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Who Will Represent the Cubs at the MLB All-Star Game?

Fireworks over Dodger Stadium with view of downtown skyscrapers

The Chicago Cubs are currently 25-41, in fourth place in the National League Central Division. There is not much to look forward to for the team this year beyond individual honors. Voting for the 2022 MLB All-Star Game is currently underway, but a fourth-place team is unlikely to have more than one representative at the Midsummer Classic. This means a few strong performers will be overlooked. Let’s evaluate the Cubs’ candidates for selection to see which player has the best chance of representing the North Side in La La Land on July 19.

Position Player Leaders

Willson Contreras, C

Number of All-Star Selections: 2

Batting Line: .284/.397/.537/.935

OPS+: 160

fWAR: 2.6 (14th among MLB position players, leads all catchers)

Contreras took over the role of face and leader of the Cubs after the 2021 trades of Javier Báez, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. 2022 is shaping up to be a career-best season for the two-time All-Star, who has 12 home runs and 27 RBI.

Ian Happ, OF

Number of All-Star Selections: 0

Batting Line: .279/.378/.456/.834

OPS+: 134

fWAR: 1.9 (29th among MLB position players, 9th among outfielders)

After a disappointing 2021 season, Happ has been a solid performer to start 2022. He is on track for his best season as an everyday player. Given that only a handful of National League outfielders nominated for the ballot are breaking an .800 OPS at this point in the season, Happ deserves consideration for the National League roster.

Christopher Morel, OF

Number of All-Star Selections: 0

Batting Line: .273/.343/.488/.831

OPS+: 131

fWAR: 0.9

The rookie sensation has been a breath of fresh air for a losing team, with 5 homers and 0.9 fWAR in just 30 games.

Pitching Leaders

David Robertson, CL

Number of All-Star Selections: 1

Record: 0-1

Saves: 8 (10 opp)

ERA: 1.82

ERA+: 235

K9: 12.4

WHIP: 1.054

fWAR: 0.4

The 14-year veteran has shown he can still be quite effective in his few save opportunities as the Cubs’ closer.

Scott Effross, RP

Number of All-Star Selections: 0

Record: 1-2

ERA: 3.10

ERA+: 138

K9: 11.5

WHIP: 1.172

fWAR: 0.9

Games: 31 (leads MLB)

Effross has become one of David Ross’s most dependable options out of the pen, picking up his 8th hold of 2022 in the Cubs 6-3 victory over Atlanta on Saturday. He leads MLB with 31 pitching appearances.

Keegan Thompson, Swingman

Number of All-Star Selections: 0

Record: 6-2

ERA: 3.27

ERA+: 130

K9: 7.9

WHIP: 1.182

fWAR: 0.5

Games: 15

Games Started: 7

fWAR: 0.5

Thompson has served as the Cubs’ swingman in 2022, with seven starts out of his 15 pitching appearances. Fans will be watching to see whether he bounces back after two consecutive bad outings on June 7th and 12th in interleague play.

Most Deserving Candidates

Contreras and Happ are both ranked in the top 30 of MLB position players by fWAR, and Contreras is the top-ranked catcher. Morel and Robertson have not appeared in enough games to merit much consideration, although I think Robertson could join the NL roster if selectees drop out due to injury or positive COVID test results.

Most Likely Representative

Voting totals have yet to be released, but it would be criminal if Contreras does not win the National League starting catcher slot.

The first phase of All-Star Game voting runs through June 30. Cast your votes for Contreras and Happ here.

Featured Image: Fireworks over Dodger Stadium with downtown view on July 29, 2016 by Kit Leong / Shutterstock.com.

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