MLB's All-Overlooked Team: 8 Top Players Being Ignored in ASG Fan Vote

Luke Strickland@LSTRICK21Contributor IIIJune 22, 2015

MLB's All-Overlooked Team: 8 Top Players Being Ignored in ASG Fan Vote

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    Freddie Freeman is one of baseball's most overlooked players.
    Freddie Freeman is one of baseball's most overlooked players.Associated Press

    With the 2015 MLB All-Star Game right around the corner, the latest voting results have received plenty of attention. As usual, there are plenty of players being overlooked for better-known names.

    In the American League, players like Brian Dozier, Brett Gardner and George Springer aren't getting the love they deserve, despite producing at an All-Star level. The same can be said for the National League, where Freddie Freeman, A.J. Pollock, Justin Turner and others have been ignored by the voting public.

    Over the next few slides, we'll go position by position and name MLB's all-overlooked team. By mentioning the following players, hopefully we can help get them the All-Star love they deserve. 

    Here we go!

Catcher: Francisco Cervelli

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    Francisco Cervelli has been one of the top catchers in baseball this season.
    Francisco Cervelli has been one of the top catchers in baseball this season.Associated Press

    2015 Stats: .308/.385/.396, 2 HR, 19 RBI, 125 wRC+, 1.7 WAR

    Francisco Cervelli was third among National League catchers in the most recent voting update, but he's been as important as any backstop in baseball this season.

    If he qualified with enough plate appearances, Cervelli would rank first among major league catchers in average, third in on-base percentage, fifth in wRC+ and seventh in WAR. Cervelli leads Pittsburgh in average and OBP and is second in wRC+ in WAR, as well. 

    Cervelli is also an elite defender. 

    According to StatCorner's Catcher Report, the 29-year-old leads all catchers in runs above average and has hoodwinked umpires into giving Pirates hurlers 91 extra calls. When taking that data into account, it shouldn't be a surprise that the Pirates have the second-lowest ERA in baseball in 2015.

    Buster Posey is deserving of the top spot among NL catchers, but he hasn't been 3 million votes better. As for Yadier Molina, Cervelli has clearly had the better season.  

    All-Star voting is normally predicated on offensive numbers, but Cervelli has done the job both at and behind the dish. He's arguably the most deserving Pittsburgh position player in contention for a spot in the Midsummer Classic, and he shouldn't be excluded.

    Others Overlooked 

    Brian McCann, Yasmani Grandal

First Base: Freddie Freeman

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    The NL has many great first basemen, but Freddie Freeman is among the best.
    The NL has many great first basemen, but Freddie Freeman is among the best.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    2015 Stats: .299/.367/.520, 12 HR, 41 RBI, 144 wRC+, 2.1 WAR

    The most loaded position in MLB this season is at first base in the National League. With the likes of Anthony Rizzo, Paul Goldschmidt, Adrian Gonzalez and Joey Votto, it's hard to squeeze in any other name on the ballot. 

    While those aforementioned names are clearly deserving, Freddie Freeman being excluded from the top five of the ballot is a travesty. 

    Freeman ranks favorably among major league first basemen in most offensive categories. At close to 44 percent, the 25-year-old ranks fourth in baseball in hard contact percentage

    He's also been extremely dependable throughout his career. A wrist injury sidelined him for the first time in 234 games this weekend, which was the longest streak in MLB at the time. 

    "I'm kind of stubborn in that area," Freeman told Carlos Collazo of MLB.com. "It takes a lot for me to come out of a game and not play in a game."

    It feels like nitpicking when looking at the rest of the NL first basemen, but Freeman's accomplishments shouldn't go unnoticed. He's been the most important player on a surprise team and deserves to be in Cincinnati. 

    Others Overlooked

    Brandon Belt, Lucas Duda

Second Base: Brian Dozier

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    Brian Dozier may be the most overlooked player in baseball.
    Brian Dozier may be the most overlooked player in baseball.Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    2015 Stats: .259/.339/.513, 13 HR, 32 RBI, 135 wRC+, 2.6 WAR

    One of the most egregious omissions from the latest All-Star Game voting results was Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier. 

