Schwarber powers way onto NL All-Star team; Wheeler, Nola left out


ST. LOUIS -- Kyle Schwarber, whose June power explosion helped turn around the Phillies' season, was named to the National League All-Star roster on Sunday.

Schwarber, voted in by his peers, is the team's second selection to the MLB All-Star Game, which will be played a week from Tuesday at Dodger Stadium. Bryce Harper was voted the NL's starting designated hitter in fan balloting but will not be able to attend because of a broken left thumb.

Schwarber's selection is no surprise; he leads the NL with 28 homers, two shy of New York Yankee Aaron Judge's major-league lead.

What is surprising is that Schwarber will not be joined by either Zack Wheeler or Aaron Nola at the All-Star Game. Neither was selected despite ranking fourth and fifth, respectively, in Fangraphs WAR for NL starting pitchers.

"Obviously, it's always something you want to be in your profession," Schwarber said of his All-Star status. "I think that there's a lot more All-Stars in this room that are very deserving of it and it's kind of a shame. Hopefully, they can get in some way."

Schwarber mentioned Wheeler, Nola, Seranthony Dominguez and Rhys Hoskins as deserving teammates.

Schwarber, 29, made his first All-Star team last year with Washington but did not play in the game because of an injured right hamstring. He's eager to get playing time in this year's game.

"It's definitely an honor to represent the Phillies," he said. "I don't think I'd be here without the people around me, teammates and staff. This is something that goes around the whole room for everyone."

Schwarber will be invited to participate in the Home Run Derby event the night before the game. He's undecided if he will do so.

"I'm up in the air right now, I'd say 50-50," he said. "I'll make a decision in the next couple of days. I want to see how my body is. It's a bucket list thing. I did it once in 2018 and it's fun. But it's also taxing. You weigh the pros and cons."

Schwarber signed a four-year, $78 million contract with the Phillies in March and has had a huge impact on the club with his production and leadership in his first season in Philadelphia.

After a slow start, he exploded in June. He belted 12 homers and drove in 27 runs while recording an OPS of 1.065 and being named NL Player of the Month. The Phils went 19-8 in June and went from a lifeless eight games under .500 to an invigorated three games over. The team's hot streak has continued in July. The Phils are 6-3 in the month and are in control of the third and final NL wild-card spot with a game lead over the Cardinals.

Wheeler, the runner-up for the NL Cy Young Award last year, is having another great season. He has not allowed a run in 14 innings over two starts this month and ranks fifth in the NL in ERA (2.46) and 10th in WHIP (1.05). 

Wheeler's body language suggested some disappointment over not being selected to the team.

"It would have been a privilege," he said. "But it is what it is. I'll spend time with my family."

It's still possible Wheeler could be selected as a fill-in. It's not uncommon for pitchers to back out of the All-Star Game based on their workload in the days leading up to the event.

Nola, who pitches for the Phillies against the Cardinals on Monday night, ranks 14th in the league with a 3.15 ERA, but he's second in innings (111⅓) third in strikeouts (120), and fourth in WHIP (0.93).

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