2015 MLB All-Star Rosters: Ranking the Biggest Snubs and Surprises
Just as surely as the MLB All-Star Game is played every July, there will be a handful of snubs and head-scratching selections that send fans and pundits into fits of impotent rage. That's part of the appeal.
Really, the 2015 rosters—which came closer to completion with the announcement of the pitchers, reserves and fan-vote finalists Monday—aren't especially egregious.
The number of Kansas City Royals in the American League starting lineup was trimmed to a reasonable but still robust four, with undeserving candidates like second baseman Omar Infante falling by the wayside in the final stages of voting.
Still, there is always room to quibble, which is exactly what we're here to do.
What follows isn't a scientific exercise. We're defining "snub" as a player that completely missed the cut, so guys on the bubble who could still make it via the final fan vote weren't considered.
Other than that, though, this is all pretty subjective. Do you reward the players with the best stats in the season's first half, or do you send guys based on star wattage and past accomplishments? Or, some combination of both? It's the annual All-Star dilemma.
We'll look at the numbers, we'll consider credentials and we'll add a dollop of old-fashioned personal bias. Because the real fun isn't in listing the snubs and surprises—it's in the debate that will inevitably ensue.
Surprise: Brock Holt, UTL, Boston Red Sox
Mired in last place in the AL East, the Red Sox don't have a right to expect more than one All-Star representative. Still, the one they got is an eyebrow-raiser.
Brock Holt is having a fine season, hitting .295 with an .807 OPS. But as a 27-year-old utility player on a roster littered with former All-Stars and budding stud Xander Bogaerts, Holt is easy to overlook.
As ESPN's Gordon Edes put it:
Guys like Brock Holt don't make All-Star teams. Coming into spring training a year ago, he wasn't even assured a place on the roster of the Red Sox, who traded for Jonathan Herrera because they didn't think Holt could back up at short.
Even when they succeed, like Holt did, starting games at seven different positions, like he did last season and did again in 2015, they're usually praised for their versatility and their importance to a winning team, but that's usually as far as it goes. Modest money, few real accolades.
If Holt keeps playing like he has, the money may come. For now, he's got the accolades covered.
Snub: Maikel Franco, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies
It's not that the third basemen selected to the NL squad—Todd Frazier, Nolan Arenado and Kris Bryant—are undeserving. But if the Philadelphia Phillies have one All-Star on their roster, it's rookie Maikel Franco.
Closer Jonathan Papelbon, the Phils' lone representative, has upped his potential trade value with a strong first half, posting a 1.65 ERA and converting all 14 of his save attempts.
But in a dark season for Philadelphia, Franco has been a ray of light.
His .297/.345/.531 slash line, 10 home runs and 34 RBI put him in the NL Rookie of the Year conversation. More than that, he provides a rare commodity in the City of Brotherly Love these days: hope.
Perhaps no one summed it up better than Phillies bench coach Larry Bowa, who offered the following nuanced assessment, per Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com: "We've got a stud at third!"
A stud who will no doubt make his share of Midsummer Classic appearances before it's all said and done.
Surprise: 7 Relief Pitchers in the AL
First, let's lay out the list of relievers on the AL side: Dellin Betances, Brad Boxberger, Zach Britton, Wade Davis, Kelvin Herrera, Darren O'Day and Glen Perkins. No terrible choices in there.
Still, it's a bit odd to see seven bullpen arms compared to just six starters, juxtaposed against the NL's more traditional ratio of eight starters to five relievers.
And there are certainly AL starters—like Scott Kazmir of the Oakland A's or the New York Yankees' Michael Pineda—who could make a case for a snub.
Who deserves to be dropped? How about Boxberger, one of the game's more under-the-radar closers and a guy who admitted he was "shocked" when he heard the news, per Mark Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.
You aren't the only one, Brad.
Surprise: DJ LeMahieu, 2B, Colorado Rockies
With Nolan Arenado in as the Rockies' no-doubt representative, DJ LeMahieu is an unnecessary addition.
Yes, LeMahieu is having a fine year at the plate and is reliably excellent on defense. But even playing his home games in hitter-happy Coors Field, he ranks seventh among NL second basemen in slugging percentage and OPS and has seen just 16 of his 87 hits go for extra bases.
With Troy Tulowitzki eligible for the final fan vote, Colorado could end up with three All-Stars, which seems like a stretch for a club that's currently mired eight games under .500 and in last place in the NL West.
So who else deserved a second-base bench spot alongside the San Francisco Giants' Joe Panik? Funny you should ask.
Snub: Kolten Wong, 2B, St. Louis Cardinals
Kolten Wong, quite simply, is having a better season than DJ LeMahieu across the board.
In fact, Wong currently leads all NL second basemen in home runs and is tied for the lead in RBI and extra-base hits. And he can flash some leather, too.
Plus, with Matt Carpenter already a borderline snub at third base, it really feels like the Cardinals are getting clipped here.
Yes, the Red Birds are sending an NL-leading five players to Cincinnati, so it's doubtful anyone's crying for them too hard. But they also own the best record in baseball; surely, if Kansas City gets six representatives and four starters, the Cards can slip in one more deserving player.
Snub: Alex Rodriguez, DH, New York Yankees
You knew it was coming. Alex Rodriguez is simply having too improbably good of a season not to be included here.
Approaching his 40th birthday and coming off of a season-long performance-enhancing drug suspension, A-Rod has ticked off an impressive list of milestones, including collecting his 3,000th hit.
He also owns a .902 OPS to go along with 16 home runs and 47 RBI.
Nelson Cruz is a deserving starter at designated hitter, and Rodriguez's aging legs could surely use the rest. Plus, with 14 All-Star appearances under his belt, it's not as if he needs No. 15.
Still, wouldn't it have been cool to at least put A-Rod in the final fan vote to see if the MLB masses love to hate him enough to send him to Cincinnati?
All statistics current as of July 6 and courtesy of MLB.com unless otherwise noted.