2013 MLB Star Game: 10 Biggest Snubs, Lineup Card Edition
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With the Home Run Derby now in the books, the MLB All-Star Game is just hours away, although the rosters were first announced more than a week ago. Actually, they weren’t, because since then, we had a controversial Final Vote.
Furthermore, within the last few days, we’ve had players such as Freddie Freeman and Yu Darvish scratched due to injury, and Justin Verlander and Jeff Locke scratched due to starting on Sunday. Therefore, a number of men who thought they’d be watching the game from their TV screens have gotten the call to take the field in Flushing.
Bearing that in mind, here is my revised list of snubs (ranked this time) with five NL players and five AL players.
10. James Loney, 1B, Tampa Bay Rays
2013 Stats: 39 R, 9 HR, 43 RBI, 3 SB, .315 AVG, .832 OPS, 2.1 WAR
Prince Fielder was selected to the All-Star Game, while the journeyman Loney, on his third team since this time last year, wasn’t. Loney has a better WAR than Fielder. Loney has a better OPS than Fielder. Loney has more hits, more doubles, a better batting average, and a better OBP than Fielder.
Loney is eighth in the American League in batting average, with the seven men ahead of him all headed to Queens. He wasn’t picked why exactly?
9. Ian Desmond, SS, Washington Nationals
2013 Stats: 43 R, 15 HR, 49 RBI, 10 SB, .281 AVG, .814 OPS, 2.6 WAR
We thought Desmond might get selected as an injury replacement. Then we thought he might have a chance in the Final Vote. Neither materialized.
Desmond is leading all NL shortstops in doubles, and is second in hits, homers, RBI, OPS, and total bases. Furthermore, he is leading NL shortstops not making the trip to the Big Apple in batting average.
8. Derek Holland, SP, Texas Rangers
2013 Stats: 8-4, 13 QS, 121 K, 3.08 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 2.9 WAR
Name a stat that’s important to AL starters, and chances are Derek Holland is in the top ten in it; he’s eighth in ERA (0.11 better than Max Scherzer, who’s starting the game), seventh in strikeouts, eighth in winning percentage, ninth in strikeouts per nine, seventh in quality starts, 10th in WAR and leading all AL starters in homers conceded per nine.
Why he got no love from Jim Leyland is beyond me.
7. Shelby Miller, SP, St. Louis Cardinals
2013 Stats: 9-6, 8 QS, 112 K, 2.92 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 2.5 WAR
When Adam Wainwright was shelved due to pitching last Sunday, Cardinals closer Edward Mujica was selected in his place. That makes some sense; he is one of the league’s better closers and deserved to make the trip to Queens. But so did rookie sensation Shelby Miller.
Miller is one of 13 NL pitchers with nine or more victories. He’s fourth in the Senior Circuit in Ks per nine, 11th in ERA, 11th in WHIP and 14th in strikeouts.
6. Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay Rays
2013 Stats: 54 R, 18 HR, 52 RBI, 1 SB, .278 AVG, .863 OPS, 3.6 WAR
With a WAR that ESPN pegs as tenth-best in AL, Longo would have gotten in to Citi Field if he’d played any position but third base, where there are three on the Junior Circuit better than he.
Longo is eighth in the AL in extra-base hits with 42 and 13th in the AL in OPS.
5. Shin-Soo Choo, OF, Cincinnati Reds
2013 Stats: 66 R, 13 HR, 31 RBI, 11 SB, .287 AVG, .893 OPS, 3.0 WAR
Two men in the NL have gotten on base more than 180 times this season. One of them is Shin-Soo Choo.
Though well-known for being a defensive liability, Choo is in the top 10 in the NL in a number of offensive categories, including runs (66, third), OBP (.425, second), walks (64, second) and OPS (.893, eighth).
4. Starling Marte, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
2013 Stats: 59 R, 9 HR, 28 RBI, 28 SB, .291 AVG, .804 OPS, 4.0 WAR
True, the Pirates already enjoy pretty decent representation at the Midsummer Classic. That’s because they have pretty decent players. One of them is Starling Marte.
Marte has the eighth-best WAR among NL position players and is second in the league in stolen bags and triples. He ranks in the top 10 in the NL in a number of important categories, including runs scored (59, seventh) and hits (107, seventh).
3. Hiroki Kuroda, SP, New York Yankees
2013 Stats: 8-6, 12 QS, 84 K, 2.65 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 3.2 WAR
Never thought I live to see the day that I’d say the New York Yankees are underrepresented in the Midsummer Classic. And Kuroda shouldn’t just be included because the game is in The City or because the Bombers need a third man. He deserves it.
Kuroda is second in the league in ERA, yet somehow didn’t crack the roster for the Midsummer Classic. Only three AL starters have conceded an OPS better than Kuroda’s .628. Kuroda is also in the top 10 in AL starters in both WAR and WHIP.
2. Josh Donaldson, 3B, Oakland A’s
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2013 Stats: 50 R, 16 HR, 61 RBI, 2 SB, .310 AVG, .901 OPS, 4.3 WAR
Despite the second-best record on the Junior Circuit, Oakland didn’t receive much love this year, with both Donaldson and Home Run Derby winner Yoenis Cespedes getting snubbed and Grant Balfour only making the squad as an injury replacement.
Donaldson has the third-best WAR among AL third basemen (seventh in the AL as a whole), ahead of Adrian Beltre and Evan Longoria. He has a better OPS and more runs driven in than Manny Machado against fewer strikeouts; his OPS is good enough for seventh in the league, and his RBI is ninth.
1. Yasiel Puig, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
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2013 Stats: 28 R, 8 HR, 19 RBI, 5 SB, .391 AVG, 1.038 OPS, 2.7 WAR
You could make the argument that Puig should have the nod because he finished a close second to Freeman in the Final Vote, and his averages blow Freeman and McCann out of the water.
Or you could make the argument based on his eye-popping numbers, which include a .616 slugging percentage and an OPS over 1.000.
Or you could point out that the NL’s marquee franchise is again at .500 in no small part due to Puig, yet they somehow only got one All-Star, likely because the NL’s manager is also the manager of the Dodgers’ archrivals.