Many things about baseball were missed last season due to the coronavirus pandemic that shut down professional sports for months. As a result of the virus, Major League Baseball shortened the 2020 season to 60 games and did not start playing ball until mid-summer, when the All-Star break usually occurs. There was no All-Star Game last year, and this year’s festivities have already been the center of controversy. In the midst of the Georgia state government passing what are considered discriminatory voting laws, MLB moved the All-Star Game from Atlanta to Colorado.
With the setting determined, MLB finally opened up fan voting for the All-Star Game. As in years past, fans will be able to vote for the All-Star Game’s starting lineup. While there are many deserving players, some fan-favorites may make surprise appearances on the All-Star Team. Here, we present seven Brewers players who realistically could end up playing in Colorado during the All-Star Break.
#1- SP Brandon Woodruff
Brandon Woodruff, who made the NL All-Star Team in 2019, should make his second All-Star appearance this season. The Brewers’ ace is only 4-2, thanks to poor run support. However, he ranks third in all baseball in ERA (1.27), is second in WHIP (0.69), and is first in the NL in ERA+ (325). In addition, Woodruff leads all pitchers in quality starts (10) and WAR (3.9). Not only should Woodruff be a lock to make the All-Star Team, but he may also be the one asked to start it for the National League.
#2- SP Corbin Burnes
Another victim of poor run support, Corbin Burnes is just 2-4. However, he also has a sparkly 2.24 ERA and 0.72 WHIP. Burnes has missed some time due to a stint on the IL with COVID but has been just as dominant as he was last season when he finished sixth in the NL Cy Young voting. Earlier this season, Burnes set the all-time MLB record for most strikeouts by a pitcher without a walk to start a season. He currently averages 13.9 strikeouts per nine innings and owns a dominant 11.57 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
#3- SP Freddy Peralta
Unlike the previous two starting pitchers, Freddy Peralta has had the benefit of solid run support in many of his outings. As a result, he boasts the Brewers’ best record amongst their starting pitchers with a 5-1 mark. In addition to his record, Peralta sports a 2.38 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. A strikeout machine, Peralta ranks third in strikeouts per nine innings (13.2) behind teammate Corbin Burnes and Mets’ ace Jacob deGrom.
#4- RP Josh Hader
Josh Hader, a two-time All-Star already, is well on his way to making his third All-Star team. The Brewers’ closer had an interesting 2020 season. He led the National League in saves (13) but had an uncharacteristically high ERA (3.79- the worst of his career).
Hader has come back in 2021 with vengeance, though. Hader has already matched his 13 saves from last season and has a stellar 0.79 ERA and 0.79 WHIP. He also boasts 15.9 strikeouts per nine innings on average, which is the second-highest in his career. Yet to blow a save this season, Hader remains one of the most dominant relievers in baseball.
#5- C Omar Narvaez
When the Brewers acquired Omar Narvaez before the 2020 season, it did not raise many eyebrows. When Narvaez struggled to the tune of a .176/.294/.269 slash line in 2020, many fans wanted him gone. So far this season, however, Narvaez is showing that the 2020 season was an anomaly, as it was for so many players.
Indeed, Narvaez looks more like his 2019 self, when he hit .278/.353/.460 with 22 home runs and 55 RBI for the Seattle Mariners. This season with Milwaukee, he is hitting .294/.380/.445 with four home runs and 14 RBI. His batting average, on-base percentage, and OPS are tops among NL catchers.
#6- 2B Kolten Wong
The long-time St. Louis Cardinal and two-time Gold Glove Award winner has not made an All-Star Team in his career. That could change this season because he is among the National League’s best offensive second basemen and a defensive guru. Wong ranks third among qualifying NL second basemen in batting average (.280), on-base percentage (.343), and slugging percentage (.441).
Whether or not Wong makes it could depend on the fan vote; Milwaukee fans are known for getting their favorite players to use clever voting campaigns. It could also depend on his health. Wong has already spent time on the IL and was removed from the first game in the Diamondbacks series with a sore oblique. If he is healthy, though, he should be considered for a spot on the All-Star roster.
#7- OF Avisail Garcia
A definite longshot to make the team is Avisail Garcia, who could use a recent hot-streak to ride the waves onto the All-Star Team. Garcia, known in Milwaukee as Mr. May, slugged seven home runs during May and has been one of the team’s most consistent hitters as of late. In terms of his rankings among National League outfielders, Garcia is fifth in home runs (11), fourth in RBI (32), and seventh in total bases (82).
He does, however, rank just 14th in batting average (.246), 18th in on-base percentage (.314), and 25th in WAR (0.7). It will surely take a massive fan movement to get Avi into the All-Star Game, but he does have a realistic shot at that happening.