By Bob Behre
The Major League Baseball All-Star teams were released yesterday and two players with New Jersey roots have been named.
Reliever Sean Doolittle (Shawnee High School) of the Washington Nationals was named to his second All-Star Game after a remarkable first half of the season for the otherwise unremarkable Nationals. He joins perennial All-Star center fielder Mike Trout (Millville HIgh School) of the Los Angeles Angels, who earned his seventh All-Star berth.
The lefty Doolittle, 31, is 3-2 with a 1.45 ERA and 22 saves as the Nationals’ closer. He’s been dominant and in complete command of his pitches. He has 49 strikeouts and a ridiculously miniscule three walks in 37.1 innings-pitched. Doolittle has faced 132 batters and those three walks have contributed to a paltry 0.54 WHIP.
Doolittle made the American League All-Star Team in 2014 when he was with the Oakland A’s. At Shawnee High School and Virginia, Doolittle was an outstanding two-way player, starring on the mound at the plate. He was drafted 41st overall by Oakland in 2007. Doolittle boasts a career ERA of 2.84. And his career strikeouts-to-walks numbers are a stunning 380-to-58 over 320.1 innings.
Trout, who will turn 27 on August 7, is in the middle of yet another MVP-caliber season as he puts together the type of career numbers that put him on pace with the greatest players in the history of the game. It is the sixth straight time fans have voted Trout as a starter in the game and he never disappoints. Trout was named the All-Star Game MVP in 2014 and ‘15.
Trout, a former NJ Super 17 player out of Jack Cust Baseball Academy in Flemington, is on pace for his best season in an already remarkable career. He is batting .312 with 25 HR and 50 RBI through 91 games. He has 18 doubles, has scored 68 runs, stolen 13 bases and drawn 79 walks. His on-base percentage of .455 and slugging percentage of .627 give him a gaudy 1.082 OPS.
Another New Jersey player who had an outside shot to make the All-Star Game but missed the cut was righthander Rick Porcello of the Boston Red Sox. Porcello, another former NJ Super 17 player, is 11-3 on the season with a 3.58 ERA for the first place Red Sox. The durable Porcello has rebounded nicely from an 11-17 season in 2017 that was his first down tick in a very impressive career.
The Seton Hall Prep grad and Chester native has a career record of 129-102 with a 4.21 ERA. He was voted the American League Cy Young Award winner in 2016 when his posted a 22-4 record with a 3.15 ERA. He has 293 starts and, as he heads into the second half of his 10th season, is well on pace to average more than 30 starts a season.
Porcello was selected in the first round, 27th overall, of the 2007 MLB Draft by Detroit.