Strasburg Would Have Considered Turning Down All-Star Game Invitation

"I didn't really feel like I was qualified to make the team," said the rookie.

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Stephen Strasburg Doesn't Feel Deserving Of All-Star Game

While some have campaigned for Stephen Strasburg's inclusion in the all-star game, the pitcher himself admits that he would feel undeserving of the honor were it bestowed upon him. Via Ben Goessling:

"I didn't really feel like I was qualified to make the team, number one, based on how much experience I have. I'm sure I'll have opportunities somewhere down the road, but right now, it was never a goal of mine."

Strasburg went so far as to say it "would have been a real tough decision" about whether he would have played in the game if he'd been picked.

The simple fact that Strasburg would have considered declining an All-Star game invitation really says a lot about his character. Especially when one considers the players on the Nationals with stronger resumes than the young phenom, such as Ryan Zimmerman, Josh Willingham, Adam Dunn, and Tyler Clippard.

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Nationals Partnering With Rangers To Get Ryan Zimmerman, Michael Young Into All-Star Game

Just how badly do the Nationals want to get Ryan Zimmerman into the All-Star Game? They've decided to partner with the Texas Rangers in some sort of cross-marketing campaign that'll ask people to vote both Zimmerman and Rangers star Michael Young in the 2010 All-Star Final Vote.

The team sent out a press release explaining how it will work:

The Nationals and Rangers will promote the "Third Base Ticket" during games at each ballpark (the Rangers host the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday and Wednesday nights), on their television and radio broadcasts, and on-line until Thursday's deadline. The on-line All-Star Game Final Vote ballot on both texasrangers.com and nationals.com  will be titled "Saving the Best for Last" since both players are fifth alphabetically among the five final vote candidates in each league.

In addition, both Zimmerman and Young have taped spots that will run on the video boards at Nationals Park and Rangers Ballpark in Arlington to encourage voting for each other.

The Nationals and Rangers aren't the only teams coming together, as the Red Sox and Reds have also partnered to campaign for Joey Votto and Kevin Youkilis. 

So it's come to this, huh? I guess it was inevitable as soon as the Final Vote thing started a few years back. 

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Joey Votto 'Narowly' Leads Ryan Zimmerman In All-Star Fan Vote

In theory, Ryan Zimmerman still has an opportunity to make the all-star team. As you know, he is one of the final five players whom fans can vote onto the all-star team. In reality, he doesn't stand much of a chance. That's because one of the other four players in that vote is Cincinatti's Joey Votto, widely considered the biggest all-star snub. Early voting returns only confirm what we already suspected, via MLB.com.

Votto jumped out of the gate fastest in the National League and is narrowly ahead of Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman; Braves closer Billy Wagner; Rockies left fielder Carlos Gonzalez; and Padres closer Heath Bell.

At least the lead, up to this point, can only be described as "narrow." But as more people around the country learn about the until now relatively obscure Joey Votto, I expect that margin to grow. There is always some sympathy around the "biggest snub," and generally, the best players are the ones who make the team. Looking at Votto's numbers, its hard to complain.

There is always the chance Zimmerman makes it as an injury replacement though. He and Votto are the only infielders among the final five, so Zim is the logical replacement for any infield position other than first base.

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Where You Can Vote For Ryan Zimmerman

If it were up to me, Ryan Zimmerman would already be on the all-star team, and he would be joined by Stephen Strasburg and Josh Willingham (who is third in OPS among NL outfielders). Unfortunately, it's not up to me, because Matt Capps is on the roster and Willingham and Strasburg are not.

Zimmerman, on the other hand, is still under consideration. He was one of the five NL players selected for the 2010 Final Vote, which allows the fans to pick the last player on the AL and NL rosters. Zimmerman's competition includes Atlanta's Billy Wagner, San Diego's Heath Bell, Cincinnati's Joey Votto and Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez. None of those guys show up on this FanGraphs list (except Votto ... LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU), so your decision should be easy. 

To vote, click here

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Charlie Manuel Says Stephen Strasburg Needs To Get 'Broken In' At Major League Level

In the end, the players' ethos won out over the fans when it came to Stephen Strasburg's All-Star candidacy. Strasburg ultimately was not selected to be on the team, and the stated reason by many was that he simply didn't have the longevity of many other candidates. 

At least that's what Phillies general manager Charlie Manuel told TBS last night, via Federal Baseball.

"[Strasburg] got quite a bit of consideration. I love watching the guy pitch. I haven't seen him live yet, he hasn't pitched against us, but at the same time I've been watching him. I don't have to tell anybody, he's got a great future. What's he got, like five starts or something in the major leagues? In my experience in the game. I think of the kid, leave him alone and let him pitch. He's going to be an All-Star for a long time, and I just felt like, there's other guys out there who've started anywhere from 18-20 games, and I felt, like I said, just kinda leave him alone, let him get broken in at the major league level and he'll take care of himself." 

Based on how he's pitched so far, I don't think Strasburg has a problem with being "broken in" to the Major League level, but maybe the Mets disagree. Still, based on this analysis, it's clear Manuel wanted to give guys like Matt Capps a chance to play in the game instead of anointing Strasburg too soon.

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Matt Capps Named To National League All-Star Team

The rosters were announced for this year's All-Star Game, and despite a better season than years past, the Nationals have only been rewarded with one player in this year's game.

Closer Matt Capps got the nod for this year's game thanks to his 22 saves, good for the second most in MLB, only one behind league-leader Heath Bell. Capps has been a key to the Nationals' improved bullpen this season. Last year, the Nationals' bullpen had a league-worst 5.01 ERA, this year Washington's bullpen has an ERA of 3.41.

Last year's Nationals representative, Ryan Zimmerman, still has an opportunity to make the All-Star team as a part of the Final Vote. He, along with Heath Bell, Joey Votto, Carlos Gonzalez and Billy Wagner are the players who can be voted in for the final spot on the National League roster. If Zimmerman is voted in, it would be the first time since 2005 the Nationals have had two All-Star representatives.

Stephen Strasburg did not make the team, despite a spectacular start to his major league career. Here's what Charlie Manuel had to say on excluding Strasburg from the final roster, via Federal Baseball:

I don't have to tell anybody, he's got a great future...What's he got, like five starts or something in the major leagues? In my experience in the game...I think of the kid, leave him alone and let him pitch. He's going to be an All-Star for a long time, and I just felt like, there's other guys out there who've started anywhere from 18-20 games, and I felt, like I said, just kinda leave him alone, let him get broken in at the major league level and he'll take care of himself."

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