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Stephen Strasburg Is Already An All-Star

Three reasons why the most exciting pitcher in baseball needs to be in Anaheim.

I know the baseball purists will say too much too soon. They'll say Stephen Strasburg has not had enough starts to qualify for the All-Star Game. They'll say it's not fair to the guys that have played the entire season in the big leagues. Hall of Famer Joe Morgan already sounded off on the injustice of the idea.

"There are too many players who have been here all year, pitchers who have done well," Morgan told FanHouse on Monday. "They should be given first shot."

"I've seen phenoms before. I don't think there's any doubt he's going to be a great pitcher, but I don't think you should come here and leapfrog guys who have been doing this all year."

This is a totally fair and valid point, and there was a day and time when baseball could operate that way.

But those days are long gone. Here are three reasons why Anaheim should celebrate "Strasmas" on July 13.

The All-Star Game is a great showcase for Major League Baseball and an opportunity to draw in more fans. 

Who has gotten more attention from fans and media alike this season than Stephen Strasburg? He has not only lived up to the hype so far, he has exceeded it. He is must-see TV every time he starts (albeit just four times).

If you put him in the All-Star Game it will take the mid-summer classic to another level. The game is for the fans too, right? Has another player had an entire merchandise booth dedicated to them ... on the ROAD?

Plus, every team has one representative in the game, and apologies to Adam Dunn, Matt Capps, and Ryan Zimmerman, but who better to represent the Nationals?  If this was the NBA, commissioner David Stern would already have a flight and hotel booked to Anaheim for Strasburg. Baseball needs a younger audience and if you want to grab them and keep them you should have your top talent on display. 

The game is not just for the fans, but also for home field advantage in the World Series. 

First let me go ahead and state the obvious here: Bud Selig made an awful decision making an exhibition game decide home field in the World Series. I think it is one of the lamest things in the history of sports.

However, you play the hand you are dealt, and Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel may benefit from home field in the World Series. So it would be smart for him to add a pitcher that has the stuff, the numbers and, perhaps most importantly, a real fresh arm. It would be a nice weapon out of the bullpen for Manuel to have late in a tight game, and for those of you scoring at home the last NL All-Star win was 1996. So maybe an unconventional approach to the roster would not be a bad thing. 

He's already good enough

The guy already has the stuff that the best of the best pitchers have in his limited experience. 

"He's definitely a middle-to-top-of-the-rotation guy now," said a National League executive who requested anonymity.

"The exercise is, how many guys are like that? ... There's a handful of guys. I think it's probably less than 15 right now."

The only argument against Strasburg in the All-Star Game will be about number of starts. The critics/cynics are waiting for this guy to blow up and have a bad outing, but in his four starts, he has shown no signs of slowing down.  Think about it this way: The biggest criticism of Strasburg is he throws too many strikes!  

Before we get any further, let's make sure we understand how good Strasburg has been in four starts. He has a 1.78 ERA. He has 41 strikeouts and five walks in 25 1/3 innings, a ratio of 14.6 to 1. In three home starts, he has 33 strikeouts and zero walks. Opposing batters have missed 36 percent of the time they've swung, the best rate among any starter. He could win break point against John Isner. He could dress up as a Teddy and win the President's Race. There is nothing he has not done exceedingly well.

The kid needs to be graded on a curve. I know it is a long shot that Strasburg makes the All-Star Game. Major League Baseball's traditional way of thinking will not allow it to happen. I also completely understand traditions because I have one when watching baseball games that Strasburg does not start: falling asleep in front of the TV before the fifth inning. 

But in this case, it's only right to break with tradition. It's only right for Stephen Strasburg to get his chance to pitch in the All-Star Game.