixth straight year. Can I be the first person to claim his injury came from carrying the team on his back all year? No one else has said that right?
The other two Dodgers to be named to the All-Star team are both first time All-Stars that have taken very different paths. Rookie Corey Seager was named to the All-Star team, but lost out on the fan vote to Cubs’ shortstop Addison Russell. Seager finished third, behind Russell and Trevor Story. Russell is phenomenal defensively, but the Cubs fans showed out to vote and Seager had to be selected as a reserve despite leading NL shortstops in fWAR (3.9, only behind Manny Machado‘s 4.0). Seager owns a .305/.363/.540 triple slash and has 17 homers, only behind Story, Danny Espinosa and Machado (who shouldn’t even count as a SS). Reminder, Seager turned 22 in April. Good thing he’s not doing this in Philly or Detroit.
The other Dodger All-Star is closer Kenley Jansen, who somehow is making his first All-Star team in his fifth season as the Dodgers’ closer. WAR is often imperfect with relievers, but Jansen is the second best reliever in terms of fWAR (1.9, only behind Dellin Betances). The next closest NL reliever, Seung-hwan Oh, has a 1.3 fWAR, so there’s quite a gap between Jansen and the rest of the NL field.
Jansen has had a few stretches where his cutter wasn’t cutting and Melvin Upton was destroying him, but Jansen has been great all year. In 34.2 innings, Jansen has a 1.30 ERA/1.44 FIP and has 44 strikeouts and only five walks. Jansen is 25/28 in save opportunities and has been the top dog in what has arguably been the best bullpen in the NL. He recently became the Dodgers’ franchise leader in saves, and his 10.1 fWAR since 2012 is only lower among relievers than that of Aroldis Chapman and Craig Kimbrel.
Next: Dodgers Orioles Game Two Preview
All-Star festivities kick off on Monday with the Home Run Derby. The All-Star game is Tuesday, and the Dodgers continue play next Friday in Arizona.