Who Were This Year's Biggest All-Star Game Snubs?
The MLB All-Star Game rosters have been announced. And yes, once again, there are "snubs."
When MLB All-Star rosters are announced every year, there are always players who deserve to go to the Midsummer Classic who don't make the initial roster. And because of baseball's rule that every team must have at least one player represented, that sometimes means less deserving players are added to the roster over guys who are having better seasons.
It's the nature of the beast. There are going to be snubs. And unless the rosters are expanded even more, or until that rule is repealed (which I hope it never will be), there are going to be All-Star snubs.
MLB has tried their best to mitigate the snubbing by having a second online vote in which fans can pick one of five players from each league to the be the final player on the roster. The players listed on those rosters are not listed below, as it's possible at least two of these guys could be added to the roster in another week or two. Also, pitchers could be added to replace hurlers who are scheduled to pitch next Sunday, like Clayton Kershaw.
So while the rosters aren't currently set in stone, it is always fun to take a look at which players were overlooked or, "snubbed," from the initial 2017 MLB All-Star Game roster (four from the National League and four from the American League).
Jacob deGrom - New York Mets (SP)
Jacob deGrom has been one of the few things that has gone as planned for the New York Mets. Through 16 starts, deGrom has gone 8-3 with a 3.55 ERA and a fielding independent pitching (FIP) of 3.61. Yes, those numbers are higher than his career averages (2.89 ERA and 3.01 FIP), and much of that is due to an increased walk rate -- which is at 8.8% this season, up from his career mark of 6.6%. However, he's also increased his strikeout percentage from 26.2% over his career to 29.0%. And his 2.2 fWAR is 8th among all qualified NL starters.
Travis Shaw - Milwaukee Brewers (3B)
Travis Shaw has been nothing short of terrific for the surprising Milwaukee Brewers in 2017. In 308 plate appearances, he's batting .291/.357/.554 with a weighted on base average (wOBA) of 131, which is tied for third among all qualified NL third basemen. His 17 homers are second, and his 2.1 fWAR is tied for sixth. Unfortunately for him, third base is absolutely loaded with talent in the NL, making it almost impossible for Shaw and players like Jedd Gyorko (who also has a 2.1 fWAR and was left off the ballot) to break through.
Adam Duvall - Cincinnati Reds (OF)
Adam Duvall proved his surprising offensive explosion last year was no fluke. The Cincinnati Reds' outfielder is batting .287/.331/.571 with a wRC+ of 128 that is tied with Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Altherr for sixth-best among qualified NL outfielders. His 19 dingers also rank sixth and his 58 RBI are tied with Bryce Harper for most in the Senior Circuit. Altherr and Andrew McCutchen were also worthy of inclusion in the game but didn't get in.
Gio Gonzalez - Washington Nationals (SP)
Lost in the shadows of impressive Washington Nationals right-handers Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez has had himself quite a nice season in 2017. He has a 2.77 ERA -- third-best among qualified NL starting pitchers, behind only Scherzer and Kershaw -- and is allowing batters to hit just .212 against him this season, sixth-lowest. His FIP of 4.17 along with a decrease in his strikeout rate and an increase in his walk rate indicate that ERA could come up, but for now, it's a number that's hard to ignore.
Chris Devenski - Houston Astros (RP)
There is perhaps no greater snub than that of Chris Devenski, the do-everything relief ace for the incredible Houston Astros. No, he's not a closer or a star name, but his 1.7 fWAR ranks third among all qualified American League relief pitchers. He's a multi-inning relief pitcher, with 48.1 innings pitched in 32 appearances, tied with Yusmeiro Petit for the most in the AL. His 29.4% strikeout-to-walk percentage ranks ninth-best among relievers, and his ability to pitch multiple innings has been incredibly valuable to the Astros.
Andrelton Simmons - Los Angeles Angels (SS)
Andrelton Simmons has always been regarded as one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball, and that hasn't changed this year. For the Los Angeles Angels, Simmons' glove has been among the best in the league. But this season, he's added some offense to his game, with a slash line of .281/.335/.431 to go with 9 homers and 13 stolen bases. That gives him an fWAR of 2.4, third-best among shortstops in the AL, behind only Carlos Correa (3.2) and Xander Bogaerts (2.7).
Lorenzo Cain - Kansas City Royals (OF)
Lorenzo Cain is another defense-first player whose offensive numbers in 2017 warrant inclusion in the game, too. The Kansas City Royals' stud center fielder has an fWAR of 2.4, tied with fellow snub Brett Gardner for fifth in the American League (Steven Souza and his 2.4 fWAR were also deserving of inclusion). Much of Cain's value is defensive, as his wRC+ of 114 ranks just 15th out of all qualified AL outfielders, which helps explain his exclusion.
Aaron Hicks - New York Yankees (OF)
If he hadn't gone on the disabled list with a rib cage injury last month, Aaron Hicks might have made the team. Unfortunately, the New York Yankees' outfielder is on the outside looking in despite batting .290/.398/.515 with 10 homers and 7 steals in 60 games played. His 2.7 fWAR ranks sixth among AL outfielders with no plate appearances restrictions, and his dramatically improved strikeout and walk rates show a young player who may have finally figured things out.