Washington Nationals Editorial: Yunel Escobar’s Chances Slim For All-Star Game
By Ricky Keeler
This Monday night, the reserves for the All-Star Game will be announced on ESPN. One of the candidates for a bench role in the Midsummer’s Classic is Yunel Escobar. It was not known what Escobar would give the Washington Nationals after they traded Tyler Clippard for him in January. As the calendar heads to July, Escobar has been everything the Nationals could have hoped for.
In 69 games this year, the 32-year-old is hitting .326 (fourth in the National League) with four home runs and 27 RBI’s. His 377 on-base percentage is 13th in the NL and second on the Nats behind Bryce Harper (.464 OBP). In addition, Escobar is tied for fifth in hits with Ben Revere and likely All-Star Todd Frazier with 87.
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While Escobar has played a solid third base defensively for the Nationals and has had an excellent season, he would have had a better chance to be in the All-Star Game had he stayed at second base. Currently, he is fifth among second baseman in the voting at a little over two million votes. If you took his vote total and put it at the third base position, he would be fifth at that position as well.
Escobar’s season has been solid, but not as great as the other candidates for the NL third base position. You have Todd Frazier of the Reds and Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies, who have each hit over 20 home runs, Cubs’ rookie Kris Bryant (.275, 10 HR, 43 RBI’s, and even Dodgers’ third baseman Justin Turner (.316, 11 HR, 36 RBI’s).
Now this doesn’t even take into account that each team has to have at least one player represent them in the All-Star Game and the Nationals are likely to have Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, and Drew Storen be their three representatives.
If you go strictly by WAR, Escobar’s numbers don’t match up. His 1.1 WAR is eighth among third baseman in the NL, trailing Arenado by three wins. Right now, Escobar isn’t as valuable to the Nats as Danny Espinosa has been, if you look strictly at the WAR stat. Espinosa’s WAR is at 1.3.
Even though Bryce Harper and Max Scherzer have had outstanding season, Escobar’s great 2015 goes under the radar. He doesn’t have a great chance to make the All-Star team, but maybe he ends up as a final vote candidate. Regardless of what happens next week, Escobar has showed this season that he will hit anywhere in the order and play any position that is needed to help the Nationals reach their goal of a World Series title.