San Diego Padres closer Brad Hand is headed to Washington D.C. for the All-Star break.
In a move that very few doubted, San Diego Padres closer Brad Hand has been named a National League All-Star. This is the second straight season in which Hand has represented the Padres in the Mid-Summer Classic. Hand will be the only representative from the 2018 San Diego roster in next week’s exhibition.
Appearing in 39 games, Hand has recorded a 1-4 record with a 3.05 earned run average and a career-high 24 saves. Only Edwin Diaz (Seattle), Craig Kimbrel (Boston), and Wade Davis (Colorado) have more saves than Hand, who posted 21 saves in 2017, his first season as the Padres closer.
His 35.3% strikeout rate is also a career-high, averaging more than 13 strikeouts/nine innings. Unfortunately, it’s been the long ball that has hurt Hand the most this season, giving up five in his 41 innings of work, thus far. However, armed with his ever-dangerous slider (55% usage rate), Hand has emerged as one of the most dominant closers in the game.
With teams like New York and Cleveland eager to add bullpen help, along with a number of other playoff contenders who would greatly benefit from the services of Hand and his extremely team-friendly contract, the immediate future for Hand is a little murky. While most signs point to Brad Hand remaining a Padre, you can never count anything out with A.J. Preller at the controls.
Should the San Diego Padres have more representatives?
While there aren’t any hitters in the San Diego lineup for which you could argue a case for, there are a few other relief pitchers who deserved a spot on the roster.
Kirby Yates has had a fantastic first-half of the season, striking out nearly 31% of hitters and allow a .171 batting average. His 0.93 WHIP and 0.26 HR/9 rate are both the lowest marks of his career. More than 86% of hitters who have reached base against Yates have been left stranded, one of the highest marks in the league.
You could also make a case for Craig Stammen (1.93 FIP, team-high 1.3 WAR for bullpen pitchers) who is having one of the best seasons of his career at the age of 34.
Congratulations to Brad Hand on being a two-time MLB All-Star and representing the city of San Diego in the nation’s capital. This year’s All-Star game will take place on July 17th at Nationals Park in Washington D.C.
Below are the complete rosters for both the American and National League teams.