    Dozier wasn't listed in the top five American League second basemen despite being one of the most productive players at that position. Dozier leads all major league second basemen in homers, RBI, runs and slugging percentage. 

    If Dozier played in a larger market, he'd be a household name. Instead, Omar Infante, Jose Altuve, Dustin Pedroia and Ian Kinsler are ahead of him on the ballot even though they've produced at a much lower level. 

    "Dozier is undoubtedly a top-five second baseman in the American League right now, if not one of the top three," said Jesse Lund of SB Nation. 

    There shouldn't be an argument regarding Jason Kipnis receiving All-Star love because of his stellar campaign. But it's quite the shame that Dozier hasn't been able to earn some of the praise for a standout season.

    Others Overlooked

    Logan Forsythe, DJ LeMahieu

Shortstop: Adeiny Hechavarria

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    Improvement at the dish and stellar defensive work have made Adeiny Hechavarria into an All-Star-caliber shortstop.
    Improvement at the dish and stellar defensive work have made Adeiny Hechavarria into an All-Star-caliber shortstop.Rob Foldy/Getty Images

    2015 Stats: .286/.324/.392, 3 HR, 28 RBI, 93 wRC+, 1.6 WAR

    In terms of All-Star-quality shortstops, there's not as many clear-cut options as at other positions. Outside of Brandon Crawford and Jhonny Peralta, the rest of the shortstops on the ballot are rather average. 

    But Adeiny Hechavarria stands out due to his prowess with the bat and the glove. 

    Hechavarria's name didn't even make the most recent batch of voting results, but he's still in the midst of a career year. He's improved his average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and has already exceeded his WAR from a season ago. 

    The 26-year-old has improved dramatically at the dish, but his glovework remains his calling card. Hechavarria ranks third among shortstops in defensive runs saved in 2015. According to Scott Gelman of SB Nation, combining an already-outstanding defensive game with an improving bat has helped Hechavarria develop into a more all-around player:

    Defensively, Hechavarria is known as one of the better shortstops in the game and Miami knew that when they acquired him from Toronto. He was a Gold Glove finalist last season and could end up winning one at the end of the year. When he had difficulty offensively, his offensive inconsistencies were recognized just as frequently as his plus range. Now that he is having success at the plate, that is not necessarily the case.

    Crawford and Peralta are locks, but Hechavarria should join them in Cincinnati for his first All-Star Game. 

    Others Overlooked

    Andrelton Simmons, Jung Ho Kang

Third Base: Justin Turner

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    Justin Turner has plenty of reason to smile this season.
    Justin Turner has plenty of reason to smile this season.Harry How/Getty Images

    2015 Stats: .333/.401/.579, 9 HR, 32 RBI, 176 wRC+, 2.7 WAR

    Matt Carpenter, Kris Bryant, Todd Frazier. The top three third basemen in the latest All-Star voting results make plenty of sense. 

    But excluding Justin Turner from the list entirely is where that sense ends. 

    If he had enough at-bats, Turner would rank first among third basemen in average, on-base percentage and wRC+. It may have gone under the radar, but Turner has been the most valuable Los Angeles Dodger outside of super-rookie Joc Pederson. 

    After years of playing in platoon-type situations, Turner has locked down an everyday spot this season with L.A. The general public is beginning to notice what Turner's teammates have known for some time. 

    "I keep telling people—there’s no clear-cut way to pitch to him," Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez told Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. "That means if you think you can go down and away with a slider, he might dump it into right field for a hit. You think you can come up and in with a fastball? He can pull it."

    Third base in the NL isn't an easy ballot to crack, but Turner deserves more praise than he's getting.  

