The 2017 MLB All-Star Game will take place on July 11th in Miami, Florida at the beautiful Marlins Park (That is other than the stupid sculpture in center field). The mid-summer classic is always a fun way to showcase the stars of the game for one night, while other players who weren’t selected get the all-star break to spend some time with their families. The MLB All-Star Game is unique compared to the other all-star games in other sports. One player must be on their respective league’s roster from every team in that league. That means no matter how good or bad a team and the players on it might be through the first half of the season, there will always be at least one representative from each team. The Phillies will have a representative in Miami, but the question is, who will that player be?
Let’s take a look back at the all-stars of years past for the Phils. We will start in 2007, where their “Golden Era” really began.
2007: Cole Hamels, Aaron Rowand, Chase Utley
2008: Brad Lidge, Chase Utley
2009: Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez, Chase Utley, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth
2010: Roy Halladay, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley
2011: Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Placido Polanco, Shane Victorino
2012: Cole Hamels, Jonathan Papelbon, Carlos Ruiz
2013: Dominic Brown, Cliff Lee
2014: Chase Utley
2015: Jonathan Papelbon
2016: Odubel Herrera
There are some trends here that are easily noticeable. One obvious trend is that when the Phillies were one of the best teams in the league, they had a number of players getting the call to represent the National League in the All-Star Game. As their team and their success started to decline, though, so did their amount of all-stars.
The last time the Phillies had a winning season was in 2011. The team that ended up going 102-60 was well represented in the All-Star Game, with 5 players donning Phils uniforms in that game. The 81-81 Phillies were reduced to 3 all-stars in 2012. In 2013, the Phils were 73-89 and only had 2 all-stars. Noticing the trend? The last 3 seasons, the Phillies have been reduced to having just their one required all-star.
With mixed expectations for the Phillies heading into 2017 record wise, we take a look at the potential representative(s) for the Phils in this year’s All-Star Game.
We asked our Twitter followers this question: If the Phillies end up with just one all-star once again this season, who do you think it will most likely be?
Now of course the Phils could be represented by more than one player, but for the sake of this article, we will analyze who is the one player most likely to represent the Phillies on July 11th in Miami.
Our choices included Maikel Franco, Odubel Herrera (2016 NL all-star), Michael Saunders (2016 AL All-Star with Toronto), and Other. Here are the results:
Maikel Franco: 61%
Odubel Herrera: 29%
Michael Saunders: 7%
Our followers have spoken. Most expect Maikel Franco to finally show that all-star potential that we have been waiting on for the last few years and turn it all into an all-star selection. A little over a quarter of our followers think Odubel Herrera will repeat last year and be an all-star once again. Only a small 10% believe Michael Saunders or another Phillie will get the call.
Hopefully, all three of these players, and maybe some others, will have the opportunity to call themselves all-stars this year.
Here is what some of our Phillies Nation team had to say on this matter:
As a die-hard Maikel Franco believer, my vote is cast for him to be the Phillies’ representative at this year’s All-Star game. After an up-and-down 2016, Franco is due for a breakout season under new hitting coach Matt Stairs.
In addition to the Maikel’s new coach, the lineup surrounding him this season is much more talented heading into this year than last. With more quality throughout the batting order, pitchers will have to “go at” Franco so that he does not get walked with another dangerous hitter up next.
Odubel Herrera and Michael Saunders are also prime candidates to be selected to the Mid-summer Classic, but as the Phillies will most likely only be given one roster spot on the National League team, there will be no room for the outfielders.
If the Phillies have only one All-Star this season, Maikel Franco is a solid bet to represent the team. Franco is entering his second full season in the bigs, and the 24-year old is hitting the physical prime of his career. Pitchers had no answer for Franco at times the past three seasons, and his strong power numbers from 2016 (25 HR, 88 RBI) show Franco’s ability to make a difference on the scoreboard, even when riding a mediocre batting average.
When you look at this Phillies roster, there are a few options that could garner all star honors this season, given the plethora of young talent. Any one of them have the ability to shine right out of the gate, swinging their way to the Midsummer Classic.
If given only one representative, I think Maikel Franco can take that spot. He will face close competition from a stronger, healthier, Aaron Nola, and last year’s honoree, Odubel Herrera. Franco will prove to the league why he was once rated the top prospect for the Phillies, improving his batting average while still swinging for the fences, and becoming a defensive wizard at the hot corner.
Adjust 24 years old, Franco is a capable power bat, if he can stay healthy an entire season. Last season, his first time playing over 150 games, he faced a post-all star game slump, lowering his batting average to .255/.306/.427. Still, Franco hit 25 homers, knocking in 88 on the year.
If Franco can start and stay hot in the Phillie lineup, he will be the nominee for trip to Miami this summer. The ability for a 30-plus, 100-RBI season is there, now Franco must capitalize on his talent. I believe this is the year it begins.
If the Phillies end up with just one All-Star this season, I believe that it will be Michael Saunders. Last season, the veteran outfielder earned himself a .253 batting average, along with 24 homers and a .338 OBP. If he is able to successfully transition to the National League and specifically able to adjust to the pitching rotations of fellow NL East rivals, then I definitely see Saunders earning himself another spot on the All-Star team, this time with the National League.
Here’s to hoping the Phillies have more than one representative in the 2017 MLB All-Star Game. Maybe one or two of these guys get the call, as well as some arms. I could see the likes of Aaron Nola or Vince Velasquez putting together all-star caliber first halves. Maybe even someone like Jeanmar Gomez has a first half like he did last year and squeaks his way in, as he almost did last year. The possibility of improving upon the number of stars sent to the mid-summer classic will be another fun reason to watch this Phillies team in 2017.
Every Wednesday, Phillies Nation will be providing you with feedback and input from a number of our team members, on one topic, on one single article. Stay tuned for next week’s writing!
Photo: Arturo Pardavila III (Via: Flickr)
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