The best pitcher in Major League Baseball has decided to sit out the league's All-Star game on July 13, which opens the door for another National League hurler to earn a selection.
Mets ace Jacob deGrom endorsed his own teammate Taijuan Walker to replace him at the mid-summer classic in Denver, and while Walker certainly has a case, so do a few other guys across the NL -- Max Scherzer included. Here are a few options to replace deGrom.
Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals
Scherzer not making his eighth All-Star game this season came as a bit of a shock, especially considering how consistently good he's been for a Nationals rotation that's been up-and-down all season long.
Washington's ace currently boasts a 2.10 ERA and 127 strikeouts in 16 starts so far this year. Of starting pitchers with 100+ strikeouts and an ERA of 2.10 or better, Scherzer was the only one not to get an All-Star nod. Scherzer goes up against Yu Darvish in his final start before the break on Thursday night when the Nats finish a four-game series against the San Diego Padres.
Taijuan Walker, New York Mets
Walker has been the Mets' second-best pitcher this season behind deGrom and is a big reason why New York's rotation has sustained the loss of Noah Syndergaard. He has a 2.44 ERA with 87 strikeouts this season and could replace deGrom as the Mets only representative at the All-Star game this year.
All 30 teams are typically represented at the All-Star game, but it's worth nothing MLB is not required to pick another Mets player to replace deGrom.
Walker Buehler, Los Angeles Dodgers
Buehler doesn't have as good a stat line as Scherzer or the endorsement from deGrom like Walker has, but he is arguably the best pitcher on one of the best teams in baseball. That's got to be worth something.
Through 17 starts, Buehler has a 2.49 ERA with 107 strikeouts and an 8-1 record.
Joe Musgrove, San Diego Padres
Musgrove has been the perfect No. 2 behind Yu Darvish in the Padres' rotation and has stabilized their staff given Blake Snell's shaky 2021 campaign. He has a 2.97 ERA and 110 strikeouts this season to go along with the first no-hitter in Padres history.
He doesn't have the same claim the three above him do, but Musgrove wouldn't be the worst choice.