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Can Nick Castellanos or Craig Kimbrel win the All-Star Game MVP?

No Phillie has captured the honor since Johnny Callison in 1964

Philadelphia Phillies v Tampa Bay Rays
If I get in another car accident, that can only help Nick Castellanos’ chances at the MVP
Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

The past few years, I’ve taken a look at the Phillies’ representatives in the All-Star Game and analyzed whether or not they’ll have a chance to end the “Curse of Johnny Callison” and be the first Phillie to capture the game’s MVP award since Callison earned the honors in 1964.

In 2022, the Phillies had two representatives at the game, with Bryce Harper being voted as the starting DH, and Kyle Schwarber selected as a reserve. Unfortunately, Harper was on the IL at the time and was unable to play, leaving Schwarber as the team’s only hope.

Schwarber entered the game in the sixth inning, and with the National League trailing at the time, he had a great opportunity to put his name in consideration for the award. Unfortunately, Schwarber grounded out in the seventh and struck out in the ninth, as the American League won for the ninth straight year.

One of the main reasons Phillies players haven’t often won the MVP is because the National League rarely wins the game. On the other hand, you could make a point that if the Phillies representatives played better, perhaps the NL would have an additional win or two.

The Phillies have two players on the 2023 NL All-Star team. With both of them healthy and eligible to play, that theoretically doubles the chances that a Phillie will capture some hardware. Let’s take a look to see if either Craig Kimbrel or Nick Castellanos has what it takes to end the 58-year drought.

Craig Kimbrel

Unless your name is Mariano Rivera, and MLB predetermined that you are going to be the MVP, it is almost impossible for a reliever to win.

This will be Kimbrel’s ninth All-Star Game, so he’s no stranger to the proceedings. He even earned the win for the American League team in 2017, but the MVP went to Robinson Cano who hit a game-winning home run in the 10th inning.

As unlikely as a Kimbrel MVP is, one thing working in his favor is that Rob Thomson will be managing the NL team, and he might choose to use Kimbrel in a pivotal spot. If Kimbrel enters the game in a key situation and escapes from a jam, perhaps he might curry favor with the voters.

Nick Castellanos

Castellanos went 0-2 in his first All-Star appearance in 2021, so perhaps he got the nervousness out of his system, and he’ll be ready to do some damage this time around. As a reserve, he might only get one plate appearance, so hopefully it will come at a key junction where a hit would give the NL the lead.

We all know Castellanos’ history when some sort of tragedy occurs, so if you’re hoping to see a Phillie capture the MVP award, you should root for some sort of crisis or celebrity death on Tuesday night.

If something bad does happen, I just hope it doesn’t affect me personally. For whatever reason, bad things tend to happen to me on the day of the All-Star Game. (I’ve gotten into a car accident, had an HVAC unit spring a leak, and severely injured my back along with several other minor calamities.)

I’m holding out hope that Castellanos can come through without the benefit of tragedy, and Johnny Callison can finally rest in peace.