Washington Nationals will be well represented at Tuesday’s All-Star Game, with five members of the team making the trip to Miami.
Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy, and Ryan Zimmerman will all start for the National League, and Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg were named to the NL pitching staff.
Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper, left, second baseman Daniel Murphy, starting pitcher Max Scherzer, starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg and first baseman Ryan Zimmerman hold their National League All-Star jerseys before a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park, Sunday, July 9, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Most gratifying for Nationals fans is Ryan Zimmerman winning the fan vote at his position to secure the start at first base—the first All-Star start of his career—after a tight race with Cubs star Anthony Rizzo.
After four consecutive injury-marred, substandard seasons and a position change Zimmerman has had his most productive first half in his entire 13-year career. While mostly healthy last season, he was one of the worst statistical hitters in the game. Many wondered whether he was worthy of even being on an MLB roster. This season, his .333 average—second in the National League behind teammate second baseman Daniel Murphy—19 home runs and 62 RBIs have ended all rumors of his demise.
At age 24, Harper led all players in fan votes throughout the season, claiming a total of 4.63 million votes to earn his fourth start and fifth appearance overall. Murphy will make his second career All-Star appearance, joining Zimmerman as a first-time starter in an all-Nationals right side of the infield. After finishing second in MVP voting last year, Murphy has picked up right where he left off. In 75 games, he is batting a NL-best .341 with 14 homers and 62 RBIs. This is Murphy’s third All-Star appearance.
Scherzer was named to the National League pitching staff and has a good chance to start the game. He has been arguably the most dominant pitcher in the majors this season, earning his fifth consecutive All-Star selection and his third in as many years with the Nationals. Strasburg joins Scherzer on the NL pitching staff. Strasburg’s massive contract extension began this season, and he has earned every dollar so far. In 16 starts, he has pitched to a 3.43 ERA and is currently 9-3. This is his third time being named an All-Star, but he isn’t likely to get the starting nod.
Third baseman Anthony Rendon and Gio Gonzalez both had cases for All-Star selections, but didn’t get the nod. Rendon actually had a chance to earn the final NL roster spot through the National League Final Vote contest, but finished third in the voting.
Despite the issues and injuries the Nationals have faced this season, the fact that they were able to send so many players to the Mid-Summer Classic reaffirms that Washington’s studs have carried the team during the first half of the season.
Congratulations to them all.