Red Sox phenom Casey Kelly made his debut yesterday. He threw ten pitches against college kids. Those pitches inspired 2700 words between the Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy and WEEI’s Alex Speier. Overkill? Sure, but if you’re like me you really can’t get enough info about young players. I’ve not had a chance to see Kelly pitch yet, so anything I can read about him is interesting to me. And really, these 2700 relatively measured words about Kelly are more enlightening than the five-word, all-caps pronouncements about how Jason Heyward is the Second Coming or whatever.
I think the most interesting thing people are saying about him — apart from the thing about how he played catch with Vlad Guerrero when he Kelly was six years-old, which makes me feel really, really old — is his excellent control, which is not usually the first thing you hear about from a 20 year-old. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing him pitch.
I would hope by now that I no longer have to preface All-Star talk with my usual “none of this matters” disclaimers, but please keep all of that in mind when I mention that Nick Markakis is leading all National League outfielders in All-Star voting.
Markakis, with 1,173,653 votes, has surpassed the slumping Bryce Harper in that category. Harper has 1,002,696 votes. The third place outfielder is Matt Kemp of the Dodgers with 925,697. Fourth place — Charlie Blackmon of the Dodgers — is like 300,000 votes back of Kemp.Yes, Markakis, Harper and Kemp may be the starting NL outfield. Brandon Nimmo — not on the ballot — should be grumpy, but he’ll get his chance I’m sure.
The thing about it: Markakis, for as unexpected as his appearance may be on this list, deserves to at least be in the top three. He’s second in WAR among National League outfielders behind Lorenzo Cain. He’s slowed down a good bit in June and he’s coming off of a 2017 season in which he had a 96 OPS+ and 0.7 WAR, but he’s having quite an outstanding season. I write that mostly so that there is a record of it come October and we’ve all forgotten it.
Seriously, though, good for Markakis, who has never made an All-Star Game. Good for Kemp too for that matter, who most people assumed was a walking — well, limping — corpse heading into this season. Good for Harper because anything that can keep up the guise of him having a good year when, in reality, he’s really not, will help his confidence as he heads into free agency.
Finally, good for the American League, who will likely get to face a far, far inferior National League team next month in Washington.
The rest of the voting: