When the All-Star Vote came out this season for position players, the Brewers were not looking good in any of the votes. By the time they finished, not one Brewer was in the top three (or top nine in the outfield) of any of the votes. While it wasn’t too surprising, as the Brewers offense has struggled for a good portion of the season, to not have a single player in the top three of any vote was disappointing. However, the Brewers made up for it with their pitching staff. Their pitching is so strong this season that, for the first time in franchise history, the Brewers will send three pitchers to the All-Star Game.
The Brewers are sending three pitchers to the All-Star Game for the first time ever. Best part: Josh Hader, Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes were all voted in by their player peers.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) July 4, 2021
Freddy Peralta didn't make it, but there's always a chance he'll be an alternate.
Not only did the Brewers get three pitchers into the game, but they were all from the players’ vote. All three absolutely deserved to make it as well, as they have posted incredibly strong seasons.
Between Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff, it’s hard to say who has been the better pitcher this season. Let’s start with Woodruff. In 16 starts this season, he has posted a 1.87 ERA and 2.79 FIP. His 10.60 K/9 and 2.14 BB/9 is right in line with where it has been for his whole major league career, though his results just continue to get better. He also sits at a 47 ERA- and 67 FIP-, and is sixth in the NL with a 2.7 fWAR, along with a 4.3 bWAR. The only unfortunate part of Woodruff’s selection is that he may not actually get to pitch, as he is scheduled to start on Monday, which would put him in line to start Saturday or Sunday and potentially take him out of consideration to pitch in the game.
Meanwhile, while Brandon Woodruff has just been solid and improved year after year, Corbin Burnes has had a rougher career. Just two seasons ago, he was sitting at a 8.82 ERA and 6.09 FIP. His home run rate was out of control (3.12 HR/9), and we were wondering if he would be able to adjust. Not only has he adjusted, but he has completely turned his results around. In 2021, he’s down to a 2.41 ERA and 1.44 FIP. While his K/9 rate has remained stable year after year (sitting at 13.17 this season), his walk rate has been cut drastically (from 3.67 BB/9 in 2019 to 1.65 in 2021), and his HR/9 rate is almost non-existent (0.33). He’s second in the NL in fWAR among starting pitchers at 3.8. Burnes is in better shape to make an ASG appearance since he is scheduled to start Wednesday, which should be his final start before the break.
Corbin Burnes had to totally remake his game after a 2019 season that was tough, to say the least. Now, he’s an All-Star.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) July 4, 2021
He fought tears while talking about that transformation. pic.twitter.com/mvjlEYbska
Finally, Josh Hader is making his third All-Star appearance, which is tied for the most appearances for a Brewers’ reliever. Hader has been as dominant as ever, if not even more dominant this season. In 33 appearances this season, he has allowed a grand total of two runs. That’s good for a 0.55 ERA and 0.89 FIP, along with a 14 ERA- and 20 FIP-. His 15.15 K/9 is as strong as ever, and his walk rate has dropped a bit this season (from 4.74 BB/9 in 2020 to 3.31 in 2021). Finally, since he’s a reliever, there’s no concern about if he’ll be able to make an appearance in the game or not.
Josh Hader: “Just growing up, being a kid, you always think about being in the big leagues. But being an All-Star is next-level.”— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) July 4, 2021
He joins @Plesac19 as the only relievers in Brewers history to make three All-Star Games. pic.twitter.com/rhhspNZpSH
The only question that remains now is if the Brewers can get a fourth player in the game. Freddy Peralta is their best bet, as he has been just as strong as Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes. He has posted a 2.17 ERA (54 ERA-) and 2.92 FIP (71 FIP-) this season, along with a 12.62 K/9 and 3.83 BB/9. His 2.4 fWAR is 10th among NL starting pitchers. With pitcher drops coming, Peralta might get himself a spot that way, so we will have to wait and see.
As for position players, it’s unlikely to see one as a replacement, but could still happen. The best shot might be Omar Narvaez, who has been one of their best players on offense this season. Willy Adames is also a possibility, though he suffers more from not being in the National League all season. Both are long shots, but they could still sneak in should a replacement be needed (especially at catcher for Narvaez).
Regardless of if the Brewers get any additional All-Stars through replacements, it’s three selections for the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers. That’s a nice honor for a pitching staff that has lead this team to success all season.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs.