My uncle and cousin spent the past week in Arizona checking out a bunch of spring training games–they didn’t arrive until after Craig had gone home, just to be safe–and sent me a slew of text messages while watching Indians prospect Drew Pomeranz pitch Sunday.
My uncle, a high school baseball coach, and my cousin, a high school pitcher, both said Pomeranz was the most impressive young pitcher they saw, which isn’t surprising for the No. 5 overall pick in last June’s draft.
They raved about his “devastating” fastball-curveball combination–which Jordan Bastian of MLB.com wrote a good article about today–and wondered if the 6-foot-5 left-hander might make it to the majors this season, which is probably a stretch considering he’s 22 years old and hasn’t even officially made his pro debut after signing too late to join a minor-league team last year.
Bastian writes that Pomeranz is likely to begin the season at Single-A and “could be fitted for an Indians uniform as early as 2012.” In addition to various members of my family, Indians manager Manny Acta has also been very impressed with Pomeranz early in camp, telling Bastian: “When you’re that talented you can make it look that easy. He’s got a very nice arm and he’s effortless. That ball just sneaks up on hitters.”
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: