OAKLAND – A’s manager Bob Melvin gave strong backing for his ace, Sonny Gray, as a candidate to start the All-Star Game.
“No question about it,” Melvin said before Saturday’s game against the Angels. “Now, you look, there are some other guys that would be in consideration for that, and rightly so. But I certainly think he’s in the conversation.”
Gray’s 1.95 ERA leads the American League, even after he was charged with five earned runs in Friday’s 12-7 loss. Oakland led 7-3 when he left the game in the seventh inning. His 0.95 WHIP ratio (walks plus hits per innings pitched) is tied for second with Houston’s Dallas Keuchel, right behind leader Chris Sale of the White Sox. Gray leads the league in innings at 101 2/3, and his eight wins put him in a five-way tie for second behind Seattle’s Felix Herandez, who has 10.
Kansas City manager Ned Yost, the AL skipper for the July 14 game in Cincinnati, will have several qualified candidates as things currently stand. Keuchel, the only AL starter with a lower opponents’ batting average than Gray (.193 to compared to .196), surely will get consideration, as will Sale, who is 6-3 with a 2.74 ERA and leads the AL in strikeouts and WHIP. Tampa Bay’s Chris Archer (8-4, 2.18) and Hernandez (10-3, 3.08) could be among the other candidates.
Fans vote for All-Star starters, players, managers and coaches vote fo reserves and pitchers, and the All-Star managers also get a few selections. The Royals visit Oakland next weekend, so Melvin will get his chance to lobby Yost then on his players that he feels are deserving. He mentioned catcher Stephen Vogt and right fielder Josh Reddick among the A’s players he feels are deserving along with Gray.
Vogt is hitting .283 with 13 homers and 50 RBI.
“As far as production from the catcher’s spot, there isn’t anybody that has better production, so there’s no question that he should be considered,” Melvin said.