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UNC Baseball: Tar Heel Zac Gallen picked for MLB All-Star Game

On Sunday, the pitcher was named an MLB All-Star for the first time.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

On Sunday, the full rosters for the 2023 MLB All-Star Game were released. One Tar Heel will be making the trip to Seattle for the festivities as former UNC pitcher and current Arizona Diamondbacks’ starter Zac Gallen was named on the National League’s roster.

Gallen has been a massive part of Arizona’s season so far, in which they have opened up a multi-game lead in the National League West Division. After his outing on Sunday, Gallen has a 3.15 ERA in 111.1 innings for the Diamondbacks. He’s been their ace and has been the winning pitcher of record in 10 of their 50 wins on the season. He also joined fellow Diamondback Randy Johnson in a club of people who have accidentally killed a bird with a baseball.

This has been a couple years coming for Gallen, who has rounded into a very good pitcher. He arguably could’ve been an All-Star for the Diamondbacks last year, but a slump over his final couple starts before the teams were picked took him somewhat out of contention. However, he fully got on the map with an excellent second half of the season in 2022, which ended with him finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award voting. He also arguably could’ve been an All-Star in 2020, but the game was not held during a season that was shortened due to that whole COVID thingy.

In making this year’s team, Gallen has become the first Tar Heel All-Star since Andrew Miller in 2017. If Gallen can also keep things going in future season, he’s young enough that he could very easily set the record for most MLB All-Star appearances by a former UNC player. At the moment, Miller, Brian Roberts, Snuffy Stirnweiss, and Burgess Whitehead jointly hold that record with two each.

As for whether or not he’ll appear in the game, that remains to be seen. Gallen last pitched yesterday. If the Diamondbacks follow a normal five-starter rotation over the next week, he would next pitch on Saturday. That would in all likelihood rule him out of then pitching even just an inning in the All-Star game on the following Tuesday.

Either way, Gallen has been excellent so far this season, and his All-Star berth is well deserved. Congrats to him and we hope he has a nice time at the festivities next week in Seattle!