Thursday, July 25, 2024

Batting Around: Which pitchers should start the 2024 All-Star Game? Can Paul Skenes beat veteran choices?

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Throughout the season the CBS Sports MLB experts will bring you a weekly Batting Around roundtable breaking down pretty much anything. The latest news, a historical question, thoughts about the future of baseball, all sorts of stuff. Last week we discussed where Garrett Crochet will wind up at the deadline (if he is in fact traded). Today we’re going to tackle the All-Star Game starting pitchers. For amusement’s sake, we’ll ignore the rules about Sunday starters being ineligible (which would eliminate several pitchers).

Who should be the All-Star Game starting pitchers?

Matt Snyder: I went with Seth Lugo and Paul Skenes and explained my reasoning here. I’d also be open to a prestige pick of Corbin Burnes in the AL and adding Chris Sale to the list of guys who have started for each league. 

R.J. Anderson: I’m fine with either of the combinations floated by Snyder. Given how strange this season has been on the pitching front, I would also be open to an oddball matchup featuring two pitchers you wouldn’t have reasonably predicted back in the spring. On the American League side, that could mean Lugo or Garret Crochet, or even Tanner Houck; on the National League side, that would entail Reynaldo López, Cristopher Sánchez, or Shota Imanaga. The game doesn’t count for anything, really; why not have some fun with it? 

Dayn Perry: All-Star selections for me are always a mix of stardom and performance during the current season. Skenes is a very reasonable choice, as it’s possible to achieve stardom and renown very early, which he’s doing right now. However, in the NL I have to lean on the established ace Chris Sale, who’s having an excellent season in Atlanta and has a shot at finally winning the Cy Young. The AL’s a tougher call. I’ll repeat for me it’s not just eyeballing WAR leaderboards. It’s the All-Star Game, and I want to watch big-name talents. I’ll go with Corbin Burnes of the Orioles knowing full well he hasn’t been the best pitcher in the AL this season. Still, he’s a star, and he’s been quite worthy of the honor on a performance basis. 

Mike Axisa: The All-Star Game is an exhibition of the game’s best and most talented players, and I want the two most exciting pitchers in the game on the mound in the first inning. For me, that’s Paul Skenes and Tarik Skubal. All these guys are deserving, right? There is no “wrong” pick here. Anyone you put on the mound will be fun. For me, Skenes and Skubal have been appointment viewing this season, and I’m not sure any other combination of starters (other than maybe Skenes and Garrett Crochet) can match the kind of electricity they will offer at the start of the game. Skenes vs. Skubal for me, with all due respect to everyone else.

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