With their May struggles and some injuries to key players, it’s extremely difficult to project which members of the Arizona Diamondbacks could head to Washington for the 2018 All-Star Game. Interestingly enough, one “underdog” name has been floated out there as a candidate.
An article on MLB.com, which identified five different underdogs for the Midsummer Classic, listed Descalso as a potential darkhorse candidate. This is how A.J. Cassavell justified it:
"With the D-backs beset by injuries, Descalso has played all over the diamond, seeing time at third, second, first and left field. (He also pitched a scoreless 2/3 of an inning during a blowout loss to save the bullpen.)At the plate, Descalso has been just as versatile, having started games at every position in the batting order but ninth. He owns a career-best 132 OPS+ and has seven homers in 178 plate appearances. He’s been big in some clutch spots for the D-backs as well."
There’s no question that Descalso has been an important piece of keeping the D-Backs afloat. This is true due to injuries to A.J. Pollock, Steven Souza, and Jake Lamb throughout the year, as well as the struggles of Paul Goldschmidt (until recently). And it’s actually sort of a compelling case.
The most All-Star worthy element of Descalso’s game has been his versatility. He’s played first, second, third, and left. His fielding at each has been unremarkable, but there’s something to be said about the fact that he can bounce all over. Does that make him an All-Star in itself? Probably not quite.
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He is, however, in the midst of his best offensive year to date. He’s reaching base at a .355 rate and his ISO is all the way up at .255. That latter figure would put him 15th among qualifying position players. If he had enough plate appearances to qualify. Which he doesn’t. His 132 wRC+ would have him tied for 32nd among the same group. Again, not enough plate appearances, but he’s been an important piece for the Snakes.
It’s really difficult to make a compelling case for Daniel Descalso as an All-Star. His defense has been unspectacular. His offense doesn’t qualify. And even then, there are better offensive players out there. However, the Arizona Diamondbacks do need a representative. Injuries to their lineup and starting staff make a case here. It’ll more likely be someone like Patrick Corbin. Nonetheless, the fact that a conversation is even to be had here tells you a lot about Descalso’s role this season. Even without recognition, he’s still a key piece.
The most important point here, at least in my eyes, is that there should be some sort of utility spot eligible for the All-Star Game. You have someone like Javier Baez in Chicago, who has played second, short, and third in recent years. Or Ian Happ from the North Side, as well. Or Enrique Hernandez out in Los Angeles. That’d certainly make for an intriguing change moving forward.