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Ender Inciarte deserving of All-Star nod

The Braves may only get one All-Star and that should be Ender Inciarte.

San Francisco Giants v Atlanta Braves Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

When starters for the 2017 MLB All-Star Game are announced later this week Ender Inciarte's name wont be among them. It is possible he could garner some interest as a reserve but he may be the Braves most deserving candidate. At the very least, he is worth consideration.

Lets start with the glove. Inciarte won the National League’s Gold Glove Award in center field last season and has picked up where he left off this season. Inciarte is currently tied for the league lead with three five-star catches per Statcast’s Catch Probability Leaderboard. He has also converted 10 of 15 four-star chances. Those 10 four-star catches are tops in the National League and trail only Byron Buxton and Mookie Betts.

Inciarte also ranks among the league leaders in defensive runs saved. Per FanGraphs, he is currently third in the National League with eight defensive runs saved trailing only Jason Heyward and Odubel Herrera. Atlanta’s pitching staff has struggled at times this season but the results would be worse if not for Inciarte’s glove in center.

Inciarte’s value goes beyond his glove however and he has helped the Braves weather the storm with Freddie Freeman injured. Inciarte flashed some power early with four home runs in his first 23 games but hit just .230/.267/.400 during April and March.

He’s homered just twice over his last 52 games but has heated up at the plate and is once again setting the table for Atlanta’s offense. Inciarte slashed .336/.397/.403 in May and has upped that to .356/.393/.426 in June. He on pace for more than 200 hits as well as what would be career-highs in runs and RBIs.

His OPS+ and wRC+ are both ahead of last year’s pace and he has done it while playing essentially every day having avoided the injury bug. He has amounted to 2.2 fWAR which is 0.5 more than anyone not named Freddie Freeman.

Best news of all is the Braves have him locked up through the 2022 season at a very team-friendly rate.

Despite being under .500, the Braves have several All-Star candidates. A reduction in All-Star rosters this season may ultimately work against them and Inciarte in particular. Matt Kemp has an outside shot to get in as a starter and would certainly be deserving to be named as a reserve. Tyler Flowers is having the best season of his career at a difficult position and also deserves mention. Had Freeman not gotten hurt then we wouldn’t be having this discussion at all.

Still, Inciarte’s prowess at the plate and in the outfield make him the most valuable and the most deserving.

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