The Diamondbacks are amid their only series at Citi Field in New York this season, but at least two D-backs could be making a return trip there in two weeks.
With rosters for the 2013 MLB All-Star Game being announced Saturday, the D-backs should have at least two players on their way back to New York for the July 16 game.
First baseman Paul Goldschmidt is widely considered a lock for the NL roster regardless of whether he garners enough votes by Saturday to overtake Cincinnati’s Joey Votto for the starting job. As of Tuesday’s update, Goldschmidt trailed Votto by 587,494 votes, a deficit that had grown since the previous balloting update. Voting ends Thursday … you can cast your ballot here.
Left-hander Patrick Corbin also should get one more chance to play in his home state At 9-1 with a 2.49 ERA, Corbin has been one of the NL’s better pitchers and jas carried the D-back’s pitching staff. Corbin has been better than his win total reflects, and his selection would also seem to be a no-brainer. The bigger debate with Corbin is whether he’s a worthy choice to start for the NL team.
Beyond those two, the D-backs can make a case for a few other candidates, though their odds of having three or more All-Stars for the first time since 2007 appear to be rather long.
Let’s take a look:
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
Stats: .302 batting average, .380 on-base percentage, 69 RBI, 20 home runs. Chances: Excellent. Though Goldschmidt probably won’t catch Reds first baseman Joey Votto in NL voting, there’s almost no way to envision a roster without him.
Why he’s an All-Star: Besides carrying the D-backs to first place in the NL West, Goldschmidt had been one of the NL’s best all-around first baseman. Goldschmidt is playing Gold Glove-caliber defense at first base — his 13 defensive runs saved are most by an NL first baseman and his .996 fielding percentage is tied for third best in the NL — but it is his bat that has lifted him to a position among the NL’s elite first basemen. His 69 RBI (through Tuesday) lead the NL, and his 20 home runs are tied for second. His .554 slugging percentage leads NL first baseman and ranks fourth in the NL. There’s really little more Goldschmidt could have done to deserve an All-Star nod. If Goldschmidt keeps this up, he could land a bigger prize — the NL MVP Award.
Patrick Corbin, LHP
Stats: 9-1, 2.49 ERA
Chances: Excellent. Corbin has been the NL’s best left-hander this season.
Why he’s an All-Star: Had Corbin received a little more offensive support in his seven no decisions, in which he has a 2.36 ERA, he could have 13 or 14 wins by now and be the obvious choice to start for the NL team. Instead, he remains slightly under the radar nationally. The Mets’ Matt Harvey is a popular choice to get the starting nod in his home ballpark, and St. Louis’ Adam Wainwright is another worthy choice. Still, Corbin’s credentials are clearly that of an All-Star. His ERA ranks seventh in the NL, and the D-backs are 15-2 in games he starts. With a much improved slider and impressive confidence on the mound, Corbin has been the D-backs’ lone reliable starter for the first half and one of the best young pitchers in the NL. Without Corbin, who knows where the D-backs would be. Gerardo Parra, OF
Chances: Middling to slim. There are valid cases for and against Parra’s inclusion, and he’s been hurt by the fact he’s not actually on the All-Star ballot (teams select their anticipated starting outfielders before Opening Day — Parra was not one of them). His chances could improve if he’s part of the All-Star Game “Final Vote,” but his best shot might be selection as a reserve by NL manager Bruce Bochy.
Why he’s an All-Star: Parra has quietly — perhaps a product of the often overlooked Phoenix market — been one of the most versatile outfielders in the NL this season. Parra leads all NL outfielders with 98 hits, his batting average is fourth best at the positoin, his doubles are second and his 3.3 wins above replacement (WAR, according to baseball-reference.com) rank fifth. His nine outfield assists are tied for most among NL outfielders. Save base running, Parra has been excellent all-around and is having a career year. However, his power numbers are don’t compare well to other NL outfielders. Carlos Beltran, Carlos Gonzalez and Justin Upton currently lead the voting, with Bryce Harper close behind, and there are plenty of worthy candidates for reserve spots, including Carlos Gomez, Michael Cuddyer, Andrwe McCutchin and Domonic Brown. Still, in a perfect world, Parra is plenty deserving of one of the NL roster spots that go to outfielders.