The Orioles had an impressive five players make the 2016 All-Star Game, including relief pitcher Brad Brach.
Brach was chosen based on the best first-half of his career, during which he has given up just five runs in 45.2 innings. His 0.99 ERA is the third best on the AL roster, just behind Zach Britton and Astros’ closer Will Harris. His 0.79 WHIP is also third on the team, behind Britton and the Yankees’ Andrew Miller.
However, there are some, like ESPN’s Keith Law, who think that Brach doesn’t deserve to be an All-Star selection. The argument seems to be based around Brach being a “one-hit wonder” based on his hot first half of the season. Some also think that there shouldn’t be so many relievers who aren’t closers selected.
The problem with this theory is Brach isn’t just having one special year. The pitcher from New Jersey has steadily improved the last three seasons and has turned into one of the best seventh-inning/setup-men in the AL. Here’s a look at Brach’s last three seasons:
2014: 7-1, 3.18 ERA, 54 K, 1.17 WHIP, 62.1 IP
2015: 5-3, 2.72 ERA, 89 K, 1.20 WHIP, 79.1 IP
2016: 5-1, 0.99 ERA, 53 K, 0.79 WHIP, 45.2 IP
(Stats via baseball-reference.com)
Brach has made improvements each season and is showing the makings of a complete relief pitcher in the first half of the 2016 season. So why is there the argument that Brach doesn’t deserve to be an All-Star?
Those who seem to have a problem with Brach’s selection should instead be focusing their ire on Boston’s Craig Kimbrel. Kimbrel will likely go down as one of the top closers of our generation, but he is having one of the worst seasons of his career. His ERA is now up to 3.66 ERA, (he gave up four runs last night) and he has struggled to keep his dominant form in his move to the American League.
Kimbrel was chosen to represent the AL, and he certainly has a case, as he still holds batters to a .183 average. Still, shouldn’t there be more talk about why players are getting voted in due to reputation instead of their 2016 performance? Why are some discrediting Brach’s impressive start? After all, it’s the 2016 All-Star Game – it’s not the 2010-16 All-Star Game.
Brach put together a stellar first half of the 2016 season there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be an All-Star. Just because there were snubs – as there are every year – doesn’t mean that Brach is any less deserving.
Congrats on the All-Star nod, Brad Brach. You absolutely earned it.