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Zero Phillies positions players on pace to be elected to All-Star Game

By Tim Kelly, Sports Talk Philly editor

For much of the first two months of the 2018 season, it felt as though the Philadelphia Phillies were a lock to have multiple All-Stars for the first time since 2013. While that possibility still exists, it's perhaps not as much of a lock as it seemed a few weeks ago. 

MLB Communications released the first update in All-Star voting Monday, and zero Phillies position players are currently in position to be selected to the National League All-Star team: 

On May 17, Odubel Herrera was leading the National League with a .361 batting average. At that time, it appeared to be a matter of whether Herrera would be a starter or a reserve for the National League All-Star team. However, since Herrera's 45-game on-base streak was snapped on May 20, his batting average has dipped to .288, a nearly 75-point drop in less than a month.

Additionally, Herrera, who has traditionally been a Gold Glove caliber fielder, has seen a dip in his defensive metrics in 2018. A year after posting a 7.6 UZR, Herrera currently has a -1.5 UZR. He also has -2 defensive runs saved, after posting four defensive runs saved in 2017. Of course, it may be giving the average All-Star voter too much credit to assume that they are aware of Herrera's declining defensive metrics in center field. 

Herrera isn't entirely out of the All-Star voting picture in the outfield, but he appears to be a long-shot at this juncture. 

Gabe Kapler vouched for Cesar Hernandez's All-Star case earlier this month, but the early returns for the 28-year-old second baseman's All-Star case aren't good either. With Joey Votto not currently on pace to make the All-Star team, Scooter Gennett of the Cincinnati Reds, probably deservingly so, appears to be a lock to be one of the second baseman selected. He may be the Reds only selection. It's not surprising that he, Asdrubal Cabrera or Ozzie Albies find themselves in the hunt for an All-Star spot. It's perhaps a minor shock that Hernandez isn't one of the top five second baseman. 

Hernandez, who currently leads all second baseman with 44 walks, has seen his batting average dip to .265. Still, an increase in walks has helped him to stay third among all qualified second baseman in on-base percentage. He also continues to grade out well as a fielder. Is he worthy of being an All-Star? Probably not. Is he worthy of being in the top five in National League voting at second base? You bet. 

It is worth pointing out that fans don't vote for what pitchers make the All-Star team. Aaron Nola - who currently is 7-2 with a 2.35 ERA and 2.4 fWAR - would need to have one of the worst stretches of his career to not be selected to the National League All-Star team. 

Even beyond Nola, the Phillies have three other pitchers that could draw consideration.

Even though Seranthony Dominguez wasn't called up until May, the 23-year-old has been lights out since his promotion to the major leagues. In 14 games, Dominguez has a 1.50 ERA, a 10.50 K/9, two saves and a 0.8 fWAR. His dominance will force Dave Roberts and the National League coaching staff to consider him for the team. 

Propelled by an incredible month of May in which he posted a 0.90 ERA in five starts, Jake Arrieta is also a candidate. Arrieta is currently 5-4 with a 2.97 ERA and a 1.4 fWAR. Still, a few things will work against the former Cy Young Award winner. The first is that another member of his rotation, Nola, has been unquestionably better than him. Secondly, his 3.51 FIP and 4.02 xFIP suggest he hasn't been quite as good as some of his traditional statistics would lead you to believe. 

Nick Pivetta will run into the opposite issue as Arrieta. While he too may be penalized for being in a rotation with Nola, his 2.94 FIP is fifth among National League starters. His 1.8 fWAR is seventh among National League starters. Unfortunately for Pivetta, he's been rather unlucky and has a 3.76 ERA, which will keep him out of the discussion in the mind of some more traditional minds. 

In any event, it appears as if there's a real chance that Nola is the Phillies lone All-Star representative. That would make it five consecutive seasons in which the Phillies only had one All-Star. If the Phillies are going to send two player to the All-Star Game for the first time since 2013 - when Cliff Lee and Domonic Brown both represented the Phillies at Citi Field - it appears as though a second pitcher will have to make an All-Star push in the next few weeks. 


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