Voting for the MLB All-Star Game opened yesterday. While the fans have all the power to send their favorite position players to the Midsummer Classic, pitchers will once again be determined by each of the league’s managers: Houston’s Dusty Baker and Atlanta’s Brian Snitker. While each of them will face several tough decisions when determining the non-starters, including having to make sure every team has at least one representative, Snitker should have one of his decisions already made for him. When he writes down the pitchers that he considers worthy of All-Star distinction, he better pencil in Padres rookie MacKenzie Gore’s name. If he doesn’t, he will have committed a sin against all things holy.
I’m sure most of the baseball astute among you have probably heard of Gore’s dominance at this point, but for those of you who haven’t, across eight games started Gore has recorded a 1.50 ERA with 57 strikeouts in 48 innings. He’s allowed only one home run and has a 259 ERA-plus, making him 159 percent better than an average pitcher thus far in 2022. Among starting pitchers with at least 30 innings pitched, Gore has the lowest ERA.
Since 1913, there have been zero other pitchers to start their careers with an ERA of 1.50 or better and at least 55 strikeouts in their first nine games. ZERO! There was one other person to record these figures prior, Hall of Famer Pete Alexander, but that’s it, and when debuted so long ago, the Titanic hadn’t sunk yet. This is literally a feat that no one has accomplished in more than 100 years! Give the man an All-Star bid!
Now, I know you’re probably thinking “Well, he hasn’t pitched enough,” right? But who gives a shit? A streak this remarkable deserves recognition. His 1.8 WAR, according to Baseball-Reference ranks seventh in the NL among starters. He’s got a higher K per 9 than anybody above him and a better ERA. What’s more to ask? WAR is an accumulative stat. Gore hasn’t pitched nearly as long as his competition, yet he’s still one of the top pitchers in that category. He’s ahead of the likes of San Francisco’s Carlos Rodón, Atlanta’s Max Fried, Miami’s Pablo Lopez, and last year’s NL Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes.
It’s been quite the start to the former third-overall pick’s career. When the All-Star Game and all its festivities roll around in a month, Gore better be on that list. Hell! If I were Snitker, I’d consider starting Gore! Will that happen? Probably not. The All-Star Game, above all else, is a celebration of baseball. There are several other big names in the NL worthy of the honor that would invoke a larger response from MLB fans across the country. While Gore has been great, naming him the starter wouldn’t be in the spirit of celebrating baseball. And considering the game is being played at Dodgers Stadium, bestowing future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw, just coming back from injury, with that honor would be the way to go, especially as he’s 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA. Still, Gore has done more than enough to be worthy of All-Star consideration.
If he isn’t on the roster come July 19, then MLB officially stacked the deck against him. The process was clearly rigged and both Rob Manfred and Snitker deserve a stern talking to before correcting their error. We’re watching! The right decision has been handed to the league on a tee. Don’t swing and miss.