The shortened season means no All-Star game for 2020. That doesn’t mean we can’t guess which Brewers would have made it if there was one.
The last two years have been good to the Brewers franchise when it comes to All-Star appearances. Milwaukee had five players named to each iteration of the Midsummer Classic, each season tying for the most players the club has ever had named in a single season.
Unfortunately, the 2020 season doesn’t get to see the Brewers have the same fortune, or any team for that matter. When the league implemented the 60-game season, they decided to scrap the All-Star game until next year.
The decision makes total sense, of course. Not only would it have been extremely difficult to even fit the game into the condensed schedule, it would be silly to mix players from all 30 teams when you’re requiring everyone to only play teams within their region during the regular season for safety reasons.
Most teams have been reaching the halfway point of their season over the last couple days, which would be close to All-Star game time in a normal year. At 14-17 through 31 games, it’s unlikely that the Brewers would be going three straight years with five players voted into the game.
But every team gets at least one All-Star and the Brewers are no exception. Despite being just outside of the playoff picture at the moment, the Crew actually have two players who would have been surefire candidates to represent Milwaukee in the 91st MLB All-Star Game
RHP Josh Hader
There are four qualified relievers who haven’t given up an earned run yet in 2020, but only one of them has also held opponents completely hitless. Josh Hader and his deadly fastball-slider combination have given up nothing but outs and a handful of walks so far this season.
Hader currently sits 4th in MLB with a 0.54 WHIP and tied for 5th in MLB with seven saves. His 4.82 walks per nine innings certainly aren’t great, but that hasn’t mattered yet this year. Even with the high walk totals, zeroes in the hits and earned runs columns for the year are easily enough for an All-Star nod.
RHP Devin Williams
The leading candidate for Brewers breakout player of 2020, Devin Williams and his still unhittable changeup have been a nightmare for opposing batters this season. With 25 punchouts in just 11 2/3 innings, he actually has more strikeouts than two current Brewers starters, both of which have pitched over twice as many innings.
Williams is second in the MLB with a 19.29 K/9 (amazingly, Edwin Diaz of the Mets is actually higher at 21.00) and is in the 100th percentile in Whiff% (50.6%), K% (53.2%), and xBA (.099) per Statcast. There are six relievers besides Hader in the NL with an ERA higher than his 0.77 who would get looks, but there’s no way you keep a pitcher this dominant out of the All-Star game.
In a normal season with more time, some other Brewers players might have had a chance to build their way up to an All-Star spot. Would Brandon Woodruff have continued to improve and earn his second straight nod? Would Christian Yelich have turned things around in time to join him?
Sadly, there will be no All-Star game this year to feature Williams and Hader on a national stage. It will have to be good enough knowing that those two would have been obvious choices if there was one.