Later this week, we'll publish our All-Star rosters here at ESPN.com, with various writers picking their All-Star teams. It's not that easy to go through the actual mechanization of picking the rosters, and choosing the American League starting pitchers is going to be especially difficult.
As I started looking at the numbers today, one thing immediately stood out: Besides Chris Sale, most of the big names aren't having All-Star seasons, and most of the guys having good seasons don't have long track records of success.
But here's what really jumped out at me. Here are the AL's highest-paid pitchers this season:
1. David Price, Boston Red Sox: $30 million (8-4, 4.68 ERA). He leads the league in strikeouts with 110 in 102 innings pitched, but he has allowed 14 home runs. Two blow-up starts -- 14 runs and 20 hits in a combined six innings -- have bloated his season numbers.
2. Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers: $28 million (7-6, 4.30 ERA). As with Price, Verlander's strikeout rate is strong -- 107 in 104 2/3 innings -- but he has also been plagued by the long ball, with 16 home runs, and has three starts of seven-plus runs allowed. I'd say both are good bets to post lower ERAs moving forward.
3. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners: $25.8 million (4-4, 2.86 ERA). Before landing on the DL with a calf injury, he wasn't pitching as well as the ERA indicated, with some control problems (26 walks in 63 innings) and the lowest strikeout rate of his career.
4. CC Sabathia, New York Yankees: $25 million (5-4, 2.71 ERA). He has pitched only 69 1/3 innings and has managed to keep the runs off the scoreboard despite a career-worst walk rate. Maybe it's an "effectively wild" game plan, as he has kept the ball in the park with just three home runs.
5. Cole Hamels, Texas Rangers: $22.5 million (8-1, 2.79 ERA). The old-school stats look great, but thanks to an inflated home run rate and a career-worst walk rate, his FIP is 4.58. Guess who has the second-highest strand rate among starters in the majors?
6. Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees, $22 million (5-2, 3.01 ERA). He has actually been pretty good, though his SO/BB ratio has declined from 6.71 in 2014 to 5.15 in 2015 to 4.17 this season. That's as big of a red flag as his K rate declines with only a slight increase in ground ball rate.
Nos. 7, 8 and 9 on the list are C.J. Wilson and Jered Weaver of the Los Angeles Angels and Rick Porcello of the Red Sox, who all make more than $20 million. Wilson is injured, Weaver has a 5.24 ERA, and Porcello is 8-2 with a 3.93 ERA, which is at least solid.
10. Jordan Zimmermann, Tigers: $18 million (9-4, 3.81). Like Porcello, Zimmermann has solid enough numbers, but after posting a 0.55 ERA in April, he has a 5.72 ERA over his past nine starts.
Those are the highest-paid pitchers. Maybe even more disappointing are the performances of three of the top five finishers in last year's Cy Young voting: Dallas Keuchel (5.35 ERA), Sonny Gray (5.03), and Chris Archer (4.70).
The list that makes the team will be dependent on a couple factors: Whom did the players vote for as their starting pitchers, and how will the roster requirements force Ned Yost's hand? The player votes are skewed to early results, so Zimmermann might make it because he had a 1.50 ERA through mid-May. Jose Quintana might be voted in as well -- he'd be a fine selection, given that he has been very good for several years now -- as he had a hot start.
Will the players go for somebody such as Price, based on past success? Remember, last year, the NL players didn't select Clayton Kershaw as one of the top five pitchers (he made the team as an injury replacement).
I see only three guys who should be locks: Sale, Danny Salazar of the Indians and Marco Estrada of the Blue Jays. Red Sox starter Steven Wright leads the league in ERA, but that number is skewed by 14 unearned runs; he's only 11th among AL starters in WAR. So how will things shake out? Check back later this week for more All-Star predictions.