MLB All-Star Voting 2019: Least-Deserving Starters, Snubs After Roster Reveal

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJune 28, 2019

HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 27:  Josh Bell #55 of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits a two-run home run in the third inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on June 27, 2019 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Tim Warner/Getty Images

A player who leads his entire MLB position group in OPS was not named an All-Star finalist, and the first baseman who is tops in RBI is not a starter.

Furthermore, one of the game's best offensive and defensive backstops will have to wait to hear his name called on the reserve list.

Those decisions are a bit perplexing, and we'll go over those following the MLB All-Star Game starters announcement on Wednesday. You can also take a look at the entire All-Star lineup below.


American League Starters

C: Gary Sanchez (New York Yankees)

1B: Carlos Santana (Cleveland Indians)

2B: DJ LeMahieu (New York Yankees)

3B: Alex Bregman (Houston Astros)

SS: Jorge Polanco (Minnesota Twins)

OF: Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels)

OF: George Springer (Houston Astros)

OF: Michael Brantley (Houston Astros)

DH: Hunter Pence (Texas Rangers)


National League Starters

C: Willson Contreras (Chicago Cubs)

1B: Freddie Freeman (Atlanta Braves)

2B: Ketel Marte (Arizona Diamondbacks)

3B: Nolan Arenado (Colorado Rockies)

SS: Javier Baez (Chicago Cubs)

OF: Christian Yelich (Milwaukee Brewers)

OF: Cody Bellinger (Los Angeles Dodgers)

OF: Ronald Acuna Jr. (Atlanta Braves)


Top Snubs and Least-Deserving Starters     

Pittsburgh Pirates 1B Josh Bell: All-Star Starter Snub Behind Atlanta Braves 1B Freddie Freeman

All Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Josh Bell does right now is crush baseballs at opportune times.

The 26-year-old has knocked in 70 runners for a Pirates team that is 10th out of 15th in scoring. Simply put, he's not always getting a boatload of chances to make something happen with runners on base, but he's taking advantage of the ones he's receiving.

Bell's 70 is seven better than the rest of the MLB field, and he's also fourth overall in OPS.

Freeman has similar numbers, with 22 home runs, 63 RBI and a .396 OPS. He's one of the game's smoothest hitters and will likely get some NL MVP votes thanks to his Braves sporting an NL East-best 48-33 record.

He would be the deserving candidate almost every other year, but Bell should have received the honor in Cleveland.


Milwaukee Brewers C Yasmani Grandal: All-Star Starter Snub Behind Chicago Cubs C Willson Contreras

The all-around game of Milwaukee Brewers catcher Yasmani Grandal should have landed him a starter's spot over Chicago Cubs backstop Willson Contreras.

Per FanGraphs, Grandal is the league leader among catches in WAR at 3.1, or .5 better than Contreras in second. He's the only catcher who ranks top nine in offensive and defensive WAR.

Grandal is also third in WOBA among catchers with 100 or more plate appearances and second in homers with 18.

Granted, the Cubs star has the better offensive numbers overall, with a fantastic .986 OPS (compared to Grandal's .926) and a .300 batting average (vs. Grandal's .270).

However, regression could be on the way for Contreras, who has a .357 BABIP (league average is .300). Meanwhile, Grandal could see himself getting luckier at the plate as evidenced by his .285 mark. He smokes the ball at a 49-percent hard-hit rate, so it's certainly feasible.


Washington Nationals 3B Anthony Rendon: All-Star Starter Snub Behind Colorado Rockies 3B Nolan Arenado

Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon is the MLB's best-hitting player at his position, but he wasn't a finalist to start in the NL.

Maybe it's because fans don't recognize him as well as others, or perhaps it's because the Nats are having a disappointing season. Whatever the reason, the 29-year-old is a superstar.

Per FanGraphs, he's tops in WAR, WOBA, WRC+, ISO and SLG. And he's also among some excellent peers, namely the top two NL MVP candidates in the Brewers' Christian Yelich and the Los Angeles Dodgers' Cody Bellinger:

Washington Nationals @Nationals

Complete list of @MLB players hitting .300/.400/.625 with 15+ HRs: Christian Yelich Cody Bellinger Anthony Rendon #VoteRendon // https://t.co/LdTF52YzeC https://t.co/PAj5lq44R9

Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado is a monster offensive threat and a defensive wizard reminiscent of some of the game's all-time greats at the position such as ex-Baltimore Oriole and Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson. He's probably headed to Cooperstown someday too.

But this year, Rendon is the league's best third baseman, AL or NL.