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Despite the All-Star game shenanigans that included a selfie with Chapman, Torres, and Severino, a viral GIF of Machado looking at Gleyber Torres’ phone, and Machado’s nephew saying on live television that he’d like to see his uncle on the Yankees, Jon Heyman reported moments ago that Manny Machado is close to being traded, but not to the Bronx Bombers. The deal is supposed to occur after tomorrow’s All-Star Game, which will likely be Machado’s last game in an Orioles uniform.

Jonathan Holder has a realistic shot of making the All-Star team



Middle relievers have only recently started receiving universal recognition for their individual performance in Major League Baseball, due to the new age of numbers in the sport. Saves are no longer the all-telling, ultimate stat about a reliever’s success and WAR, ERA+, and other metrics have opened the eyes of fans on just how valuable it is for a team to have dominant relievers outside of the ninth inning role. Their widely agreed on importance has led to a lot of non-closer relievers making the All-Star team in recent seasons. The American League squad had two of them in 2017 and 2015, and a whopping four in 2016. If this trend continues, the AL should feature at least one or two non-closer relievers, and possibly more, with the scarcity of lockdown closers in the AL in 2018. The Yankees feature a lot of highly talented middle relievers and the pitcher who has surprised everyone the most, Jonathan Holder, has a very realistic shot of cracking the AL All-Star squad.
 
Photo Credit: NJ.com


Let’s start with Holder’s numbers, which are incredible. He boasts a 1-1 record with a very impressive 2.00 ERA, a miniscule 0.74 WHIP, and a more than solid 27:4 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Taking a deeper dive, Holder leads all American League pitchers in WHIP, is second in OPS against, and his K:BB ratio is fourth among all AL relievers. He is also in the top ten of ERA and TB allowed among AL relievers. Most impressively, he leads the entire sport in ERC, or component ERA. ERC was invented by Bill James and is a method of altering how ERA is calculated to take more into account how the runs actually scored. In other words, Holder’s runs that he has allowed do not correlate as much with how he has actually performed. He has been even better since he was recalled to the majors as he has not allowed an earned run in his last 17 appearances. Hitters are slashing a measly .121/.169/.182 during this same span, and he has only let three inherited runners score, which is also impressive given the tough situations Boone constantly signals for Holder to pitch in.

By all of the previously mentioned metrics, Holder has clearly been a Top-10 reliever in the American League, but that does not guarantee him a spot on the All-Star team, by any means. With the Yankees likely sending over a handful of All-Stars before Holder’s name should even be considered and other teams that are having dismal seasons already guaranteed an All-Star on the team, Holder’s chance of making team is improbable, but not impossible.

After doing some research, it was clear to me that at this point that four closers are locks to make the team: Aroldis Chapman, Edwin Diaz, Craig Kimbrel, and Blake Treinen. After this quartet, there is not a plethora of closers that seem likely to make the team. Kelvin Herrera appeared like a lock, but was traded to the Nationals this past week. Other closers like Shane Greene, Keone Kela, Fernando Rodney, and Cody Allen have flashed good stuff this year, but their numbers simply do not stack up with the rest of the competition. With this being said, there is some wiggle room for some middle relievers to find their way onto the team, especially after replacements are needed due to injury and for starters who pitch the weekend before the game. Here is how Holder stacks up versus some of the top middle relievers in the AL.

Pitcher
IP
ERA
WHIP
K:BB
fWAR
Jonathan Holder
27.0
2.00
0.74
27:4
0.7
Hector Rondon
27.0
1.61
1.14
34:8
0.8
Collin McHugh
32.0
1.13
0.84
43:7
0.6
Chris Devenski
28.2
1.52
0.87
35:7
0.9
Matt Magill
24.2
1.46
0.89
20:3
0.4
James Pazos
26.0
2.08
1.04
25:3
0.6
Chad Green
34.1
2.36
1.05
45:7
1.0

Holder is right there in every statistical category with all of the other relievers, and his stats are hindered by his early season struggles and eventual demotion, yet this depicts he belongs among the elite. The next table shows Holder’s compared to what the AL All-Star middle relievers since 2015 had done up to this point in the season:
Pitcher/Year
W-L
IP
ERA
WHIP
K:BB
Holder/2018
1-1
27.0
2.00
0.74
27:4
Betances/2017
3-1
22.2
0.40
1.04
43:14
Neshek/2017
2-1
28.0
0.64
0.79
25:4
Miller/2017
3-2
37.2
1.43
0.73
54:8
Miller 2016
4-0
29.2
1.21
0.68
55:3
Harris/2016
0-1
31.2
0.57
0.77
32:6
Brach/2016
5-1
38.2
1.16
0.89
45:11
Betances/2016
2-4
33.1
3.24
1.03
62:8
O’Day 2015
4-0
27.2
0.98
0.85
36:7
Herrera 2015
1-1
26.0
2.08
1.08
26:10

Once again, Holder belongs. His ERA isn’t sub-1.00 like a few of these players, who were off to historic starts, but his ability to keep players off base, his control of the strike zone, and overall effectiveness all are demonstrated above in comparison to some of the great relievers in the sport.

The word All-Star does not immediately pop into one’s mind when the barely household name to casual Yankee fans, Jonathan Holder, is mentioned, and I would not be surprised if some of my readers still disagree with me after seeing the stats and competition, but there is no denying the great season he has put together through his early struggles and minor league demotion. Holder has been among the elite relievers in the AL ever since he was brought back up, and he deserves recognition, and with the All-Star Game still a little ways away, he still has some time to build upon his incredible season.

Article by: Ryan Thoms

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