This unheralded D-back has strong ASG case

July 9th, 2022

This story was excerpted from Steve Gilbert's D-backs Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

It's hard for a relief pitcher who is not a closer to make an All-Star team, but if anyone deserves consideration for a spot on the NL team this year, it's D-backs setup man Joe Mantiply.

The left-hander has been nothing short of outstanding for the D-backs this year. In his first 33 appearances, he had a 1.13 ERA.

Wednesday night against the Giants, Mantiply had a rare poor outing, allowing three runs, which raised his ERA to 1.91. One outing, though, can't overshadow the fact that he's been unscored upon in 31 of his 34 appearances.

"I'm really pushing for this guy," D-backs pitching coach Brent Strom said. "We have a couple of candidates for the All-Star Game. I think he's one of the top candidates and nothing would please me more than to see him get selected."

Over his last 33 outings, Mantiply has not allowed a single walk, setting a Major League record by a left-hander for most consecutive games without issuing a base on ball. The previous mark of 30 was held by Sean Doolittle.

A number of Mantiply's teammates have mentioned him as deserving of an All-Star selection, and to know that he has the respect of the guys in the clubhouse means a lot to Mantiply.

"I mean, I would never imagine that would ever be a possibility," Mantiply said of the All-Star Game. "That the guys on the team think I could be there is definitely an honor and it means the world, for sure."

Mantiply is a study in perseverance. He was drafted three times -- in the 48th round in 2009, the 28th round in 2012 and the 27th round in 2013. None of those rounds even exist in the current Draft structure.

The D-backs signed the 31-year-old as a Minor League free agent on Jan. 3, 2020, after he had been with the Tigers, Yankees and Reds organizations as well as undergoing Tommy John surgery.

"It definitely wasn't easy," Mantiply said. "There's definitely times where I thought I may not come back. It's just an up-and-down kind of process. But I've got a great support system that kept pushing me. My family -- my parents and my wife -- never let me give up on my dream. They believed in me."

There are a lot more believers in Mantiply now.