One of the hot debates in the baseball blogosphere is whether or not Stephen Strasburg should be on the All-Star team. Generally, I do not care who gets picked to the team and who gets snubbed, but if we are going to pick a pitcher for the team who did not start the season in the majors, we should consider R.A. Dickey.
Since Strasburg’s come up, he is 2-2 with a 2.27 ERA. Since Dickey came up he is 6-1 with a 2.98 ERA. Because Strasburg came up and matched (or exceeded) the tremendous hype, it is unquestionably one of the best stories of the baseball year so far. But Dickey takes a back seat to no one when it comes to an outstanding story.
If Dickey would have won his last start, his All-Star candidacy would have a better chance. But I do not think one start where he gave up 5 ER in 5 IP should eliminate him from the discussion. Here are some of the top pitchers in the game and their worst start of the season:
We see that Dickey’s worst start is better than the worst start of five of the six best pitchers in the National League.
Plus, the fact that Dickey’s bad start came outside of North America should carry some weight. His only loss of the season came in Puerto Rico in Hiram Bithorn Stadium. This year three games were played in the stadium and 37 runs were scored. In the Mets’ last three games prior to the series in Puerto Rico, the two teams combined for 19 runs in Citi Field. In their last three-game road series, 16 runs were scored. It is safe to say that Hiram Bithorn is a hitter-friendly ball park, and one not really up to major league standards, that Dickey stumbled in.
MLB will announce the All-Star rosters on July 4th. Dickey will have one more start, on July 3rd versus the Nationals, where in a nice coincidence he will square off against Strasburg. Let’s say that Dickey goes 7 innings, gives up 2 runs and picks up the win. That would give him a 7-1 record, a 2.93 ERA and a marquee win over Strasburg for his All-Star candidacy.
Anyone who thinks Strasburg should be a candidate for the All-Star team should extend the same courtesy to Dickey. That the two are squaring off the day before rosters are set is a delicious coincidence. If Dickey wins that game he should join David Wright and Jose Reyes in Anaheim, representing the Mets for the National League in the All-Star game.