J.P. Howell: Stealth All-Star candidate?

June, 18, 2014
Jun 18
5:28
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- J.P. Howell, All-Star?

The Los Angeles Dodgers' left-handed reliever might not fit the profile of an All-Star pitcher since he doesn't work in a glamorous role and his fastball, according to Fangraphs, is averaging less than 86 mph this season. But a good few weeks could put him at least in the discussion when Mike Matheny is putting together the National League staff and the Dodgers have started to build a little campaign.

The team's official Twitter account tweets #AllStar whenever it mentions Howell, who has a 0.69 ERA since May 9 and is holding opposing hitters to a .146 average in that time.

Howell, 31, says he's flattered, but he's not canceling his All-Star break plans just yet.

"That would be a shock, an absolute shock," Howell said. "I've never been that guy. I've always been the under-the-radar guy and, to be honest, I like it that way. Don't get it twisted. It would be a huge honor, but I never have that as my goal. My goal is a World Series."

Howell might be right. His chances appear slim as left-handed relievers are thriving in the National League this year. Six -- Tony Watson, Dan Jennings, Will Smith, Zach Duke and Jeremy Affeldt -- have better ERA's than Howell's 1.73 this season.

The Dodgers appear to have a couple of locks -- Yasiel Puig and Zack Greinke -- for the All-Star game in Minnesota, with several other players -- Howell, Josh Beckett, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Clayton Kershaw, Adrian Gonzalez and Dee Gordon -- as possibilities.

Mark Saxon

ESPNLosAngeles.com
Mark Saxon is a staff writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. He spent six years at the Orange County Register, and began his career at the Oakland Tribune, where he started an 11-year journey covering Major League Baseball. He has also covered colleges, including USC football and UCLA basketball.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Yasiel Puig
BA HR RBI R
.293 13 60 76
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Gonzalez 23
RBIA. Gonzalez 103
RD. Gordon 84
OPSY. Puig .854
WC. Kershaw 19
ERAC. Kershaw 1.70
SOC. Kershaw 219