It's officially summer. Every baseball fan is complaining about the All-Star Game.
Some would argue that discussion about the biggest snubs from the Midsummer Classic is a foolish pursuit. What's the big deal, right?
The problem is that the number of All-Star Games a player participates in are often used as one of the measuring sticks to determine his Hall of Fame candidacy. There's also the little matter of this game determining home-field advantage for the World Series.
If this game is truly supposed to matter, you want the best players taking part.
You can see the full rosters for each All-Star team below, courtesy of MLB.com.
|American League All-Star Roster|
|C||Salvador Perez||Kansas City Royals|
|1B||Miguel Cabrera||Detroit Tigers|
|2B||Robinson Cano||Seattle Mariners|
|SS||Derek Jeter||New York Yankees|
|3B||Josh Donaldson||Oakland Athletics|
|OF||Jose Bautista||Toronto Blue Jays|
|OF||Mike Trout||Los Angeles Angels|
|OF||Adam Jones||Baltimore Orioles|
|DH||Nelson Cruz||Baltimore Orioles|
|P||Dellin Betances||New York Yankees|
|P||Mark Buehrle||Toronto Blue Jays|
|P||Yu Darvish||Texas Rangers|
|P||Sean Doolittle||Oakland Athletics|
|P||Felix Hernandez||Seattle Mariners|
|P||Kevin Holland||Kansas City Royals|
|P||Scott Kazmir||Oakland Athletics|
|P||Jon Lester||Boston Red Sox|
|P||Glen Perkins||Minnesota Twins|
|P||David Price||Tampa Bay Rays|
|P||Max Scherzer||Detroit Tigers|
|P||Masahiro Tanaka||New York Yankees|
|C||Derek Norris||Oakland Athletics|
|C||Kurt Suzuki||Minnesota Twins|
|C||Matt Wieters||Baltimore Orioles|
|1B||Jose Abreu||Chicago White Sox|
|1B||Brandon Moss||Oakland Athletics|
|2B||Jose Altuve||Houston Astros|
|3B||Adrian Beltre||Texas Rangers|
|SS||Alexei Ramirez||Chicago White Sox|
|OF||Michael Brantley||Cleveland Indians|
|OF||Yoenis Cespedes||Oakland Athletics|
|OF||Alex Gordon||Kansas City Royals|
|DH||Edwin Encarnacion||Toronto Blue Jays|
|DH||Victor Martinez||Detroit Tigers|
|National League All-Star Roster|
|C||Yadier Molina||St. Louis Cardinals|
|1B||Paul Goldschmidt||Arizona Diamondbacks|
|2B||Chase Utley||Philadelphia Phillies|
|SS||Troy Tulowitzki||Colorado Rockies|
|3B||Aramis Ramirez||Milwaukee Brewers|
|OF||Andrew McCutchen||Pittsburgh Pirates|
|OF||Carlos Gomez||Milwaukee Brewers|
|OF||Yasiel Puig||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|P||Madison Bumgarner||San Francisco Giants|
|P||Aroldis Chapman||Cincinnati Reds|
|P||Johnny Cueto||Cincinnati Reds|
|P||Zack Greinke||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|P||Clayton Kershaw||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|P||Craig Kimbrel||Atlanta Braves|
|P||Pat Neshek||St. Louis Cardinals|
|P||Francisco Rodriguez||Milwaukee Brewers|
|P||Tyson Ross||San Diego Padres|
|P||Jeff Samardzija||Chicago Cubs (ineligible to play)|
|P||Julio Teheran||Atlanta Braves|
|P||Adam Wainwright||St. Louis Cardinals|
|P||Tony Watson||Pittsburgh Pirates|
|P||Jordan Zimmermann||Washington Nationals|
|C||Jonathan Lucroy||Milwaukee Brewers|
|C||Devin Mesoraco||Cincinnati Reds|
|1B||Freddie Freeman||Atlanta Braves|
|2B||Dee Gordon||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|2B||Daniel Murphy||New York Mets|
|SS||Starlin Castro||Chicago Cubs|
|3B||Matt Carpenter||St. Louis Cardinals|
|3B||Todd Frazier||Cincinnati Reds|
|OF||Charlie Blackmon||Colorado Rockies|
|OF||Josh Harrison||Pittsburgh Pirates|
|OF||Hunter Pence||San Francisco Giants|
|OF||Giancarlo Stanton||Miami Marlins|
These four players are somehow absent.
Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians
The Cleveland Indians starting rotation has been a complete mess this year. The one shining light is Corey Kluber.
Although he only boasts an 8-6 record, Kluber has a 2.99 ERA with 137 strikeouts, which is fourth in the American League. His FIP (fielding-independent pitching, scaled like ERA) of 2.65 illustrates exactly how great he's been this year and how bad his defense has been. According to Fangraphs, only Felix Hernandez has a lower FIP in the American League.
If you want to know just how little help Kluber is getting from his defense, opposing hitters are batting .332 against him, sixth-highest among qualified pitchers. His teammate, Justin Masterson, is fifth.
Despite what's been by far the best year of his career, Kluber will have to wait until somebody else drops out in order to make the trip to Minneapolis.
Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox
The AL is loaded with quality starting pitchers, so Kluber's snub is somewhat excusable. What's the excuse for leaving off Chris Sale?
As Tyler Kepner of the New York Times pointed out, the Chicago White Sox ace might be the best pitcher in baseball, period. However, that's not good enough to earn inclusion to the All-Star Game:
Some might argue that Sale didn't earn an All-Star place since he missed part of the season. Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan astutely noted that that didn't stop Clayton Kershaw from making the National League roster:
Seriously, what's the deal here?
The fact that Kluber and Sale are both in the "Final Vote" is little consolation. They should be there already.
Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins
Wins above replacement might be anathema for some baseball fans, but it's at least a solid representation of a player's production. Brian Dozier, despite hitting .235, has the third-highest WAR among all second basemen in the major leagues. He's also playing for the Minnesota Twins, which are hosting the All-Star Game.
Surely that's all good enough to get him named to the AL roster. Or not.
Dozier did find the silver lining in all of this, as per Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press in St. Paul:
If Dozier's not gonna be in the All-Star Game, then at least he can catch up with some of his family members. They'll truly appreciate how good he's been.
Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals
Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post believes that Anthony Rendon and Matt Carpenter were in contention for the final reserve third baseman role for the National League, and Rendon lost out:
If that was the case, the Washington Nationals star should've earned the place ahead of Carpenter. The two have identical .282 batting averages, but Rendon has eight more home runs, 18 more RBI, a slugging percentage nearly 100 points higher and a 61-point edge in OPS.
According to Fangraphs, Rendon also owns a slight advantage in WAR, 3.2 versus Carpenter's 3.0. Even when you consider how much better Carpenter is defensively, he still hasn't had as good of a year as Rendon.
At least he's on the "Final Vote" ballot. Ian Desmond implored Nats fans everywhere to get out and vote for their player:
With Justin Morneau—possibly earning some votes from Minnesota Twins fans—and Anthony Rizzo also on the ballot, it will be hard for Rendon to make it to Target Field.
Note: All stats are courtesy of ESPN.com unless otherwise noted.