Giants Analysis

Six Giants players worthy of All-Star Game nod

Here's a rundown of where the Giants' best candidates currently stand

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SAN FRANCISCO -- The graphic that MLB released with the All-Star ballot last week provided a reminder that the search for a superstar continues at Oracle Park.

It featured nine players, including Juan Soto (a player they chased last summer), Aaron Judge (their main target in the offseason) and Shohei Ohtani (likely to be their main target in six months).

The Giants are still lacking in star power, but they're certainly not lacking in players who are worthy of being in Seattle on July 11. The team's two most recognizable players -- Brandon Crawford and Joc Pederson -- have gotten off to slow starts, but there are a half-dozen others who should get consideration as fans start to vote and players and coaches fill out their own ballots.

The first phase of All-Star voting has already started and goes through June 22. Here's a rundown of where the Giants' best candidates currently stand:

Thairo Estrada

A sprained left wrist landed Estrada on the IL, but he should be back Tuesday night in Denver and even with the missed time he still ranks eighth in the NL in fWAR and leads the league's second basemen. When he went on the IL, Estrada had a .811 OPS, six homers and 13 stolen bases.

For a second straight year, the starter seems likely to come from Miami. Last year it was Jazz Chisholm, and this year Luis Arraez is batting .399. It would help Estrada's case if Arraez wins the vote over a second baseman from a huge market, like Chicago's Nico Hoener or New York's Jeff McNeil, because he's a lock to be there regardless. St. Louis' Nolan Gorman is also having an All-Star-caliber season, so the path for Estrada isn't as smooth as it looked a month ago.

LaMonte Wade Jr.

Like Estrada, he helped keep the Giants afloat in April. Wade is third in the Majors with a .413 on-base percentage and has been a more than adequate replacement for fellow OBP-monster Brandon Belt. But like Belt for so many years, he faces an uphill battle given how deep the NL always is at first base.

Pete Alonso leads the Majors in homers (21) and Matt Olson (17) is tied for fourth. Freddie Freeman ranks fourth in the NL in WAR and Paul Goldschmidt is seventh. Wade has been getting on base at a high clip since the very start of the season, and he's playing good defense while adding good plate appearances against lefties. He's a very deserving choice, but in the NL, first base is the hardest position to make the All-Star team.

J.D. Davis

He wasn't even the starter at the beginning of the year, but it didn't take him long to gobble up all of David Villar's playing time, and he ranks first among NL third basemen in wRC+, third in fWAR and fifth in homers. In an odd way, Davis would benefit from a division rival -- Max Muncy -- getting voted in, potentially leaving two spots for backups who have had a good half.

Manny Machado was selected as the starter last year and Nolan Arenado the year before, but Machado is having the worst offensive season of his career. Arenado shook off a brutal April to hit seven homers in May, but he ranks eighth among NL third basemen in fWAR. If one of those superstars gets voted in, Davis will probably get blocked.

Muncy has 18 homers and seems a likely choice as a backup if he's not voted in. The NL third baseman with the highest WAR is Washington's Jeimer Candelario, who at the moment looks like the best option to give the Nationals their All-Star.

Logan Webb and Alex Cobb

In his third season for the Tampa Bay Rays, Cobb looked headed for the All-Star Game when a line drive back to the mound struck his right ear and sidelined him for two months. Cobb had a 3.01 ERA through 13 starts and was later told that he was going to be one of the selections for the American League's staff.

A decade later, Cobb is better than ever, and he ranks fourth in the NL with a 2.71 ERA after 7 2/3 dominant innings on Saturday night. He's first in groundball rate, eighth in FIP, 12th in innings pitched and 16th in fWAR. At the age of 35, Cobb has a shot to make his first All-Star team.

One of his competitors sits five feet away in the clubhouse. Webb was a near-miss last year and it seems long past time for the new face of the franchise to take that next step. Webb is tied for the league lead in innings, ranks sixth in fWAR and strikeouts, and seventh in ERA.

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A year ago, Carlos Rodón was snubbed initially but then added to the roster. There are always additional starters needed, so it seems likely that one of the staff's co-aces makes his first All-Star appearance.

Camilo Doval

A bad outing or two can blow up a reliever's profile, but at the moment, Doval looks like the roster's best bet to make the All-Star team.

The young closer leads the National League in saves and games finished, has a 2.10 ERA and comes with the added benefit that it's pretty much guaranteed that he'll throw a 102 or 103 on the radar gun if he gets a shot to pitch in the nationally-televised game.

Doval's biggest problem is that the group of closers in the NL is ridiculous. It includes Devin Williams (0.46 ERA, 10 saves), Alexis Diaz (1.54 ERA, 14 saves), David Bednar (1.13 ERA, 13 saves) and Josh Hader (1.61 ERA, 13 saves). There's very little room for error over the next month.

Doval was the league's Reliever of the Month in May, and if he can keep that momentum going he should become the first Giants reliever to make the All-Star Game since Will Smith in 2019.

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