MLB All-Star Snubs: Ian Kinsler Tops the List
Eh, they'd probably rather be fishing anyway.
With all but one spot per league left to be decided, the 2014 All-Star rosters have been announced, printed, laminated, and posted on the world wide interweb for all to see. And, as there is every year, some players worthy of making the Mid-Summer Classic won't be making the trip to Target Field in Minneapolis for this year's All Star Game.
Between the fan vote, managers' selections and player voting, the six players noted below (three in the National League and three in the American League) all could have easily made each team's rosters.
One thing to note is that I am not including players listed among the five in each league that will be voted on by the fans as the last player added to each roster. That includes Colorado's Justin Morneau, Washington's Anthony Rendon, Chicago's Anthony Rizzo, Miami's Casey McGehee, Atlanta's Justin Upton, Houston's Dallas Keuchel, Cleveland's Corey Kluber, Detroit's Rick Porcello, Los Angeles' Garrett Richards, and Chicago's Chris Sale. The four players in each league who lose out on that fan vote will obviously head any list of snubs after that.
|Adam LaRoche (WAS-1B)||2.25||1.3||0.385||0.294||0.401||0.188|
|Hanley Ramirez (CHI-SS)||2.11||2.4||0.369||0.273||0.366||0.199|
|Huston Street (SD-RP)||0.88||0.4||1.13||0.78||2.98||23/24|
It's hard to argue that Washington's Adam LaRoche should have been selected ahead of Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt and Atlanta's Freddie Freeman, and LaRoche's fWAR is also below that of Colorado's Justin Morneau and Chicago's Anthony Rizzo. Making LaRoche the fifth first baseman on the roster would have been a bit of an overkill, to be sure. Still, LaRoche has had a fantastic 2014, with an on-base percentage over .400 (.401 to be precise) and a walk-rate (BB%) of 15.6%, second-highest among all NL first basemen (trailing Cincinnati's Joey Votto, who also didn't make the NL squad this year). He's also added 12 home runs and 45 RBI and played his usual terrific defense at first.
Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki was a no-brainer for the fans as the starting shortstop for the National League. He's likely the leading candidate for NL MVP through the first half of the season, but there's an argument to be made that Los Angeles' Hanley Ramirez should have made the team over Chicago's Starlin Castro as the team's second shortstop. Ramirez has a higher fWAR than Castro (2.4 to 1.8), a higher nERD (2.11 to 1.47) - meaning a lineup full of Hanley Ramirez's would generate 2.11 runs per game more than the average player, as compared to Castro's 1.47 runs per game - and a higher weighted on-base average (wOBA) and isolated power (ISO) as well. Of course, the Cubs needed a representative, and with Rizzo not making the NL roster as of yet, Castro was the next best player to represent the Cubs.
And while I am loathe to include a "closer" on this list, the omission of San Diego's Huston Street should be mentioned. His ERA of 1.13 is minuscule and he has converted 23 of 24 save opportunities (fifth in the NL), with a WHIP (walks + hits allowed per inning pitched) of 0.78. Philadelphia's Jonathan Papelbon and Washington's Rafael Soriano both have ERAs under 2.00 as National League closers and also merited consideration.
Also snubbed: Atlanta's Evan Gattis, Colorado's Scooter Gennett, Colorado's Nolan Arenado, Milwaukee's Ryan Braun, Cincinnati's Billy Hamilton, San Diego's Seth Smith, Miami's Henderson Alvarez, Cincinnati's Alfredo Simon, San Francisco's Tim Hudson, Philadelphia's Jonathan Papelbon and Cole Hamels, Los Angeles' Kenley Jansen, and Washington's Rafael Soriano. Chicago's Jeff Samardzija was voted into the game but cannot play because of his trade to the Oakland A's.
|Ian Kinsler (DET-2B)||2.11||3.7||0.357||0.302||0.339||0.178|
|Kyle Seager (SEA-3B)||1.95||3.2||0.363||0.274||0.374||0.208|
|Coco Crisp (OAK-OF)||1.95||1.5||0.368||0.291||0.383||0.16|
Of all the players on this list, Detroit's Ian Kinsler's presence is the most glaring. His fWAR of 3.7 is tops among all MLB second basemen by a wide margin (Houston's Jose Altuve is second-best at 2.9), and is fourth-best in the entire American League. He's third in wOBA at his position, second in homers, second in runs batted in, second in ISO, and fifth in batting average. Second base was a particularly strong position in the American League, with the position's leading home run hitter, Minnesota's Brian Dozier also left off the roster (16 HRs, .234/.342/.416). Dozier has the third-highest fWAR among AL second basemen, as well.
Seattle's Kyle Seager has had a terrific season at the hot corner for the contending Mariners, but playing in Seattle is apparently akin to playing in the witness protection program's baseball league. Seager has the AL's second-highest fWAR (3.2) at third base, 0.7 more than Texas Rangers' representative Adrian Beltre (2.5), and the seventh-best fWAR in the league overall. He plays good defense at third, is slashing .274/.347/.483, and his 13 home runs and .363 wOBA are second among all American League third basemen.
Finally, the Yankees' Brett Gardner has had a great season for New York, with the seventh-highest fWAR among AL outfielders at 2.8, better than All-Star selection Yoenis Cespedes of Oakland. He could have easily made the team.
However, I went with a different snub, Oakland's Coco Crisp over Gardner for a couple reasons. First, even though Crisp's fWAR of 1.5 is quite a bit lower than Gardner's 2.8, Crisp plays a more important position (CF) than Gardner (LF), and Crisp is a solid defender in his own right. Not only that, Crisp's offensive numbers are better than Gardner's almost across the board (nERD 1.95 to 1.66, batting average .291 to .284, on-base percentage .383 to.359, wOBA .368 to .351, and OPS .834 to .791), with Gardner besting Crisp in home runs (8 to 7) and RBIs (53 to 46). It's a close call, but I think Crisp has the slightly better case.
Also snubbed: Cleveland's Yan Gomes, Minnesota's Dozier, Anaheim's Erick Aybar, Tampa's Ben Zobrist and Evan Longoria, Toronto's Melky Cabrera, Houston's George Springer, Cleveland's Lonnie Chisenhall, Oakland's Sonny Gray, Kansas City's Jason Vargas and Wade Davis, Boston's Koji Uehara, Seattle's Fernando Rodney, and Baltimore's Zach Britton.