Four Nationals Named to NL All-Star Team
Four Washington Nationals players were named 2016 Major League All-Stars on Tuesday evening, with outfielder Bryce Harper, second baseman Daniel Murphy, catcher Wilson Ramos, and right-handed pitcher Stephen Strasburg all awarded the annual mid-season honor.
This is just the second time in Nationals history (2005-present) that the club will send as many as four representatives to the Midsummer Classic. Washington also had four All-Star players in 2012. The Nationals’ four honorees are tied for second-most among NL clubs (with Miami), behind only the Chicago Cubs, who will send seven players to San Diego.
Harper will start in the National League outfield for the third time in his career. The 23-year-old earned his fourth career All-Star selection by garnering 2,865,095 fan votes, the highest vote total among all NL outfielders. The 2015 National League MVP, Harper currently leads the Major Leagues in walks (66), intentional walks (15) and walks-to-strikeouts ratio (1.22). He ranks fourth in the National League in on-base percentage (.404), while his 17 home runs are tied for fourth among all NL outfielders, and his OBP leads that group.
Harper joins Hall of Famers Gary Carter (4) and Andre Dawson (3) as the only players in franchise history (Nationals/Expos) to earn at least three fan elections to the All-Star Game.
For Murphy, who signed a three-year contract with Washington this past offseason, this is the second All-Star selection of his career (also 2014). The Nationals’ second baseman leads the National League in batting average (.347), hits (108), and multi-hit games (35). Murphy also leads the Major Leagues with 17 go-ahead RBI this season. The 31-year-old, a players’ selection to the NL squad, also leads all NL second basemen in doubles (22), RBI (56), and slugging (.579), while his 14 home runs rank second.
This is the first All-Star nod for Ramos, who currently leads all qualified Major League catchers in batting average (.340), on-base percentage (.396), slugging percentage (.563), RBI (46), home runs (T1st, 13), and fewest strikeouts (34). The 28-year-old also ranks third in the Major Leagues in batting average (second in the NL), and his .368 average with runners in scoring position is the 10th-best mark in MLB. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, after hitting .229 in 2015, Ramos is the only player in MLB to increase his average at least 100 points from last year to this year (min. 100 plate appearances in 2016 / 500 plate appearances in 2015). Ramos was elected via player vote.
For Strasburg, the only remaining qualified starting pitcher in MLB not to suffer a losing decision, the All-Star nod is the second of his career (also 2012). At 11-0 with a 2.71 ERA, Strasburg is the first National League starter to begin a season 11-0 since San Diego right-hander Andy Hawkins went 11-0 in 1985. The Nationals are 22-3 in his last 25 starts (dating to Aug. 2015), during which time Strasburg has struck out 215 batters and walked just 36. He was selected to the 2016 All-Star team by National League manager Terry Collins.
The 2016 Major League All-Star Game will take place at Petco Park in San Diego, Calif., on Tuesday, July 12.