SAN DIEGO — The MLB All-Star list was released over the weekend. The San Diego Padres will be represented by outfielder Juan Soto and reliever Josh Hader.
Soto started the season a little rough but has since been on a tear. He is hitting .277 with 15 home runs, a 155 wrc+ (4th in MLB), and a 3.4 war (4th in the NL).
He is having a great season.
“It means a lot,” Soto said. “All the sacrifices and everything that was done since the offseason has been coming through, and we’re feeling great. It’s an amazing feeling. Great to represent the San Diego Padres there for the first time in the all-stars means a lot to me too.”
Hader is tied for seventh in the MLB with 18 saves and leads the league in ERA with 1.21. He has been a difference maker for the team when the team needs to close out a game.
“It’s a great honor,” Hader said. “Knowing how hard this game is, and all the great players that we have in this league are just to be named and mentioned with amongst the best. It’s a great honor.”
Both players have been crucial in helping the Padres get to this point, even if it isn’t where they hoped they would be, but their contributions are evident.
“They deserve it, for sure,” Padres third baseman Manny Machado said. “It’s awesome to see that they’re going to go out there and represent us in the best way. I think we got a few other guys that deserve to be there as well.”
He wasn’t speaking about himself. He pointed out pitchers Blake Snell and Michael Wacha, who are having impressive seasons. Snell was just named the NL Pitcher of the Month as the weather has heated up in San Diego, so did he.
Machado was also speaking about right fielder Fernando Tatis Jr., who, even after serving a suspension for the first 20 games of the season, his numbers are up there.
“It’s some BS that he’s not there,” Machado said. “We all know that there’s politics in this. Unfortunately, it’s not the right thing to do. He’s going out there; he paid his dues. He did what he needed to do last year. And as far as him going out there and playing and performing every single day, he’s lived up to the eyes. He’s exceeded it, and he’s put this team on his back for the first half.”
Tatis served an 80-game suspension dating back to last season for using a banned substance. He has done his time, according to Machado.
Even though he missed part of the season, Tatis’ numbers are there with some of the other players that got voted to the All-Star game at T-Mobile Park in Seattle.
When asked if he felt snubbed, all he could do was smile.
“Hmm, no,” Tatis said.
Then he was asked to comment on what Machado said; Tatis, as always, took the high road.
“There’s a lot of good players out there, and I feel like every player that got elected totally deserves it,” Tatis said.
Does he feel like politics are contributing to his invitation getting lost in the mail?
“I don’t know what people in the high top think, so I just know I’m just here to play baseball, and I am ready to go,” Tatis said.
Even though he wasn’t voted in, Tatis was ecstatic for Soto and Hader to represent the team.
“These guys have been balling since day one, and they’ve been putting in hard work, and they deserve it,” Tatis said.
He has been dominant at right field and has only played 64 games at the position. He has made great catches and shown off his rocket arm.
Tatis is hitting a team-high .280 with 16 home runs, but when it comes to wOBA (.369), xwOBA (.376), and wRC+ (136), he is top 15 in the NL while sixth in WAR (3.2).
“He’s an all-star. Everyone knows he’s an all-star,” Soto said. “He’s a great player in and out of the field.”
The Padres will need Tatis and the rest of the team to pick up their game during the second stretch of the season. They are eight games out of the wild card spot while 11.5 games back from the NL West.
The series against the Los Angeles Angels and the New York Mets will be very telling.
“We’re not looking for silver linings at this point; we’re looking to win games,” Manager Bob Melvin said.