The Nationals will have at least two representatives in this year’s All-Star Game. That number could end up growing to three.
Harper, who in his rookie season last year made the National League All-Star team as a reserve, earned a starting spot this year as one of the top three vote-getters among NL outfielders. Harper had fallen to fourth in the voting in the last update issued by Major League Baseball on Tuesday, but overcame a deficit of more than 15,000 votes to make it into the top three.
He’ll be the first player to represent the Nationals in multiple All-Star Games and is the second Nats player to be elected as a starter, joining Alfonso Soriano in 2006.
Harper (20 years, nine months) will be the fourth-youngest player to start a Midsummer Classic, behind Jerry Walker (20 years, 172 days) in 1959, Al Kaline (20 years, 205 days) in 1955 and Ken Griffey Jr. (20 years, 231 days) in 1990.
All three of those guys played in the American League, so Harper will become the youngest National League player to ever start an All-Star Game.
As of this posting, Harper is batting .263 with 13 homers and 27 RBIs. He missed 31 games due to left knee bursitis but posted a slash line of .303/.400/.622 in his first 38 games prior to running into the right field wall at Dodger Stadium, injuring the knee.
Zimmermann, meanwhile, will get to experience the All-Star Game festivities for the first time after posting a 2.57 ERA in his 18 starts this season.
He leads the National League with 12 wins and has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 13 starts.
The 27-year-old right-hander has already matched his career high in wins, and we’ve barely passed the midway point of the season.
In addition, despite being snubbed as an All-Star selection to this point, shortstop Ian Desmond has been chosen as one of the five NL candidates for the Final Vote.
Fans will be able to go to MLB.com and vote for who they feel deserves the last spot on each team’s roster. Desmond will be up against the Braves’ Freddie Freeman, the Dodgers’ Adrian Gonzalez, the Giants’ Hunter Pence and the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig.
There’s also the possibility that Desmond gets added to the National League roster without needing to win the Final Vote. The Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki was voted in as the starting shortstop for the NL, but Tulowitzki is currently on the disabled list with broken ribs and might not be able to participate in the All-Star Game. Everth Cabrera and Jean Segura are the other shortstops on the NL roster.
If Tulowitzki ends up not playing, that could open up a spot for Desmond, who is hitting .284 with 15 homers, 49 RBIs and 10 stolen bases this season.
Other Nats left out of the All-Star picture include Stephen Strasburg (4-6, 2.24 ERA), Rafael Soriano (1-1, 2.25 ERA, 23 saves) and Tyler Clippard (6-1, 2.21 ERA).
The Nats had four All-Stars last season in Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Harper and Desmond. They’ll have at least half that many this season.