It took an extra week, but the Oakland A’s got a second All-Star representative after all.
Pitcher Chris Bassitt was named to the 2021 American League All-Star team on Saturday, as one of several late replacements for players who are injured or will otherwise miss the game next week. Click here to see all 10 new additions, including four in the AL.
The selection of Bassitt is long overdue. The right-hander placed eighth in Cy Young voting last summer to put himself on the map and also had a memorable postseason performance to further establish himself. This season he’s backed up that breakout, ranking among the league leaders in everything from innings to strikeouts to ERA to FIP to WAR, while cementing himself as the ace of the rotation for a contending team whose biggest strength is its starting pitching.
- Bassitt: 3.41 ERA, 111 ip, 115 Ks, 28 BB, 11 HR, 3.42 FIP, .292 xwOBA
Beginning at the end of 2019, he went on a streak of 28 straight starts without allowing more than four runs in a game, which finally snapped in his most recent outing in Houston. In 18 starts this year he’s allowed more than two runs just five times, and for what it’s worth in old-school All-Star discussions he sports a 9-2 record.
It’s been a long path to the Midsummer Classic for the 32-year-old Bassitt. He was acquired by the A’s ahead of the 2015 season and looked like a promising young starter, but Tommy John surgery derailed him in early-2016 and it took over two full years to get back to the majors. When he did return to MLB he had to toil as a swingman for a while until he forced his way into the rotation permanently. Now he’s one of the best in the league.
Even after all that, and the Cy Young votes last year, and the great numbers this season, Bassitt was still snubbed from the initial All-Star roster while several inferior AL starters got nods over him. But at least he got his deserved call eventually too — and the record books don’t make any distinction about how you made the team, just that you made it.
With Bassitt now on board, Oakland has two representatives this summer. First baseman Matt Olson was previously named as a reserve position player, and will also participate in the Home Run Derby on Monday. The All-Star Game itself will be held Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. PT, at Coors Field in Colorado.
Congrats to Bassitt on his first career All-Star berth!