It's the day after the announcement of All-Star rosters, which means seemingly every website and blog in existence puts up a story about the guys that got snubbed. This is Scout's list, but rather than just weeping over those who didn't make it, we thought it'd be nice to examine why they were left off.
Take Baltimore's Chris Davis, one of baseball's biggest power threats and a cornerstone for one of the game's best lineups. Davis leads all AL first basemen with 21 home runs and 56 RBIs, and he's second with a .500 slugging percentage. Sure, he's hitting just .237, but drawing 46 walks makes up for that. But he's not an All-Star, because Eric Hosmer was voted in by the fans and Miguel Cabrera was chosen as the backup.
There are lot of understandable reasons Davis was left off the team. Perhaps his low average simply put him in too much of a hole against deserving peers at the position. You could also argue that Hosmer's starting nod was a mistake by the fans, and that Davis should be backing up Cabrera.
There are seemingly dozens of "snubs" at every midsummer classic and that's even without counting the players vying for the Final Vote (we'll mention some of those guys in this article, but it's fine if you don't want to count them as full-on snubs). They come from all over the place and are overlooked for various reasons. Here's our attempt at organizing this year's crop.
Victims of a Crowded Position
Kyle Seager is the poster child for this group. He's only made one All-Star team in his career, by little fault of his own. It's simply never easy to outperform the likes of Manny Machado and Josh Donaldson, the AL's two representatives at the position. Seager's .879 OPS, 16 homers and 54 RBIs are all excellent, but it looks like he'll be watching the game from home once again.
Perhaps the most notable 2016 snub of this variety, however, is Jake Lamb. The Arizona third baseman is slugging an NL-best .617 with 19 homers, 59 RBIs and six triples. For a man with those numbers to not be named to the initial team is astounding. And yet, in his case, it's understandable. Kris Bryant leads the planet with 25 homers; Nolan Arenado leads the NL with 69 RBIs and is the favorite to win another Gold Glove; and Matt Carpenter is topping the senior circuit with a .991 OPS. Lamb, fortunately, at least made it to the Final Vote.
This is pretty much the standard category for snubs. Players that don't quite fit into any other categories will be dropped off here. Think Adrian Beltre, Carlos Correa, Nelson Cruz, Freddie Freeman, Victor Martinez, most of the Final Vote guys and a heap of starting pitchers.
Victims of the Every-Team Rule
Most people support this rule, as it gives fans of every team a little something to cheer for (although I remember feeling awful for Pirates fans when middle reliever Evan Meek was their lone rep in 2010). But it does occasionally lead to less-deserving players taking the spot of a rightful All-Star.
This year, the biggest victim I can think of is Miami catcher J.T. Realmuto, whose .325 average is fourth in the NL. He's being kept out of the game by Milwaukee's lone All-Star, Jonathan Lucroy. This might still be the right call, as Lucroy leads Realmuto in most other offensive categories and is a top-notch defender, but it would have been nice to see Realmuto get the opportunity.
There are also a few qualifiers in the NL outfield, where Adam Duvall and Odubel Herrera were named to the team as reserves. This pushed the likes of Ryan Braun and Starling Marte to the Final Vote and Gregory Polanco and Christian Yelich off the roster altogether.
Victims of Fan Voting Atrocities
There was only one such atrocity this year: the selection of Addison Russell as the NL's starting shortstop. This pushed Corey Seager to the bench, Trevor Story to the Final Vote and Aledmys Diaz and Brandon Crawford off the roster. All of these players have easily had better seasons than Russell, but were hurt by simply not playing for the Cubs.
There was another close call in the NL, as Yadier Molina was leading in the polls for most of the process before being overtaken late by Buster Posey. Had Molina been named the starter, it's likely that one of Posey, Lucroy and Wilson Ramos would have been bumped off. Luckily, such a tragedy was avoided.
Jonathan Villar leads baseball with 27 stolen bases. Todd Frazier is second in the AL with 23 homers. Jean Segura is fifth in the big leagues with 108 hits—good for a .318 average. But in each player's case, the rest of the resume wasn't enough.
This phenomenon also applies to pitchers. Chris Tillman and J.A. Happ have superb win-loss records (Tillman is 11-2 and Happ is 11-3), and in many previous years those marks would get them All-Star nods without hesitation. The same goes for Rick Porcello (10-2), Josh Tomlin (9-1) and Aaron Sanchez (9-1). Other pitchers in this category include Max Scherzer (MLB-best 155 strikeouts), Kyle Hendricks (2.61 ERA), Jacob deGrom (2.62), Drew Pomeranz (2.65), and every non-All-Star closer with more than 20 saves.
Analytics Cult Heroes
Fans of Wins Above Replacement will be upset that George Springer (3.6 WAR) is only on the Final Vote, while Adam Eaton (3.5) was left off entirely. On the mound, Corey Kluber leads the AL in Fielder-Independent Pitching (2.96, almost a full run lower than his 3.79 ERA), and Tyler Chatwood's 3.2 WAR puts him ahead of probable All-Star starter Jake Arrieta (3.1).null