CTH Staff: Which Astros deserve to be All-Stars?

Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports /
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Houston Astros, Luis Garcia
Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports /

Matt Kunkel, Contributor 

Lock(s)

Yuli Gurriel, now 37-year-old, leads the American League in batting average (.323) and is second in the AL in OPS (.928) behind only the red-hot Vladimir Guerrero Jr. For someone who looked like his career was over during the playoffs last year, Gurriel has come back and reminded everyone in baseball he’s one of the best clutch hitters in the game. He likely won’t start at first base, but he’ll make his first (and very deserving) All-Star Appearance.

Jose Altuve is hitting .288 (3rd amongst MLB second baseman) with 12 homers and 30 RBI with a .831 OPS (again 3rd among MLB second baseman) while playing at the Astros primary leadoff guy. It’ll be neck-and-neck between Altuve and Marcus Semien as far as who starts the game, but the former-MVP should make his seventh All-Star appearance – especially now since Nick Madrigal is on the 60-Day IL and Whit Merrifield having a so-so season thus far. And let’s face it – Astro-haters want Altuve at the game so they can boo him.

On the Bubble – In

With Francisco Lindor now playing in the NL, Carlos Correa now has a clearer path to reach the All-Star Game. Correa is third among shortstops in OPS (.868) with 11 HR, 35 RBI and 33 walks. He also leads the Astros in Wins Above Replacement at 2.9, thanks to his bat and elite defensive play at the position. I doubt he’ll beat out Xander Bogaerts as the starter, and Tim Anderson would be another worthy selection, but expect Carlos has the inside track to be named an All-Star reserve.

Alex Bregman is slashing .281/.366/.438 this season, which is a profile for a bonafide All-Star at the plate. And he is perhaps the best defensive third baseman in the league not named Matt Chapman. But Bregman hasn’t been “wowing” people with his play like he usually does in other season and his recent hitting slump may not be helping his case.

Plus, when you factor in the crowd of great players at the position (Rafael Devers, Jose Ramirez, Yoan Moncada) – it gets a little tough to argue. But the guy is a superstar, and the game is meant for superstars. I think he earns a spot as a reserve – but I wouldn’t put any money on it.

On the Bubble – Out

Luis Garcia is posting a 2.98 ERA, with a 1.04 WHIP and has won five of his last six starts. He’s been the best starter in this rotation for the past month and looks like another slam-dunk find for the Houston Astros front office.

However, the impressive crowd of AL starting pitchers with name and pedigree make it highly unlikely Garcia will be selected. I don’t think the world is ready for a Luis Garcia-Framber Valdez domination tour quite yet – but it’s coming.

If it weren’t for the injury last month, Michael Brantley could be looking like a lock as an All-Star. But he’s still hitting .337, which would be best among AL outfielders, and an OPS above .800. If he could get hot at the plate over the next couple of weeks, he might sneak in.

More from Astros News

If we did this piece last month when Yordan Alvarez was hitting .380, I’d say he would have been a no-brainer to get his first All-Star. Now, after an extended slump and some time on the IL, Alvarez is hitting just .302 with nine homers and 35 RBI. He hasn’t found the same production from his 2019 campaign, but he’s still among one of the most feared hitters in the game.  But Shohei Ohtani has the DH position locked up, and Alvarez won’t get in over Giancarlo Stanton or JD Martinez.

He could very well get hot over the next month and make himself a lock for the All-Star game. At the very least, he should participate in the Home Run Derby and show the world his absurd power at the plate.

If the season started May 8th, Kyle Tucker might be a lock as a starting left fielder. Since that date, he’s been hitting .348 with an OPS of 1.032 to go along with six homers, 11 doubles and 24 RBIs. However, his early season slump where he hit sub .200 might have cost him an All-Star appearance. It also doesn’t help that Aaron Judge, Trey Mancini and Mitch Haniger also play the same position. I’d be pleasantly surprised if he makes it – but he’s deserving.

Ryan Pressly, a Dallas native, is among the best relief pitchers in the game who has been adjusting to his first full season as the team’s primary closer. Besides Fernando Tatis’ home run that he gave up over a week ago, he’s been solid as the shutdown closer – Pressly has a 1.73 ERA in 21 Innings in the 9th inning of games. However, he’s not the biggest name amongst relief pitchers (Aroldis Chapman, Liam Hendriks) and he’s not having a better season than some other AL relievers (Matt Barnes, Emmanuel Clase). It also doesn’t help that the Astros bullpen has been very un-good as of late, which might play into perception of Pressly’s play.

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