5 Astros, Including 3 First-Timers, Make the All-Star Team
Major League Baseball announced the All-Star selections on Sunday and five Astros made the team. Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker, and Framber Valdez made the All-Star squad for the first time in their young careers. Jose Altuve made it for the eighth time in his career, which is also now an Astros record, and Justin Verlander made it for the ninth time. All of this shows not only the veteran leadership on Houston’s squad, but also the up-and-coming talent. Let’s take a look at the stats for each of the stars as of Sunday to see where they stand at the season’s midpoint.
Valdez was thrown into the fire last postseason as both Greinke and McCullers went down with injuries, leaving him to start the World Series as Houston’s ace. Valdez has shown this season why he might fill that role at some point in the near future for Houston. He is 8-4 with a 2.64 ERA in 109 innings pitched so far this season, while striking out 96. Valdez’s previous career-high in innings pitched was 134 which he will easily surpass this year, so he will be in personal record setting territory most of the season. His 1.101 WHIP is also the lowest of his career along, as with his batting average against at .204.
Tucker is on pace to best his stellar 2021 when he hit .294 with 30 homers, 92 RBI, and a .917 OPS. To date, Tucker is slashing .259 with 16 home runs, 58 RBI, and a .829 OPS. He’s on pace to beat last season’s career high in homers, and his 14 stolen bases this season also matches last year’s total. He will have some work to do to get back up to last season’s average and OBP highs but he is clearly producing more than any prior season, and deserves the nod for the All Star squad.
Yordan is the best hitter in baseball. There is no doubt he should have gotten the starting nod over Ohtani for the All-Star Game, and his stats, especially in his explosive June, have led to him being one of the most feared hitters in baseball. He is slashing .306/.405/.653 with and OPS of 1.058 and an OPS+ of 196. Yordan leads the MLB in slugging, OPS, and OPS+ and his 26 home runs and 60 RBI which will greatly surpass last year’s totals of 33 home runs and 104 RBI. Sadly, he will probably miss out on the festivities due to his hand injury and being placed on the 10 day IL which will run him to July 20th, after the All Star game has concluded. Fans will definitely miss him in the home run derby as well, including myself, as I was ready to watch some of his moon shots launched into the night sky in LA.
Altuve is a great All-Star selection as he is currently on pace to beat his career high in home runs, currently with 17, and he is also producing well, hitting .280 with a .906 OPS, 155 OPS+ and 32 RBI. Altuve is the Astros’ anchor at the top of the lineup and sets the tone in the clubhouse and clearly deserves the All-Star selection. If he turns it up even more in the second half of the season, he could surpass his career high in total bases, and an easier schedule filled with divisional play in the second half could lead to exactly that.
This is Verlander’s 9th All-Star selection in his 17 seasons so far as a big leaguer and it is just as deserved as all his other ones. JV was the first MLB pitcher to 10 wins and his 11-3 record with a 2.00 ERA, 0.871 WHIP, and his and 103.1 innings lead the Astros as the staff ace. Verlander leads the MLB in wins and if he keeps it up for the rest of the season he could be in serious contention for the Cy Young award.