Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will have a healthy bundle of pitchers to choose from to start the All-Star Game for the NL on July 17. The only problem is he won’t have anyone on his team to choose from, unlike AL manager AJ Hinch. Even though Roberts will have to pick a pitcher from another team in the NL, it’s nothing to fret about. The NL houses some of the best pitchers in the game, especially this season, which is why Roberts can’t go wrong with whoever he chooses.
It’s easy to say one pitcher will more than likely get the nod, even if a Dodgers pitcher was in the mix, but even then one can’t rule out the others behind this pitcher. It won’t be an easy decision but either way, Roberts can’t go wrong with these five arms. So, which five starting pitchers could Roberts slate into the starting role in less than three weeks? Let’s look.
1 Max Scherzer- Washington Nationals
2018 stats: 10-4, 2.04 ERA, 165 K
Even if the All-Star Game wasn’t in Washington DC this summer, Nationals ace Max Scherzer would still be a heavy favorite for the nod to start the game. Though he has four losses, with three coming in his last four starts, Scherzer has been dominant on the mound all year long. He hasn’t allowed over four earned runs in all of his starts and has only failed to go six innings once.
Scherzer also leads the NL in just about every major Cy Young category at this point in the season, making him an early favorite to win his third Cy Young Award. It’s also worth mentioning he has very comfortable leads in some categories. His 0.85 WHIP is 12 points better than St. Louis Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas, who’s in second. His 165 strikeouts are also the best in the league, with Arizona Diamondbacks starter Patrick Corbin behind him with 129. Scherzer has been filthy good all season, so why wouldn’t he get the nod in front of his home crowd?
2 Jacob deGrom- New York Mets
2018 stats- 5-3, 1.69 ERA, 126 K
It’s safe to say 2018 has been a forgettable year for the Mets, minus their hot start to the season. The only positivity the Mets have had this year is the success from their starting pitcher Jacob deGrom, whose 1.69 ERA is an MLB best and an NL best by 35 points to Scherzer. deGrom may have a 5-3 record in 16 starts, but that hasn’t taken away from his brilliance on the mound.
deGrom has done a fantastic job all year in keeping runners away from scoring and keeping the ball in the yard. He’s allowed a league-best 19 earned runs and five home runs in 101.1 innings pitched. His 11.19 K/9 is fourth in the NL and his HR/9 of 0.44 is best in the NL and second in the league, only behind Cleveland Indians Trevor Bauer. deGrom’s success may get tainted by an awful Mets club but there’s no doubt he’ll represent the club in Washington DC this summer, and could be the starter.
3 Jon Lester- Chicago Cubs
2018 stats: 10-2, 2.18 ERA, 74 K
Oddly enough, Chicago Cubs southpaw Jon Lester hasn’t been striking out batters this year, with just 74 all season. However, his 2.18 ERA is fourth best in the NL and he’s tied with Scherzer for first in wins. At 34 years old, Lester hasn’t lost his form, and he continues to dominate on the mound while arguably putting up his best career season. While the Cubs have been battling injuries for most of the year, along with inconsistency on offense, Lester has kept the club within reach in the NL Central.
Lester’s walk rate is at an alarmingly high 3.03 BB/9 and his K/9 sits at 7.01 but his ability to leave runners on base has made him successful. With a LOB% of 86.2, Lester leads the NL in that department and is second behind Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander in all baseball. Lester may be older, but he’s quietly had a phenomenal season after a mediocre 2017. The four-time All-Star is making a strong case yet again, but this could be the first time in his career he gets to start the game itself.
4 Aaron Nola- Philadelphia Phillies
2018 stats: 10-2, 2.48 ERA, 107 K
Phillies young phenom Aaron Nola is having a career year as it appears all the pieces are falling into place. The 25-year-old right-hander is fifth in the NL in ERA and tied for second in the league with nine wins while recording two losses in 16 starts. The Phillies have had issues with consistently winning games, but Nola has kept the club in the mix for a playoff berth all season.
Nola averages 8.83 K/9 and has also done a great job with leaving runners on base, which measures at 79.2%. He also has one of the best HR/9 at 0.50 and is tied with Atlanta Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz for second in home runs allowed at six. Nola has been impressive to watch all season and with the Phillies in the heat of the division race, it doesn’t hurt to say Roberts could pick Nola to start the Midsummer Classic this year.
5 Miles Mikolas- St. Louis Cardinals
2018 stats: 8-2, 2.69 ERA, 71 K
The Cardinals couldn’t have seen this coming when they signed Miles Mikolas in the offseason. The last time Mikolas pitched in the majors was with the Texas Rangers in 2014 when he posted a 6.44 ERA in 10 starts. Mikolas went to Japan after that season to rediscover himself, and boy did he. The 29-year-old has looked like an ace for the Cardinals, a team that has struggled to win consistently.
Mikolas is second in the league in WHIP at 0.97 and has the best WAR on the team at 2.1. Mikolas’s stellar start to the season has been recognized throughout the league and he’s a sure bet to represent the Cardinals next month at the All-Star Game. We can’t say this is legit, but a number that doesn't lie is he leads the league with 12 walks allowed this season, showing the only way hitters reach against him is if they make contact with the baseball.
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