Spotlight on San Diego: A closer look at the Nationals’ 2016 All-Stars
Last week, five Washington Nationals players were named 2016 Major League All-Stars, with OF Bryce Harper, 2B Daniel Murphy, C Wilson Ramos, RHP Max Scherzer and RHP Stephen Strasburg all awarded the annual mid-season honor.
This is the first time in Nationals history (2005-present) that the club will send five representatives to the Midsummer Classic. Washington previously had four All-Star players in 2012. The Nationals’ five honorees are second-most in the National League, behind only the Chicago Cubs, who will send seven players to San Diego.
In anticipation of tonight’s game, we thought it would be fitting to take a look at our All-Stars and some of the amazing stats they’ve put up through the season’s first “half.”
OF Bryce Harper – 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 (70) and intentional walks (16). He ranks fifth in the National League in on-base percentage (.400), while his 19 home runs are tied for fifth 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.
2B Daniel Murphy – 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 (.348), hits (117), and multi-hit games (38). The 31-year-old, a players’ selection to the NL squad, also leads all NL second basemen in doubles (25), home runs (17), RBI (66), and slugging (.598).
C Wilson Ramos – This is the first All-Star nod for Ramos, who currently leads all qualified Major League catchers in batting average (.330), on-base percentage (.382), RBI (48) and slugging percentage (.536). 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.
RHP Max Scherzer – Scherzer is an All-Star for the fourth consecutive season. The 31-year-old leads the Major Leagues in strikeouts (164), ranks second in the National League in strikeouts-per-nine-innings (11.56) and is tied for the second-best WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched) in the NL (0.96). Scherzer earned his 10th win of the season on Saturday night, tossing 7.0 innings of three-hit ball. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this is the fourth consecutive season in which Scherzer has won at least 10 games before the All-Star break. Only two other pitchers reached double digits in wins prior to the break in each of four consecutive seasons over the last 20 seasons: RHP Greg Maddux (1997-2001) and RHP Roy Halladay (2005-11). Scherzer was selected to replace teammate Stephen Strasburg on the 2016 All-Star team by National League manager Terry Collins.
RHP Stephen Strasburg – 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 12-0 with a 2.62 ERA, Strasburg is the first National League starting pitcher to begin a season 12-0 since 1913. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Strasburg is the fourth pitcher in MLB history to go 12-0 or better before the All-Star break, joining BAL LHP Dave McNally (13-0 in 1969), PIT reliever RHP Roy Face (12-0 in 1959) and CIN reliever RHP Brooks Lawrence (12-0 in 1956). On Friday, he extended his personal winning streak to 15 games (dating to Sept. 15, 2015). He was selected to the 2016 All-Star team by National League manager Terry Collins.
Good luck to all the Nationals representatives tonight in the 2016 Major League All-Star Game at Petco Park in San Diego!