    Others Overlooked

    Manny Machado, Kyle Seager

Left Field: Brett Gardner

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    Brett Gardner sets the tone for a potent Yankees offense.
    Brett Gardner sets the tone for a potent Yankees offense.Al Bello/Getty Images

    2015 Stats: .279/.349/.451, 7 HR, 33 RBI, 15 SB, 123 wRC+, 1.6 WAR

    Since 2012, Brett Gardner has been the epitome of consistency for the New York Yankees. 

    That hasn't changed in 2015. Gardner leads the Yankees in runs and hits, while ranking fourth in WAR. He also ranks fifth in WAR among major league left fielders.

    For his latest act, Gardner nearly hit for the cycle over the weekend. As the catalyst for the Yankees lineup, he's been vital to a team that's scored the second-most runs in baseball. 

    "He's been really good," Yankees manager Joe Girardi told Alex Schiffer of NJ.com about Gardner. "When he goes, a lot of times we score a lot of runs and he creates a lot of it. A lot of havoc on the bases and just an outstanding job by him tonight."

    Of the left fielders listed on the AL ballot, Alex Gordon, Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Brantley have all had fine seasons. But Gardner's impact on the Yankees offense cannot be understated. 

    He belongs in Cincinnati for the All-Star Game. 

    Others Overlooked

    Michael Brantley, David DeJesus

Center Field: A.J. Pollock

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    A.J. Pollock has followed up a dynamite 2014 with an All-Star-level season.
    A.J. Pollock has followed up a dynamite 2014 with an All-Star-level season.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    2015 Stats: .304/.346/.464, 8 HR, 33 RBI, 14 SB, 119 wRC+, 2.7 WAR

    After a breakout campaign last season, A.J. Pollock has followed up with an All-Star-caliber season in 2015. 

    Pollock ranks first among center fielders in average and hits, third in runs and fourth in WAR. Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt have led an Arizona Diamondbacks offense that ranks in the top 10 in runs scored.

    While his offense has drawn the majority of the attention, Pollock's defense separates him from other center fielders. The 27-year-old ranks third among outfielders in defensive runs saved with 10.

    Because of his all-around game, Pollock has begun to prove he has more upside than was originally thought when he was taken out of Notre Dame in the 2009 draft.

    "Guys don't play above their tools—they maximize their tools," Tom Allison, the former Diamondbacks scouting director who drafted Pollock with the 17th overall pick in 2009, told Nick Piecoro of AZCentral.com "For someone like A.J. Pollock, his drive and his intangibles helped him maximize his tools more than other guys might."

    Pollock has undoubtedly been one of the top 15 outfielders in the NL this season. He'll end up as an All-Star, but Pollock deserves more respect from the fans. 

    Others Overlooked

    Cameron Maybin, Charlie Blackmon

Right Field: George Springer

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    George Springer has been the best player for the surprising Houston Astros in 2015.
    George Springer has been the best player for the surprising Houston Astros in 2015.Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    2015 Stats: .284/.378/.490, 12 HR, 26 RBI, 146 wRC+, 2.3 WAR

    Sitting atop the American League West, the Houston Astros have been the surprise of the baseball world. 

    There have been plenty of reasons why the Astros have succeeded this season, but right fielder George Springer has to be at the top of the list. 

    Springer leads Houston in WAR, wRC+, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. In terms of major league right fielders, the 25-year-old ranks in the top five in most offensive categories. 

    Last season, Springer struck out 33 percent of the time. He's made consistent contact much more often this year, lowering that number to a 26.4 percent mark. Springer has tried to simplify his approach at the plate this season. 

    "Strikeouts, I don't really think—I don't really care about them," Springer told Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle. "I think that's kind of a stat that other people use. For me it's just, I've been working a lot with Z (assistant hitting coach Alan Zinter) and Hudgy (hitting coach Dave Hudgens) on hitting stuff I can hit."

    Looking at Springer's stats, it begs the question: Why isn't the best player on one of the top teams in baseball receiving more All-Star votes? 

    There's no reason for that to be the case. Springer certainly deserves to join the All-Star festivities next month. 

    Others Overlooked

    Josh Reddick, Andre Ethier

    Advanced stats courtesy of FanGraphs and accurate as of June 22.

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