Yesterday, we took a look at the chances each San Francisco Giants infielder has of making the 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in San Diego, under the guise that it’s way too early to determine this year’s all-stars. Today we’re looking at the Giants outfielders, again with the understanding that it’s way too early, considering the game is more than two months away.
For the All-Star Game, outfielders are lumped together when chosen, so the starting lineup could include three center fielders, or three right fielders or two left fielders and right fielder, etc… So if one of the positions lacks depth, it doesn’t do much to raise the chances of someone at that position get on the roster.
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When it comes to the Giants outfield, there’s really only one legitimate candidate. He happens to play the deepest of three outfield spots—not that it affects his chances of making the team.
Left Field: No doubt, Angel Pagan was playing at an all-star level in April, and he would have been a strong candidate for Surprise Performance of the Month, if such an award existed.
But an All-Star Game appearance is out of the question for El Caballo Loco. To start, he’s injured, which, considering his history, was expected. While he is avoiding the disabled list and is expected back in the lineup this week, it’s hard to believe that this is the last health issue for the aging injury-prone Pagan.
Second, Pagan isn’t even the best outfielder on his team, while outfield is extremely deep in the National League. So Giants fans can continue Pagan’s sparkplug play and nice production for as long as he stays on the field, but he’ll be getting a nice vacation during the All-Star break.
Center Field: Leadoff hitters generally don’t populate All-Star rosters, so Denard Span enters the conversation at a disadvantage. Then considering that his batting average and stolen bases are down thus far, he really has no shot at being considered.
The National League doesn’t have much depth at center field, but that really doesn’t matter, since outfielders are all lumped together into one pool for All-Star selections. Even if voting was based on each outfield spot, Andrew McCutchen and Dexter Fowler (who happens to bat leadoff) will overshadow anyone else at the position.
Right Field: San Francisco’s one hope for sending an outfielder to San Diego for the All-Star Game lies with Hunter Pence. Bryce Harper and Giancarlo Stanton are both National League right fielders, so Pence doesn’t exactly belong in a conversation about the position’s best.
But when looking at the outfield as a whole, Pence is probably in the top 10. That might not be enough to get him on the All-Star team, so he’ll have to amp up his already-impressive production this season.
Also working against Pence is the requirement to have an All-Star from each team in the league, and that the game will be in San Diego. Matt Kemp is hitting well for the Padres, but not necessarily at an all-star level. However, it wouldn’t be surprising if Kemp were chosen over some slightly more deserving players as an appeasement for the hometown crowd. And considering that the Padres don’t have many All-Star candidates to begin with (closer Fernando Rodney is another possibility), Kemp becomes all the more enticing of a choice to satisfy the requirement for every team be represented.
Of course, it’s only May, so Pence has plenty of time to sway voters and New York Mets Manager Terry Collins—who will be managing the National League team as reward for leading his team to last year’s World Series.