Happy Tuesday, Athletics Nation!
We are less than a month away from the 2022 MLB All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium on July 19. While you can go right now to mlb.com and vote for an Athletic to fill every position on the American League starting lineup, the chances of any member of the A’s pulling into the lead in the popular vote is slim to none. Especially as the provided ballot still shows Kevin Smith as the A’s third base option, even though he’s been in AAA Las Vegas for over a week.
A look at the A’s lineup is pretty uninspiring when it comes to All-Star potential. The players who are hitting the best for the A’s would get slotted into the bottom half of the order on most other teams. While Stephen Vogt and Jed Lowrie have represented the Athletics in years past and Elvis Andrus repped the Rangers twice, all of their current numbers are far from where they stood when they made their previous All-Star appearances. Even Sean Murphy, who is coming off a Gold Glove season last year, has barely managed to bat above .200 as June nears its end.
It’s a similar outlook for the bullpen, though there could be some shaky cases made for Dany Jimenez or Sam Moll or A.J. Puk. Usually relievers that make it to the Midsummer Classic tend to be having elite years like the Blue Jays’ Jordan Romano or the Yankees’ Clay Holmes. But the Athletics are guaranteed a representative, just like every other team. While it’s a hard task to pin any batter or reliever, the most likely source for this year’s rep is the rotation.
Of the five A’s starters, the most likely to end up in Los Angeles on July 19 is either Frankie Montas or Paul Blackburn. They’re the two pitchers that have had consistent success on the year, with Blackburn leading the team in rWAR, and Montas leading in fWAR. The one wrinkle that can be thrown into the mix is the long-discussed possibility of a trade. Montas trade rumours have abounded since the winter lockout, and whispers of an unlikely Blackburn trade have even popped up in the last little bit.
My money is that Blackburn makes the team, and not just because Montas may end up in a 2014 Jeff Samardzija scenario. Blackburn’s successful turn has been an exciting story, just as his ability to hang out at the top of the ERA leaderboards has been. It’s the exact sort of story that players and the commissioner’s office may latch onto when they flesh out the AL roster.
It won’t be too long until we find out who the A’s send to LA. The elected starters for each league are announced on July 8, and the player’s vote and commissioner’s office selections for reserves (with each team represented by at least one player) are announced July 10.
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Best of Twitter
As a Canadian, I’ve gotta say that this seems poorly thought out. Even if the Jays are playing in Oakland on July 4th.
The kid’s a negotiator
Did this kid hire Scott Boras between innings? pic.twitter.com/A0J1ohUdj3— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) June 20, 2022
Maybe I haven’t been paying attention to Kotsay’s lineups close enough
Wait … the A’s signed Candice Bergen? pic.twitter.com/xxoAdt4LKN— Daniel Brown (@BrownieAthletic) June 20, 2022
He threw the second-fastest throw of the entire Cubs/Pirates game... from shortstop... in his first MLB game of the season. Oneil Cruz is gonna be a fun one to watch.
3 innings into his 2022 debut, @Pirates' Oneil Cruz has registered:— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) June 21, 2022
☠️The hardest throw by an infielder in @MLB this year (96.7 mph)
☠️The hardest hit ball of the year by a Pirate (112.9)
☠️The 3 fastest sprint speeds of the year by a Pirate (31.5, 30.7, 30.3) pic.twitter.com/nScTK5mD4A