The San Francisco Giants have the best record in MLB at 35-19, and they’ve had an incredible start to their 2014 season.
The initial National League ballot figures were released on Wednesday, and the Giants had seven players near the top of the voting for their respective positions. Buster Posey is second at catcher, Brandon Crawford is second at shortstop, Brandon Belt is fourth at first base, Pablo Sandoval is fifth at third base, and Angel Pagan, Michael Morse, and Hunter Pence are eighth, ninth, and 10th for outfielders.
These initial ballot figures weren’t incredibly impressive for the Giants, but many players are deserving of All-Star selections, given the team’s great success so far this season. However, there’s an immense amount of talent in the National League, so it might be difficult for some of those players to make the All-Star team.
Let’s take a look at some of the Giants’ All-Star candidates and examine their chances at making the All-Star team. Let’s start with the outfielders.
Morse has been a catalyst to the Giants’ offense and could be one of the Giants’ MVPs so far this season. He’s been playing first base ever since Brandon Belt went down with his thumb injury, but he was the Giants’ everyday left fielder before. He’s hitting .290, and he has 11 home runs and 37 RBI, which both lead the Giants. All of these numbers are certainly All-Star worthy.
Pagan is yet again showing how important he is to this Giants team. He’s their sparkplug on and off the field, and he greatly impacts each game. He’s hitting .323 and has a .365 OBP, which both lead the Giants. He could also be deserving of an All-Star selection.
Pence got off to a slow start, but he’s still hitting .284 and has a .361 OBP, which is second on the Giants. He also has scored 40 runs so far this season, which leads the Giants by far.
Although the Giants have some outfielders who are worthy of being named All-Stars, they’d have to beat out some of the top National League outfielders, such as Yasiel Puig, Giancarlo Stanton, Justin Upton, Carlos Gomez, Andrew McCutchen, etc.
As for infielders, Sandoval has been hot recently, but he got off to a very slow start for the Giants. Belt probably could’ve been named an All-Star if he hadn’t gotten injured. Brandon Hicks has been a solid addition for the Giants, but he’s not an All-Star candidate. Crawford has the defensive skills to be named an All-Star, and he’s improved on his hitting against left-handed pitching. However, it’ll be near impossible for him to out-perform Troy Tulowitzki offensively.
As for pitchers, Tim Hudson is making a strong case for an All-Star nod. He has a 1.92 ERA, 44 strikeouts to just six walks, a 0.88 WHIP, and a .217 opponent batting average. Hudson has been the most consistent starting pitcher so far for the Giants, and he has a great chance of being named an All-Star.
Madison Bumgarner could be named an All-Star, but Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum have been too inconsistent. Ryan Vogelsong has improved, but it’d be difficult for him to be named an All-Star given the depth at starting pitching in the National League.
The Giants’ bullpen has been elite, but relief pitchers rarely make All-Star rosters. Closers have a chance though, and Sergio Romo has been making a case for being named an All-Star again.
Lastly, Posey is usually the Giants’ strongest candidate for making the All-Star team, but he’s been struggling and fairly inconsistent this year.
The Giants are currently the best team in baseball, so they should be well represented at the 2014 All-Star Game. However, Bruce Bochy said to Alex Pavlovic of the Bay Area News Group that he understands how difficult it will be this season to make the All-Star team given the strong competition in the National League.
“That’s happened before,” he said. “If anything, it shows you that they’re playing well as a group. I don’t have one guy or a couple guys carrying this group. It’s a good thing. I hope because of how we’ve been playing, a lot of guys will be considered. It’s a tribute to how well we’re playing together.”
The National League is so strong that some deserving players most likely won’t make the team. As Bochy said, the Giants’ success so far this season can be attriubted to not just the success of a few players but also how well the Giants have been playing as a team.
The Giants won two World Series titles in 2010 and 2012, and a large part of that success was their strong team chemistry. The Giants continue to impress with their “never say die” attitude, their “next man up” philosophy, and their impressive team chemistry.
Hopefully for Giants fans, they can keep this high level of production up and continue to prove why they’re the best team in baseball. We’ll see how many players are named to the All-Star team based on the team’s impressive success so far this season.