Jason Vargas, All-Star Game starter?

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Last night, Jason Vargas had his C-stuff (4 walks) and still allowed just two hits in seven innings, needing 100 pitches, in the Royals 8-1 win. It was his league-leading 12th quality start. He became only the second Royal with a 6-0 calendar month and it was his seventh straight win, improving to 12-3, tying Clayton Kershaw as MLB’s win leader. It was his seventh start allowing 1 ER or less.

Not bad for a guy who made just four starts last season recovering from Tommy John surgery. The career year is coming at the right time for Vargas, who is in a contract year. And, for the Royals, who are in the final year of the Golden Age window.

Vargas is a shoe-in as an All-Star. Can he START the All-Star Game?

His (AL) ranks:

  • Wins: 1st (12)
  • ERA: 1st (2.22)
  • Win pct: 2nd (.800)
  • CG: 4th (1)
  • IP: 7th (101.1)
  • WHIP: 8th (1.12)

Vargas’ main competition is Chris Sale. After a win today at Toronto on Canada Day, he leads the AL in IP (120.2), WHIP (0.90), strikeouts (166), ranks second in wins (11), third in ERA (2.61), third in win percentage (.786) and CG (1) and he also has the name recognition.

There are a few other contenders. One is old friend Ervin Santana, who when he faced Vargas last night, it marked the first time since 1990 that two pitchers with sub-3 ERA’s and at least 10 wins faced each other in June. It didn’t turn out well for Santana, who’s failed double-play turn was followed by an Eric Hosmer 3-run HR (10) and a 5-run fourth inning. When it was all over with, he allowed five earned runs in 5.1 IP, raising his ERA over 3 (3.07) for the first time all season. He now ranks third in the AL in wins (10-5), first in complete games (3), second in IP (111.1), fourth in walks (38), fifth in ERA, sixth in win percentage (.667) and seventh in WHIP (1.09).

Dallas Keuchel would have been a good candidate to start, going 9-0 in his first 11 starts with a 1.67 ERA and 0.87 WHIP in his. He hasn’t pitched since June 2 due to injury, and will not be back until after the break. Despite not pitching in a month, he still ranks fourth in the AL in wins.

Corey Kluber (7-2, 3.02 ERA, has been incredible run since returning from a month-long absence due to a back issue, posting a 1.26 ERA over six starts. After a somewhat disappointing first month (4.19 ERA in April), Kluber has put himself firmly back among the elite. In fact, this may be the best version of Kluber we’ve seen yet – 4.0 with a 1.29 ERA in June, including four straight double-digit strikeout games. There’s also, who Lance McCullers is 7-1 with a 2.69 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and ranks in the Top 9 in five categories, including win percentage (.875).

Ultimately, it would be awesome if Vargy started the All-Star Game on July 11, BUT, it’s not that big of a deal. Making it their for the first time, and getting a chance to pitch, will be a reward for the 34-year old Vargas, coming off a major injury, in the midst of a career-year in his 12th season.

Which AL pitcher is the most deserving to start the All-Star Game?

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