San Diego Padres: Hand the lone representative at All-Star Game
The left-handed reliever will be the pride of the San Diego Padres next Tuesday in Miami for the 2017 MLB All-Star Game.
It wasn’t a very exciting All-Star election as far as Padres fans were concerned. No member of the team was even within striking range to be voted in by fans as one of the National League’s starters. What can we say? Small market woes.
Regardless, the club will have a representative in Miami as is always the case. And this year, despite speculation that first baseman Wil Myers or ace Clayton Richard might get the nod, it is reliever Brad Hand who will be making the trip.
The 27-year-old will be making his first All-Star appearance in his seventh major league season. Hand began as a starter with the Florida/Miami Marlins, where he played the first five seasons of his career. Then, switching to becoming a reliever late in his tenure in south beach, be began to struggle.
The Padres were fortunate enough that the Marlins cut Hand before the 2016 season. Shortly after Opening Day, San Diego picked him up off waivers. Hand ended up leading the league with 82 appearances last season and recorded a 2.92 ERA in nearly 90 innings. It’s safe to say that the southpaw was one of the team’s most valuable contributors.
This season, Hand is again on pace for about 80 appearances, and has kept his ERA at a very impressive 2.47. A worthy All-Star indeed, and San Diego’s proud iron man.
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The selection makes sense, as Hand deserves recognition. Not only this, but looking at the strong starters in the NL, as well as the strong first basemen, the lack of available space in these areas would make it even less likely that Richard or a struggling Myers could slip in.
Myers is hitting just .258 and has already struck out 100 times, and Richard’s ERA is a bit inflated at 4.85. Both valuable players, but not quite All-Star material.
As for Hand, it will be especially fulfilling for him to return to where it all began for him in Miami. Though the end to his tenure there was far from smooth, the left-hander will get the opportunity to come back as one of baseball’s best. Sweet indeed.
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Fans can tune in to see Hand and the rest of the National League take on the American League in the midsummer classic next Tuesday, July 11th. Coverage begins on FOX at 4:30 PT.