Today Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Ian Desmond were selected to the 2012 All-Star team. This is the first time in Nationals history three players were named to the team. Pitchers Strasburg and Gonzalez were selected by the players’ squad, while Desmond was selected by Tony La Russa, the manager of this year’s NL team. The only other time the team’s had more than one representative was when baseball returned to DC in 2005 when Chad Cordero and Livan Hernandez were selected.
For Strasburg, this is the first time he’ll be an All-Star, but to have other teammates as representatives with him in Kansas City is just as important.
Gio Gonzalez will also be joining his fellow pitcher in Kansas City. His selection this year marks the 2nd time he’s an All-Star, but for the first time in the National League. Last year, he was an All-Star while with the Oakland Athletics.
Both Strasburg and Gonzalez have anchored the Nationals rotation as the #1 and #2 starters, respectively. Strasburg is 9-3 with 122 strikeouts and a 2.81 ERA. Batters are only hitting .217 against him. GM Mike Rizzo said Strasburg would be allowed to pitch if he was selected and Strasburg’s pitching schedule allows it.
A part from his personable character, Gio Gonzalez has also exerted dominance on the mound. Gonzalez, who was traded for this past off season is 10-3 with a 2.78 ERA. He’s struck out 108 batters with a .190 batting average against.
The combination of Strasburg and Gonzalez has provided the Nationals’ with a powerful punch, one that was particularly needed in the starting rotation. The Nationals are 24-7 in games that either Strasburg or Gonzalez have started.
Not to be forgotten about, Ian Desmond earned his first All-Star selection, being among the best shortstops in the National League and one of Tony LaRussa’s favorite players. Entering Sunday’s game, Desmond’s hitting .276, slugging .483 with 13 home runs and 43 RBIs. He leads all MLB shortstops. This year Desmond’s finally been playing solid defense, with steady offense and emerging team leader.
The Nationals may have one more player in Kansas City for the All-Star Game. Bryce Harper was named to the MLB National League Final Vote Ballot. Since being called up, Harper’s hitting .274 with 22 RBI with a .347 on-base percentage. Fans can vote for Harper either on the MLB website or by texting N3 to 89269. Voting is unlimited and ends Thursday.