Alright so last night “before” NBA free agency started at 6:00, Major League Baseball announced their All Star Team pitchers and reserves. Overall, it was a mix of decent picks and ridiculous omissions. But let’s break down the tape and start with the AL.
AMERICAN LEAGUE ROSTER:
C – Gary Sanchez NYY
1B – Carlos Santana CLE
2B – DJ LeMahieu NYY
3B – Alex Bregman HOU
SS – Jorge Polanco MIN
OF – Mike Trout LAA
OF – George Springer HOU
OF – Michael Brantley HOU
DH – Hunter Pence TEX
Reserves: C – James McCann CHW, 1B – Jose Abreu CHW, 1B – Daniel Vogelbach SEA, 2B – Tommy LaStella LAA, 3B – Matt Chapman OAK, SS – Francisco Lindor CLE, OF – Mookie Betts BOS, OF – Joey Gallo TEX, OF – Austin Meadows TB, OF – Whit Merrifield KC, DH – JD Martinez BOS
Pitchers: Aroldis Chapman NYY, Gerrit Cole, HOU, Lucas Giolito CHW, Shane Greene DET, Brad Hand CLE, John Means BAL, Mike Minor TEX, Charlie Morton TB, Jake Odorizzi MIN, Ryan Pressly HOU, Marcus Stroman TOR, Justin Verlander HOU.
Overall the starters are right on. As much as I hate Gary Sanchez, he’s the goddamn starter behind the plate. I’m a big “story” guy, so Carlos Santana, Michael Brantley, and Hunter Pence are all great stories. Santana especially since it’s in his home park. You could even say LeMahieu is a good story too considering the Yankees wanted to turn a perennial All Star into a utility player and all he did was perform. Trout, Bregman, and Springer, are all guys that are kind of no brainers in my opinion. You could make an argument that Matt Chapman should be starting over Bregman, considering Bregman is third among AL third basemen in WAR with a 2.1 (Chapman 2.4, Jose Ramirez 2.3), but Ramirez started the season so bad and Bregman’s offensive numbers are better plus he also has a 0.6 WAR at shortstop this season. And at shortstop, Jorge Polanco has probably been the best shortstop in baseball this year other than maybe Xander Bogaerts (we’ll get to that in a second). However, Polanco is very deserving of starting.
The pitchers are fine in my opinion too. Jose Berrios should be on the roster, but other than that I think they got it right. Mike Minor who leads the American League in WAR (not American League pitchers, the entire American League) should be starting the game. Former top prospect Lucas Giolito who was the centerpiece of the Adam Eaton trade a few years ago is also a nice story considering last year he had an ERA over 6 and now has a sub 3 ERA and a WHIP of 1.02.
Now let’s talk snubs. There’s a handful of guys that have a serious case to be an All Star. I think there’s kind of two tiers of guys in this category; Tier 1: Guys That Got Absolutely Robbed and Hosed and Tier 2: Guys That Have a Case. Tier 1 is the guys that 100% should have made it and I, and most other baseball fans cannot find a good reason why they aren’t on the roster. Tier 2 is kind of like the bubble teams in March. They certainly have a case, but depending on the lenses you’re wearing there may be better options.
Xander Bogaerts. Highway robbery for Bogaerts. He leads AL shortstops in home runs, runs, RBI, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, and oWAR. He’s slashing .299/.392/.540 and from someone who watches the Red Sox almost every night, he is the most valuable player on the Red Sox and it’s not really close. It was bullshit when he wasn’t even TOP FIVE in the fan voting, and it’s bullshit that he’s not on the team.
Trey Mancini. Blind Resume Time!
Relatively similar, but Player A is probably putting up better numbers. Player A is Trey Mancini. Player B is Mookie Betts. Now this is just offense and Mookie is a far superior defensive player, but if defense was really a serious factor in choosing All Stars Byron Buxton would be an All Star. In fact, out of the Top 10 in defensive WAR in the AL, only ONE is on the All Star team (Matt Chapman). Trey Mancini should be an All Star.
I won’t go as much into these guys, but there’s a pretty big amount of guys who have a case. Yankee fans have a right to be upset that Gleybar Torres isn’t an All Star, though if he was going in as a shortstop he probably is behind Polanco, Bogaerts, and Lindor. Second base though, he has a gripe against Tommy LaStella who is having a career year and all, but Torres is probably more deserving. Luke Voit, whom I really hate, is another guy Yankee fans may be able to gripe about, but when you look at the first basemen who didn’t make it in the NL, his numbers kind of pale in comparison.
Rafael Devers has been one of the best hitters in the league since mid-May and is hitting .322 and is fourth in the league in hits and also has a 2.9 WAR. CJ Cron and Max Kepler from the Twins, Marcus Semien from the A’s, Hunter Dozier from KC, and Brandon Lowe from the Rays also all have some reason to be upset. The AL, I have to say was a bit of a head scratcher. Out of the Top 21 in the AL in WAR, 10 of the players didn’t make the All Star team – almost half. That’s compared to the NL which had only 3 of their top 21 in WAR not make their roster.
NL to come later.