As we learned in FOX’s All-Star announcement show today, Nats Bryce Harper and Jordan Zimmermann were both named to the NL All-Star team. Harper was voted in by fans as the third starting outfielder, while Zimmermann was voted in by his fellow players. Ian Desmondis one of five candidates in the Final Vote, where fans can vote to decide which of those five will be the last player on the team.
Zimmermann was widely considered the most likely Nat to be chosen for the All-Star team. Even after a subpar start today, he is 12-3 with a 2.57 ERA. His 12 wins lead the NL, his 0.95 WHIP ranks third, and his ERA is seventh. He had a 2.94 ERA last season, but did not make the team. Now, coming into his own three years after Tommy John surgery, he will make his All-Star debut.
At just 20, Harper will be the youngest All-Star starter in NL history. Harper’s numbers have not been great since suffering the knee injury that cost him over a month, but his potential and hot start evidently intrigued voters, who gave him the third-most votes of any outfielder. Harper was hitting .356/.437/.744 before he hurt his knee crashing into the wall in Atlanta on April 29th, but has hit just .160 in 25 games since. In the most recent vote count update on July 2nd, Harper trailed Justin Upton of the Braves by roughly 15,000 votes for the final outfield spot, but homered in his first at-bat back from the DL later that day and inspired voters to move him above Upton, who also started hot but has cooled off considerably, hitting just .214 with one home run since May 18th. He will be the second National ever to start the All-Star game, after Alfonso Soriano in 2006.
Desmond has had a great season, but his greatest challenge is the other great players around him. He is hitting .284/.324/.506 with 15 home runs and excellent defense, but faces stiff competition from those around him. The other shortstops selected were Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies, Jean Segura of the Brewers, and Everth Cabrera of the Padres. Tulowitzki was voted the starter by fans, and is hitting a ridiculous .347/.413/.635, but is injured and may miss the game. If he does, Desmond seems to be a likely bet to replace him. Segura is hitting .323/.356/.493 with 11 home runs, and Cabrera is hitting .295/.370/.404 with an NL-leading 31 stolen bases. Desmond’s numbers would give him a shot in your average Final Vote, but he stands almost no chance to advance against Dodgers phenom OF Yasiel Puig. His best chance to make the team is as an injury replacement.