Perhaps the only thing more certain about the 2014 MLB All-Star Game heading into the year than the presence of Derek Jeter in the starting lineup was the fact that there would be a notable list of players left off the respective rosters.
After all, there is for every All-Star Game in every single sport every single year.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the biggest snubs from the American League side. For the purpose of this exercise, the players on the final fan vote are not considered snubs, and all stats are courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and ESPN.com entering play Monday.
Ian Kinsler, Second Baseman, Detroit Tigers
Remember when the Detroit Tigers traded slugger Prince Fielder for Ian Kinsler, and it looked like their lineup may suffer because of it?
Not so much.
Kinsler’s name is littered all over the American League leaderboard. His 3.7 wins above replacement (WAR) rank fourth among AL position players, his 1.3 defensive WAR ranks sixth, his 60 runs scored rank second, his 107 hits are good enough for fifth, his 170 total bases rank eighth, his 26 doubles rank second and his 39 extra-base hits rank seventh.
His .302 batting average pairs nicely with his 11 home runs and 45 RBI as well.
Kinsler breathed life into Detroit’s offense and is a major reason why the Tigers have a stranglehold on the American League Central. Yes, the Kansas City Royals and Cleveland Indians are within striking distance, but assuming good health, Detroit is going to win that division.
Kinsler is a superstar on defense and with the bat in his hands, and he deserves to be in the All-Star Game.
Wade Davis, Relief Pitcher, Kansas City Royals
Matt Snyder of CBS Sports points out just why Wade Davis should be an All-Star:
Davis is one of baseball’s best setup men, sitting with a 1.23 ERA, 0.85 WHIP and 58 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings. He has 16 holds against two blown saves. Get this: He hasn’t allowed a single extra-base hit all season and is holding opposing hitters to a .120/.234/.120 line.
It’s not fair for Davis, but the deck is simply stacked against him when it comes to earning a spot on the roster.
He plays for Kansas City, so he isn’t in the spotlight very often. What’s more, he is a setup man, which is simply not as sexy of a position as closer in many baseball circles.
Davis is a strikeout machine who just doesn’t allow solid contact. If we are truly working under the assumption that this game means something with World Series home-field lingering over it, National League hitters will be relieved that they don’t have to face him with the game on line.
Erick Aybar, Shortstop, Los Angeles Angels
Erick Aybar’s name is not on this list to say that Jeter should or shouldn’t be in the game. There will be plenty of that type of debate throughout the week leading up to the event, and it’s really not the worst thing in the world if an all-time great player gets the All-Star recognition one last time from the fans and the media for an incredible career.
After all, we are still talking about what basically amounts to an exhibition game, even if World Series home-field advantage is on the line.
Jeter’s merits aside, Aybar deserves to be at the All-Star Game. In a Los Angeles Angels lineup that has so many marquee names in it, Aybar stands out on defense and offense. He does a little bit of everything and has a .278 batting average, .315 on-base percentage and .414 slugging percentage.
Throw in 21 doubles, three triples, six home runs, 43 RBI, 45 runs and 11 steals, and it’s clear what type of impact player we are discussing.
His head coach, Mike Scioscia, certainly thinks Aybar should be there, via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register:
He should be an All-Star. ... There is no doubt he’s playing at the level he’s capable of defensively. This guy is a premium defender. And as he’s gotten into the season and gotten healthy, you are seeing his offensive side.
Hard to argue with the manager.
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