We have played half a baseball season and that signifies a few things for baseball fans. One, playoff races are taking shape and contenders are separating themselves from the pack. Two, the trade deadline is approaching and fans are dreaming about the superstar their team is landing any minute now. And three, the All-Star game is upon us and it’s time to talk about who made the team, or more controversially, who didn’t.
So today we’re ranking the top 10 players who fell victim to MLB’s hilariously and needlessly complicated All-Star selection process. If you’re unaware, the fans, the players, the coaches, the commissioner]s office, and then the fans again and then maybe the commissioner’s office again all play some roll in selecting the teams for the mid-summer classic. How such a well thought-out and streamlined process ever produces any kind of error truly boggles the mind but, every year, the impossible happens, and mistakes are made.
We have, affectionately, come to call these mistakes, snubs. Players fully deserving of All-Star recognition only to have their lives shattered by the injustice of it all. The only thing evil needs to survive in this world is for good men to do nothing and so, it is our duty to write about it. We must write about the snubs. Their story needs to be told.
If that seems overly-dramatic then this part probably won’t help that because several of these players will actually end up on the team. Injuries or unavailability will force replacements to be named and these guys will be at the top of the list of possibilities. Also MLB, in an effort to ruin Twitter I guess, has the final spot on each team come down to an online fan vote. So two of these guys could eaily make it that way. Very few things bring as much relief as finding out your team doesn’t have a player in the final vote.
So with all that, let’s rank the the top 10 All-Star snubs. We’ll go in descending order for maximum drama.
10. Matt Chapman
Every player in Fangraphs top 25 position player WAR was either named to the team, or put into the final vote except one: Matt Chapman.He plays in Oakland, which hurts his visibility, but Chapman is frankly one of the best 3B in baseball. Big power and an elite glove means he should be in Washington for this game.
9. Brandon Belt
First base in the NL is an insanely difficult position to make an All-Star team. Freddie Freeman, Joey Votto, Paul Goldschmidt, Anthony Rizzo, Cody Bellinger and on and on. But Belt should be there this year. A 145 wRC+ and a 3 WAR first half is an All-Star. Belt is on the final vote ballot.
8. Blake Snell
Snell’s exclusion from the team has probably brought the most attention because a.) he leads the league in ERA and b.) Chris Archer, his teammate, went to bat for him on Twitter. Snell is certainly a snub but he got caught in game of numbers considering every team has to have a representative. But this error should soon be corrected. Trevor Bauer pitches right before the break and will almost certainly need to be replaced.
7. Max Muncy
Here’s a stat for you: Max Muncy has an ISO that’s 100 points higher than Manny Machado, who’s having an MVP-level year. That’s how incredible he’s been. He’s hit 20 HRs in 248 plate appearances which makes him a prime candidate for the Home Run Derby. Muncy could find his way on the team by injury replacement or winning the final vote. What a story he would be.
6. Trea Turner
Turner is nod to how far we’ve come in our understanding of player value. Turner only has 110 wRC+ this season but has been an elite base runner and a tremendous fielder at SS. All together he’s on pace for a 6 WAR season and easily deserves recognition on this team. Turner is apart of the final vote.
5. Eddie Rosario
Most of major league baseball probably doesn’t know this but Eddie Rosario has been taking names this year. After a solid year last year, Rosario has posted a 136 wRC+ with 18 HRs and a .536 slugging percentage. If he played in Boston or New York instead of Minnesota, he wouldn’t be on this list because he’d be on the team. Rosario can make the team if he wins the final vote.
4. Jed Lowrie
One of my favorite players in baseball, Jed Lowrie has been killing it in 2018. The Oakland A’s are 10 games over .500 and one of the biggest reasons why is their 2B has a 140 wRC+ and is on pace for 30+ HRs. Jed is another guy who lost a numbers game as every team needs a representative and absolutely should be on the team outright. Lowrie is included in the final online vote.
3. Andrew Benintendi
Benintendi is also on the ballot for the final vote and has a legitimate shot at winning it given Boston’s passionate fan base. But honestly, he shouldn’t need this vote. After the three monsters, Trout, Betts, and Judge, Benintendi has been the next best outfielder in baseball in the AL and should have comfortably made this team.
2. James Paxton
James Paxton is one of the absolute best pitchers in baseball and there’s really no reason he shouldn’t be in Washington. He’s probably going to make it as an availability replacement but striking out 11.68 per 9 while walking on 2.5 per 9 should be enough on it’s own. A guy on pace for a 7 WAR season and leading one of the best teams in baseball shouldn’t be a replacement for anyone. He should just be on the team.
1. Andrelton Simmons
And the biggest snub of the 2018 All-Star game is The Wizard 2.0 Andrelton Simmons. His 3.5 WAR is the highest to not be selected to the team and, even though he’s on the ballot for the final vote, I doubt he wins. He’s going up against Giancarlo Stanton and Andrew Benintendi from much, much more rabid fan bases and much, much better teams. That’s a shame because Andrelton is playing his normal all-time great defense while also posting a 126 wRC+. Playing the most important defensive position at a HOF-rate while aslo hitting at a plus level should mean All-Star. He’s the first addition to the roster if there’s any kind of injury but it really shouldn’t have to come to that.
Others receiving consideration: Charlie Morton, Ross Stripling, Jean Segura, Nick Castellanos, Jesus Aguilar, Whit Merrifield, Adam Ottavino