This MLB offseason has been dominated by the ongoing slow-as-molasses free agent market, but that shouldn't overshadow the fact that pitchers like as Yu Darvish and Gerrit Cole are on their way to making two of the best teams in baseball even better.
It will always be true that everyone needs starting pitching, and 2018 promises to be a banner year for big league hurlers. With that in mind, here are four pitchers that will make the All-Star Game for the very first time this season.
4. Shohei Ohtani
He's yet to play in the majors, which is why he is listed at No. 4, but it's pretty much impossible to sleep on Shohei Ohtani.
The two-way Japanese superstar came over to the MLB with a ton of hype surrounding his name. Talented guys can make All-Star team in their rookie year, though-- remember Bryce Harper? The excitement that surrounded his debut is comparable to what we are seeing with Ohtani now.
If he can manage to stay in the Angels' six-man starting rotation and perform even relatively close to the expectations that fans have placed on him, he'll feature in the Midsummer Classic.
3. Aaron Nola
With the addition of Carlos Santana, Aaron Nola will have a little more offense behind him in the 2018 season, which is something that the pitching in Philly has needed.
Nola is still just 24-years old and has the potential to be a great pitcher. The right-hander saw his inning count go way up in 2017, while his ERA went down. With a little more run support and some continued consistency, this young arm could be in line for an All-Star nod.
2. Chase Anderson
30-year-old Chase Anderson had his breakout year in 2017 with the help of the Brewers' bats, posting a 2.74 ERA and a 12-4 record. If he keeps the momentum going and the Brew Crew manages to swing the lumber like they did last season, Anderson will likely be seeing his name on the back of an All-Star uniform-- and could punch a ticket to the playoffs to boot.
1. Kyle Hendricks
Now that the Cubs have added Yu Darvish to a staff that already included Jon Lester, it will be easy for fans to forget about Hendricks. But they shouldn't.
Hendricks was the ace of the Cubs rotation last year given the struggles Lester had, and as he gets older, the Cubs should expect less and less out of the lefty. In the past two years, however, Hendricks' ERA hasn't been above 3.05, and he led the league in that stat in 2016.
If he keeps it up, the 28-year-old should get some All-Star love. It's about time, isn't it?