Dodgers: 4 players who could be first-time All-Stars in 2021

Jason Reed
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 24: Will Smith #16 and Julio Urias #7 of the Los Angeles Dodgers head to the dugout prior to Game Four of the 2020 MLB World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Globe Life Field on October 24, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 24: Will Smith #16 and Julio Urias #7 of the Los Angeles Dodgers head to the dugout prior to Game Four of the 2020 MLB World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Globe Life Field on October 24, 2020 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

1. Victor Gonzalez

The Dodgers reliever could be one of the best in the league

A non-closing reliever making the All-Star Game? That sounds far-fetched, right?

Well, it does not happen all that often, but it certainly does happen. Ryan Pressly made the American League All-Star Game roster in 2019 despite not being the closer of the Houston Astros. At the All-Star Break, he had a 1.31 ERA.

Victor Gonzalez would have to have a really good season in order to become a first-time All-Star, and while he is a sleeper pick, it still is in the realm of possibility. Gonzalez was really good for the Dodgers last season and, quite frankly, was better than people may realize.

The wipeout southpaw had a 1.33 ERA in 20.1 innings pitched last season with a 0.738 WHIP and 23 strikeouts. There were only two pitchers in MLB with a better WHIP than Gonzalez with at least 20 innings pitched — NL Rookie of the Year Devin Williams and AL Reliever of the Year (with Cy Young and MVP votes) Liam Hendriks.

Gonzalez quietly had the third-best season by a reliever in baseball last year and nobody realized. He did not even get a single vote for NL Rookie of the Year.

Now, it was a small sample size, but we have every reason to believe that it will continue. First of all, the Dodgers trusted him in high-leverage situations in the playoffs and he delivered. Gonzalez allowed just two runs in 6.2 IP in the MLB Playoffs in 2020.

Second of all, the advanced numbers are extremely favorable for Gonzalez. Per Baseball Savant, Gonzalez ranked in the 99th percentile in xERA, xwOBA, xSLG and the 96th percentile in xBA. Simply put: he was elite.

Yeah, relievers can make All-Star Games and Victor Gonzalez has the stuff to get there.

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