Atlanta Braves: 3 Reasons Jesse Chavez should be an All-Star and 2 why he shouldn't

San Diego Padres v Atlanta Braves
San Diego Padres v Atlanta Braves / Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Braves/GettyImages
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At 39 years old and in his fourth stint with the Atlanta Braves, Jesse Chavez is pitching like an All-Star, but what does "pitching like an All-Star" look like for a reliever with one save? Will an injury derail his chance of making his first-ever Midsummer Classic?

We're going to look at three reasons why Chavez should make the All-Star team and two reasons why he shouldn't. But to determine whether he's deserving, we need to look at the relievers who have represented their team at the All-Star game over the last ten years.

Non-closing relievers in the All-Star Game since 2013

There are two categories I want to separate these relievers: absolutely dominant and "there was no one else good enough on the team and the rules say each team has to have an All-Star."

Of course, the Braves will have several All-Stars in 2023, with Sean Murphy and Ronald Acuña Jr. near locks, and with Spencer Strider, Bryce Elder, Orlando Arica, Austin Riley, and Matt Olson as potential options. The performance of these relievers shouldn't be used as reasons why Chavez should be selected to his first Midsummer Classic, but it's interesting to see how well they performed to get the nod in the first place.

Lone All-Stars

Pat Neshek, Phillies, 2017: Neshek was outstanding with the Phillies. Before being traded to the Rockies midseason, Neshek had a 1.12 ERA in 40.1 innings. His FIP was slightly higher at 1.94. Even though Hector Neris was the closer, Neshek was deserving of the nod, despite being the sole member.

Joe Jimenez, Tigers, 2018: Hey, we know this guy! At the All-Star break, Jimenez had a 2.72 ERA and a 2.51 FIP in 43 innings. This is worse than this year's performance by Chavez, but this Tigers team didn't have many deserving options outside of Jimenez. I'm not sure why Shane Greene (4.05 ERA and 4.19 FIP) was the team's closer.

Joe Mantiply, Diamondbacks, 2022: Mantiply had a 2.21 ERA and a 2.51 FIP. Mark Melancon was the team's closer and was not very good, but there were plenty of other options on this team who were completely acceptable All-Stars (Merrill Kelly, Zac Gallen, and Christian Walker).

Non-closing relievers on good teams who made the All-Star Game

I'll be honest, when I started doing the research for this article, I didn't think Jesse had a chance of making his first All-Star game. Not because I didn't think he deserved it, but because I thought it was nearly impossible for a non-closing reliever to get selected if they were on a team with other All-Stars.

I was wrong.

The list above is every single non-closing reliever who was their team's sole representative at the All-Star Game. Three players.

Every other reliever who made was selected to represent their team at the Midsummer Classic depsite not racking up saves did so along side other teammates.

Some, like Mark Melancon in 2013 and Chris Devenski in 2017 had five teammates who were also selected. Multiple other players, like Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis (on the same team in the same year!) had four teammates selected.

Melancon was far more dominant than Chavez, as he had a 0.81 ERA and a 1.60 ERA, but Devenski had a 2.73 ERA and 2.45 FIP, which, as we'll get to in a minute, is very similar to Jesse Chavez's performance. Melancon had two saves while Devenski had three.

I won't bore you with the the entire list of 20+ players (here's the rough list, because some pitchers become closers midseason, it's not entirely accurate), but I have a few takeaways.

1. This is still happening. In the last 10 years, There was only one year where multiple non-closing relievers weren't selected as All-Stars (2019). in 2022, there were five, and three were on teams with multiple selections.

2. Placement on the ERA and fWAR leaderboards is a factor, but not the determining factor. Last season, A.J. Minter had a 1.89 ERA and 1.5 fWAR (5th-best in baseball) and was not selected as an All-Star. However, the ERA of the pitcher mattered. Pitchers with sub 2.00 ERAs were far more likely to be selected, especially if they had teammates in the All-Star game.

3. Sometimes, the selections don't make sense. In 2021, Taylor Rogers had a 3.35 ERA (2.32 FIP) at the break and wasn't the only representative on his team. Meanwhile, the Yankees' Jonathan Loaisiga had more innings and a 2.11 ERA (slightly worse 2.60 FIP), but was skipped.

So, what does this have to do with Jesse Chavez? It shows how the Commissioner's Office and the players, the people who select the pitchers, have voted in the past, and their methods aren't likely to change that much. With that, lets take a look at the case for and against making Jesse Chavez an All-Star.