With the 2017 Major League Baseball All-Star rosters just about finalized, the real debates can begin. While the All-Star rosters fit more than the typical 25 players, there are bound to be some tough snubs each season. This year is no different.
Below, we’ll take a look at some of the players who were slighted the most this year. One important caveat, we’re not including those involved in the Final Vote. It should go without saying that Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner, who is hitting .388, belongs in the game. Same with Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, who is still one of the best players in baseball.
No, these players didn’t even get that far. While there’s a good chance many will get selected to the contest once others drop out, some will still be passed over in favor of lesser players. For now, they’ll need a little luck if they want to take the trip to Miami.
AMERICAN LEAGUE SNUBS
Lorenzo Cain, OF, Kansas City Royals
Cain’s .286/.359/.449 slash line isn’t otherworldly, but it’s his all-around game that makes him a strong candidate for the All-Star team. In 329 plate appearances, Cain has belted 10 home runs, and is on pace for a career-high in the category. He’s also stolen 15 bases, and hasn’t been caught once. But, perhaps most importantly, Cain gets solid marks for his exceptional defense in center. That’s been a big factor behind his 2.4 fWAR, which ties him for 10th among all AL position players.
Andrelton Simmons, SS, Los Angeles Angels
You can’t mention defense and exclude Simmons. The 27-year-old has once again been one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball. But this season, his bat has shown some life. Simmons is hitting .281/.335/.431, with nine home runs, over 343 plate appearances. His wRC+, an advanced stat that measures a player’s offensive contributions, is a career-high 109. That means Simmons’ offense has been nine percent better than the average player this year. Combine that with his elite defense, and you’ve got an extremely valuable player at one of the most important positions on the field.
Brett Gardner, OF, New York Yankees
Honestly, you could give this to Gardner or his teammate Aaron Hicks. While Hicks actually has the higher fWAR, Gardner has received roughly 100 more plate appearances, so we’re giving him the nod. Hicks, however, does deserve acknowledgement. Gardner, 33, has seen his power surge this season. He’s already hit 15 home runs, and is just two off his career-high. He’s also played solid defense, which has contributed to a strong 2.4 fWAR.
Carlos Carrasco, SP, Cleveland Indians
The 30-year-old Carrasco has never made an All-Star Game, and that’s a shame. Over the past four seasons, he’s posted a 3.27 ERA, with 609 strikeouts over 561 2/3 innings. One of the reasons he’s been left off the All-Star team in the past has been injuries. This year, however, Carrasco has stayed relatively healthy. His 3.50 ERA ranks 10th in the AL. His 103 strikeouts tie him with Lance McCullers Jr. for seventh in the league.
Chris Devenski, RP, Houston Astros
Middle relievers get no respect. How else can you explain Devenski’s snub? The 26-year-old has exploded onto the scene this year, posting a 2.23 ERA over 48 1/3 innings. He’s done that while being a workhorse out of the bullpen. Devenski is tied for the AL lead in innings pitched among relievers. He’s having a throwback season, and could be one of the few relievers in recent history to get to 100 innings without making a start. Oh, and his 35.9 percent strikeout rate ranks 12th among AL relievers. His 1.7 fWAR ranks third, behind Andrew Miller and Craig Kimbrel, among AL relievers. There may be no bigger All-Star snub than Devenski.
OTHER DESERVING AL PLAYERS
Roberto Osuna, RP, Toronto Blue Jays
Blake Parker, RP, Los Angeles Angels
Steven Souza Jr., OF, Tampa Bay Rays
Tommy Kahnle, RP, Chicago White Sox
NATIONAL LEAGUE SNUBS
Jacob deGrom, SP, New York Mets
Even though his 3.55 ERA would currently be a career-high, there’s still plenty of evidence deGrom deserves an All-Star nod. For one, that ERA is good for 13th in the NL, and it’s worth noting that his 29 percent strikeout rate is currently a career-high. His 2.2 fWAR puts him eighth in the NL among starters, ahead of Robbie Ray, who made the club.
Alex Wood, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Wood’s innings total is relatively low compared to other starts, but hisoverall numbers are too strong to ignore. Through 73 2/3 innings, Wood has an excellent 1.83 ERA. He’s struck out a career-high 30.2 percent of batters, which ranks third among all NL starters (ahead of teammate Clayton Kershaw). You can penalize Wood for spending time in the bullpen earlier in the year, or you could make the argument that he could fill either role on the All-Star team. Either way, he deserves to be there.
Jimmy Nelson, SP, Milwaukee Brewers
If you’re wondering how the Brewers are currently in first place in the NL Central, look no further than their rotation. Nelson leads the way there, with a 3.43 ERA over 97 innings. He’s been able to jump his strikeout rate dramatically, and is currently whiffing over a batter per inning. On top of that, his walk rate has plummeted to a career-low 6.2 percent. If not for a poor April, Nelson would likely be an All-Star. He’s posted a 2.63 ERA, with 81 strikeouts over 68 1/3 innings, in his last 11 starts.
Chase Anderson, SP, Milwaukee Brewers
Seriously, no one is paying attention to Milwaukee’s rotation. Anderson has been just about as impressive as Nelson this season. Over 90 1/3 innings, he has a 2.89 ERA. Anderson’s strikeout rate has also jumped to a career-high 23.4 percent. He’s been able to do that while retaining his strong command. Like Nelson, one bad month appears to have sunk Anderson’s chances. After a 2.10 ERA in April, Anderson was belted for a 5.61 ERA in May. After that, he’s rebounded to post a 1.56 ERA in June. His 2.3 fWAR ranks eighth among NL starters, barely behind Nelson.
Felipe Rivero, RP, Pittsburgh Pirates
Uh … how did Rivero not make the NL All-Star team? It wasn’t lack of innings. Rivero’s 44 innings ranks fourth among relievers. It wasn’t lack of strikeouts. He’s striking out over 10 batters per nine innings. It wasn’t his fWAR. At 1.7, he ranks third among NL relievers. And it certainly wasn’t his ERA. Rivero has a microscopic 0.82 ERA on the year, which ranks second among NL relievers. It must be saves. Rivero only has three of them. That’s not his fault, of course. It’s just more proof that middle relievers don’t get the respect they deserve. Put him up there with Devenski as the worst snub in his respective league.
OTHER DESERVING NL PLAYERS
Gio Gonzalez, SP, Washington Nationals
Jim Johnson, RP, Atlanta Braves
Jon Lester, SP, Chicago Cubs
Adam Duvall, OF, Cincinnati Reds
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