Mike Matheny’s decision over in the National League was a tough one, but American League manager John Farrell had an easy call for tomorrow night’s starter: Felix Hernandez.
Seattle’s ace will start the All-Star game after going 11-2 with a 2.12 ERA in 20 starts, including a 154/25 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.
Chris Sale is the only AL starter with a lower ERA than Hernandez, but the gap is 2.08 versus 2.12 and Hernandez has thrown 50 more innings.
This is Hernandez’s fifth All-Star game, but his first start at age 28. He won the Cy Young award in 2010, but not only didn’t he start the All-Star game that season … he didn’t even make the All-Star team.
Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.
Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.
Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.