Nationals closer Sean Doolittle, outfielder Bryce Harper and right-handed pitcher Max Scherzer have been selected to represent the Washington Nationals in the 2018 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. In addition, shortstop Trea Turner was named one of five candidates for the National League Final Vote. The 2018 All-Star teams were unveiled on Sunday on the “Camping World All-Star Selection Show” on ESPN.
Doolittle earned his second All-Star nod - first since 2014 with Oakland - by pacing National League relievers in strikeout-to-walk ratio (16.33) opp. OBP (.167) and WHIP (0.54) entering play on Sunday. He leads the National League with a 95.7 save percentage (22-for-23), while his 22 saves rank fourth in the National League.
In 15 games dating to May 22 vs. San Diego, Doolittle has gone 2-0 while converting all 12 saves. During this stretch, he has allowed just one earned run in 16.2 IP (0.54 ERA). Doolittle has thrown at least 1.0 inning without issuing a walk in a Major League record 29 straight appearances.
Harper will start in the National League outfield for the fourth consecutive year and for the fifth time overall. The 2018 Midsummer Classic will mark Harper’s sixth All-Star appearance in seven Major League seasons. Harper entered play on Sunday ranked second in the National League and first among National League outfielders with 22 home runs.
In 16 games dating to June 21, Harper is hitting .271 (13-for-48) with a .478 on-base percentage (20 walks/18 strikeouts), a .542 slugging percentage (7 doubles, 2 home runs) and a 1.020 OPS. His nine extra-base hits since June 21 are tied for fourth in the National League over this stretch.
This is the sixth consecutive All-Star selection for Scherzer, four of which have been with the Nationals. Scherzer is 11-5 with a 2.33 ERA in 19 starts this season. He leads National League pitchers in strikeouts (177), strikeouts per 9.0 IP (12.48), opp. AVG (.179), opp. OBP (.243), hits allowed per 9.0 IP (5.78) and WHIP (0.89). According to FanGraphs.com, he leads all National League pitchers in Wins Above Replacement (4.3).
Scherzer posted a nine-game winning streak from April 9 to June 5, the longest winning streak in Major League Baseball in 2018. Within that streak, Scherzer was named National League Pitcher of the Week for the week of April 9 to 16 and garnered back-to-back National League Pitcher of the Month awards for April (5-0, 1.62 ERA, 57 SO, 9 BB, .165 opp. AVG) and May (2-0, 1.13 ERA, 21 SO, BB, 3 H).
Trea Turner leads National League shortstops in Wins Above Replacement (3.2), according to FanGraphs.com. He is hitting .282 with 14 doubles, two triples, 11 home runs, 37 RBI, 40 walks, 22 stolen bases and 54 runs scored in 88 games. His 22 stolen bases rank third in the National League.
Over his last 18 games, Turner is 28-for-74 (.378) with one double, one triple, four homers, 12 RBI, six walks, two stolen bases and 17 runs scored. His 17 runs scored since June 19 are tied for third in the National League over this stretch. Turner has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games, posting multi-hit efforts in seven of the 10.
Doolittle, Harper and Scherzer join the following players in representing Washington’s hometown club in an All-Star Game held in Washington, D.C.: Frank Howard and Darold Knowles (1969); Dave Stenhouse (1962); Mickey Vernon and Roy Sievers (1956); and Rick Farrell, Wes Farrell and Buddy Myer (1937).