Ranking the Oakland A's Best All-Star Game Candidates

Nick HouserCorrespondent IIJune 30, 2015

This could be the look on A's fans' faces if Gray doesn't start and Vogt doesn't make it.
This could be the look on A's fans' faces if Gray doesn't start and Vogt doesn't make it.Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

The All-Star Game is July 14 and the Oakland A's have several quality candidates that could head to Cincinnati to represent the American League.

Unfortunately, fan voting seems like it will knock out many of those candidates, from Oakland and many other teams, in place of much less deserving players. Because of that, the likelihood the A's send more than a player or two are slim.

Despite that, and a losing record, Oakland has three solid options, with three fringe players that wouldn't be terrible injury replacements.

 

Fringe Guys

I'm not saying these guys should go. I'm saying these guys could go if there is a lack of better options, and they wouldn't be terrible picks.

Semien and Reddick could make it if enough guys back out.
Semien and Reddick could make it if enough guys back out.Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Marcus Semien has a slim chance of making the team, but it'd have to be as a replacement.

He currently has the third-most votes among AL shortstops. Stats-wise, he's hot on Alcides Escobar's tail (Escobar leads votes). The two are neck and neck in hits, runs, doubles and stolen bases. Semien walks more, but strikes out more. He hits more home runs. Escobar has the RBI total.

Josh Reddick is in the hunt but faces an even tougher challenge.

He currently has the 10th-most votes among outfielders. Yet, he has the eighth-best batting average of AL outfielders. I know, I know, batting average isn't the best stat. For what it's worth, he has the second-most RBI, too.

I imagine the starting pitchers in the discussion to represent the American League include a guy on this list, Dallas Keuchel, Chris Archer and David Price at the top. Felix Hernandez will be up there too, because, well, he's Felix Hernandez.

Down the line is Scott Kazmir.

Among those with at least 90 innings pitched, Kazmir has the seventh-best ERA in the American League. He's also hanging around in WHIP and FIP (Fangraphs). He's too far removed to be in the discussion as a top-five guy, but he might crack the top-10 and make the team if guys toward the top drop out.

 

3. Jesse Chavez

Chavez has been pretty amazing in every facet this season.
Chavez has been pretty amazing in every facet this season.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Jesse Chavez is more deserving than Scott Kazmir. Hear me out.

As a starter, Chavez is right there. His 2.91 FIP is eighth best in the AL. His 3.02 ERA is 10th best. His 2.1 WAR is ninth best. But his HR/9 numbers are at the top in terms of lowest.

Here's the kicker.

Throw in the six innings he pitched as a reliever. From the bullpen, Chavez kept a 0.00 ERA, struck out nine and walked one.

Hence, because of his versatility, because he can pitch virtually any time in any role, he's a valuable asset for the American League team. He's a top-10 starting pitcher and he hasn't been scored on as a reliever in a small sample size this season. (Though we know on a larger scale he is in fact effective out of the pen.)

It seems like a smart move to include him on the roster.

 

2. Stephen Vogt

As CSN's Brodie Brazil pointed out June 21, Stephen Vogt was ahead of leading vote-getter Salvador Perez in multiple categories. Today it still holds true, albeit in home runs, where Perez and Vogt are tied. Vogt's WAR is 2.8 compared to Perez's 1.3. His .335 BABIP blows Perez's .273 away.

Kansas City fans stuffed the ballot boxes, so it's going to be difficult for Vogt to overtake Perez, but he can definitely make the All-Star Game as a backup catcher.

The only other two guys close are Russell Martin and Brian McCann.

Vogt isn't just making a case for himself against fellow catchers only, either. His batting average is 11th best in the American League. He's in the top 10 for walks and RBI as well.

While it seems like Vogt should be the starter, the next guy leaves no doubt he's deserving.

 

1. Sonny Gray

Sonny Gray is hands down the best candidate to be the A's representative at the All-Star Game.

As of this writing, he leads the American League in ERA. His 2.68 FIP is fourth in the AL. His 3.9 WAR is second only to Dallas Keuchel's 4.1. Gray's 0.99 WHIP is fourth in the AL as well. 

Of 16 starts, 12 have been quality starts.

But not only is Gray pitching well generally speaking, he's pitching at such a high caliber that many consider him the front-runner to start for the American League at the All-Star Game.

On June 3, David Schoenfield of ESPN said Gray should start. According to Matt Kawahara of the Sacramento BeeStephen Vogt agrees:

Doesn’t matter what he does between now and the All-Star Game. The first half Sonny’s had and the way our team’s been playing, with our record … Sonny Gray is 100 percent an All-Star, if not the starting pitcher of the All-Star Game, in my opinion.

Gray's last two starts have been ugly. If that trend continues, he'll likely go to the game, but not start. However, if he "returns to form" for lack of better words, it'd be disappointing if he didn't start.

We'll see how it shakes out.

I'd guess Gray and Vogt are locks. Chavez is iffy and the rest don't make it.

All stats courtesy of MLB.com unless otherwise noted.