This has been a weird year. The Rockies aren't doing much (despite recent signs of life), but usually the team gets a few strong performances each year even when they stink. Those strong performers get rewarded with an All-Star Game nomination. Normally that's Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez, but they haven't been too hot this year. Tulo is starting to pick it back up, but he's still a lowly eighth in the NL in fWAR among shortstops so far this season. He is getting some reputation votes, which places him fourth in the fan voting so far; if the hot streak turns scalding, he might still get voted into the game. But it seems unlikely.
Carlos Gonzalez is tied for the second-worst WAR in MLB so far. I don't think he's gonna make the All-Star Game, everyone.
But since every team gets a player in the ASG, someone from the Rockies has to make it. Who is it going to be?
The obvious answer is Nolan Arenado. As Rockies fans, we are blessed to watch Arenado's exploits each and every night, and it truly is glorious. He's the league's best fielder at third base by a mile, and he has launched 13 home runs already this year (with 10 of them being on the road). If anyone deserves an All-Star selection, it's him.
The problem is that third base is deep this year. Really deep. Matt Carpenter of the Cardinals is leading the fan voting, and it is hard to argue against the fans. Carpenter has a near .400 OBP and he is out-slugging Arenado despite having five fewer home runs. Doubles doubles doubles. His elite walk rate has him leading all third basemen in OBP, and because he hits leadoff he is piling up a ton of at-bats.
Kris Bryant is right behind Carpenter in the voting. We could claim the fans are falling for prospect hype since Bryant has been the most anticipated position player debut in years, but the problem is that he has lived up to the hype. Compare Bryant's 133 wRC+ to Nolan's 119; Arenado has the edge in fielding and playing time, making it a dead heat in fWAR between the two at 1.7.
Todd Frazier of the Reds is the other man above Arenado in fan voting. His 16 dingers and (nearly) Arenado-esque defense lift him to a lofty 2.7 WAR. He deserves an All-Star nod.
Arenado's inability to draw walks really cuts against his offensive numbers. Every NL third base vote-getter above Arenado has at least a 9.8 percent walk rate; Nolan's is 4.3%. He sports a great average and is hitting for power, but his OBP of .322 is way down the leaderboard. The other All-Star candidates simply make far fewer outs than Nolan.
I think it's likely that Arenado still makes the game via the player vote, even if he misses out on the fan vote. The rest of the league has taken notice of Arenado's skills. Unless he cools off significantly, he'll make the game somehow.
What about DJ LeMahieu's candidacy? It feels weird to even type that. Heading into the season, I would have considered it a near lock that the all-glove, no-bat LeMahieu would be far from All-Star consideration. But here we are. A sky-high .401 BABIP has goosed his offensive numbers up to .339/.394/.435; his batting with runners in scoring position has been even more gaudy with a .462/.553/.718 line. That is some insanely clutch hitting.
Again, though, there are a number of strong candidates ahead of him. Dee Gordon has gone nuclear for the Marlins, dropping a .368/.395/.432 line on the league with some incredible defense and 20 steals. He (deservingly) has locked down the top voting spot. Joe Panik and Kolten Wong have nearly comparable lines to LeMahieu but, as anyone who knows about park effects is aware, WAR rewards guys who hit in San Francisco and St. Louis more than it does Coloradans. Howie Kendrick has cooled off after a huge start, but per fWAR he has been about equivalent to DJ, and as a member of the Dodgers he was always going to get more votes.
So, LeMahieu is probably going to get shut out of the game as well. With a BABIP that high, his numbers are bound to diminish some as the year progresses. LeMahieu is an awesome player, and he has a good chance of posting a 3-plus WAR season, but "All-Star" is a stretch.
Where does that leave us? Are any starting pitchers deserving? Uh, that's a negative. Maybe Chad Bettis next year.
Relievers? Ottavino would have made it if his UCL hadn't gained sentience, ripped its way out of his skin, and made a bid for freedom. John Axford is another obvious candidate since taking over the closer's role. His ERA is a ludicrous 0.56 this year, second in the NL. A middling strikeout rate keeps him low among the WAR leaders on Fangraphs, but looking at WAR for relievers is pretty silly anyway. If he has a strong June, it's pretty likely that Axford gets the nod, especially if Arenado gets left off and a Rockie is needed.
The All-Star Game is pretty stupid. It's a bunch of pomp and ceremony for a game that doesn't mean anything, except for that home field advantage stuff (I have a hunch that won't affect the Rockies this year). I never watch the game beyond the first couple of innings, and that's only when a Rockie is starting. I get enough Joe Buck in the playoffs; I'm not gonna subject myself to him unnecessarily.
On the other hand, getting selected is pretty cool. The Rockies have a couple of guys who could nab their first All-Star selections. They're long shots, but the Rockies are always long shots, so it feels appropriate.