Guys you want hurling dodgeballs

Fans always are looking for a way to spruce up the All-Star
break, and this week Royals right-hander Ervin Santana presented a
brilliant idea for getting pitchers involved in the
festivities:

I’m not sure why nobody has thought of this before now,
but that’s no matter. What does matter is forming teams so
that we can get the ball rolling for next year.

According to the
National Amateur Dodgeball Association,
real dodgeball is played with six players per side. So
without further ado, here are your proposed lineups for the first
iteration of All-Star Baseball Dodgeball — a starting six and
one reserve per side:


AMERICAN LEAGUE

1. Ervin Santana: It was his idea, and he’s got a
no-hitter to his name. That’s enough for me.

2. Randy Johnson: No one said the rosters had to be made up
of current players, did they? The Big Unit spent 12 years in the AL
and 12 in the NL, so he probably could play on either team, but in
my eyes, Johnson is a Mariner. As for his dodgeball skills? Even as
a retiree, they’re still pretty good:

3. Mariano Rivera: Another old guy, yes, but who else do you
want on your side with the game on the line? If I know anything
about dodgeball, it’s that every game
comes
down to a one-on-one duel
, and there’s not anyone else in
baseball I trust to get one guy out more than Mo. Plus, by next
summer, he’ll probably be itching to get back on the
field.

4. Justin Verlander: I don’t think that the selection
of a former Cy Young, MVP and three-time strikeout king needs to be
defended. But in case you need more justification, consider his
durability. Verlander has thrown 10,072 pitches since the start of
2011 — 620 more than the next closest guy — and his arm
hasn’t fallen off. A dodgeball isn’t a baseball, and
you’re going to want an arm that’s ready for the long
haul.

5. R.A. Dickey: Yeah, good luck dodging a knuckleball.
(Don’t worry, he’ll figure out how to throw one with a
dodgeball.) And before you get cocky, there’s no way in hell
you’re gonna catch it either:

6. Doug Fister: Before you say it, yes, Fister is an odd
choice, on the surface. But dive into his stats, and it’s
easy to see why you’d want him on your dodgeball team. Since
the start of 2011, Fister has hit the second-most batters of anyone
in baseball, but unlike No. 1, Justin Masterson (27 wild pitches),
Fister (seven wild pitches) can’t blame it on control issues.
Fister is good at hitting guys with balls on purpose, and if
that’s not what you want on your roster, I’m not sure
you understand the point of the game.

7. Curt Schilling: If you’re a fan of the old guys,
you’re going to like this team. I assume you’re
wondering why Schilling, though? You must have already forgotten
what happens when you make him
bleed his own blood:


NATIONAL LEAGUE

1. Aroldis Chapman: Chapman can
throw a baseball 105 miles per hour. Enough
said:

2. Stephen Strasburg: It’s been said that
if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a
ball
. St. Louis Cardinals utility man Allen Craig is sometimes
known as The Wrench. Strasburg has
faced Craig six times, with no hits allowed,
and with four strikeouts in those at-bats. You can’t get much
better at dodging a Wrench than that. Also, he’s Stephen
Strasburg.

3. Cliff Lee: OK, hear me out. I know that 2013 Cliff Lee
isn’t 2008 Cliff Lee, but for the purposes of a dodgeball
competition, he’s perfect. He’s thrown 588 1/3 innings
since the start of the 2011 season, and he’s fourth in
baseball in strikeouts in that span while walking just 92 batters
(good for second in baseball among pitchers with at least 500 IP in
the past three years). So he strikes guys out, and he’s as
accurate as they come. What more do you want?

4. Clayton Kershaw: You didn’t think I was going to
leave off the best pitcher in baseball, did you? Especially when he
plays for the
Dodgers. As for Kershaw’s credentials, he’s
rail-thin, which makes him tough to hit from across the field, and
have you seen that curveball? You get that thing rocking on a
dodgeball, and there’s no one who can avoid it:

5. Ian Kennedy Call him the Doug Fister of the National
League. Kennedy hits batters at an alarming rate (43 since the
start of 2010 and 10 this year alone), and while his accuracy
isn’t as impeccable as Fister’s is when it comes to
plunking opponents without throwing wild pitches, Kennedy makes up
for it by being one of the league’s top 20 strikeout
guys.

6. Gerrit Cole: You can’t have a dodgeball team
without a Pirate, and when it comes to
Pittsburgh’s hurlers, I tend to lean toward Gerrit Cole.
He’s a No. 1 overall draft pick, so he knows what it’s
like to have to perform under pressure, and when he wants to crank
it up to 100 mph, he’s more than capable. You don’t
want to be staring this guy down from across the pitch:

7. Brian Wilson: I guess Wilson doesn’t really have a
team right now, but since he hasn’t played anywhere but the
NL, this is where he’ll go. I know he’s a bit of an
injury risk, coming off Tommy John surgery and what-not, but the
guy can really chuck the baseball, and with that
rockin’ beard, there’s an intimidation
factor that’s tough to quantify. If there’s anyone I
want coming out of my dodgeball team’s bullpen, it’s
this guy.

So there you have it, the rosters for next year’s All-Star
Pitcher Dodgeball Championship. Which hurlers would you include in
your lineup? Include your suggestions in the comments below.

You can

follow Sam Gardner on
Twitter
or e-mail him at

samgardnerfox@gmail.com.