10 Best MLB Players Since 2000 Who Never Made an All-Star Team

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistApril 1, 2020

10 Best MLB Players Since 2000 Who Never Made an All-Star Team

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    If the 2020 MLB season eventually gets underway, it's still unclear if there will be an All-Star Game as part of the condensed schedule.

    The event brings a good deal of debate in the MLB community each year, as regardless of how large the American League and National League rosters are, a few deserving players are always on the outside looking in.

    Ahead we've highlighted 10 notable players from the past 20 years who spent their entire careers on the outside. Career WAR totals played a significant role in choosing the 10, while peak performances and name recognition were also taken into account.

    A few of them are active, so there's still a chance for that to change, but most have already called it an All-Star-free career.

    Included is each player's best case for an All-Star nod based on first-half stats and a look at who beat them out (with starters listed in bold).

    Let's get to it.

SS Orlando Cabrera

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    In an era filled with superstar shortstops, it's easy to see how Orlando Cabrera was overlooked.

    However, he was a steady contributor throughout his 15-year career, racking up 2,055 hits and 21.3 WAR while winning a pair of Gold Glove Awards from 1997 to 2011.

    He began his career in Montreal, where he eventually teamed with Jose Vidro to form one of the most underrated double-play combinations in recent memory.


    Best All-Star Case

    With a .300/.355/.483 line that included 25 doubles, 13 home runs, 51 RBI, 61 runs and 11 steals during the first half of the 2003 season for the Expos, Cabrera had a compelling All-Star case.

    However, only two shortstops made the NL roster:

    • Rafael Furcal: .282/.344/.473, 13 HR, 38 RBI, 14 SB
    • Edgar Renteria: .331/.382/.485, 9 HR, 60 RBI, 23 SB

    From a statistical standpoint, Cabrera was more deserving than Furcal.

    However, the Braves had a 61-32 record at the All-Star break, and the Expos already had a representative with Vidro voted in as the starting second baseman, so it's not surprising Cabrera missed out.

SP Aaron Harang

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    Aaron Harang was a workhorse throughout his 14-year career.

    The burly 6'7", 260-pound right-hander teamed with Bronson Arroyo to form an underrated one-two punch atop the Cincinnati Reds rotation, and from 2005 to 2007, he posted a 120 ERA+ while averaging 226 innings per season.

    He also enjoyed a late-career resurgence with the Atlanta Braves, posting a 3.57 ERA over 204.1 innings at age 36 in 2014, and he wrapped up his career with 23.8 WAR.


    Best All-Star Case

    Harang made his second straight Opening Day start in 2007 and went 9-2 with a 3.67 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 112 strikeouts during the first half while ranking third in the NL with 127.2 innings pitched.

    Those numbers are even better when you consider he was playing his home games in the hitter's paradise that is Great American Ball Park.

    In the end, these guys made the NL staff over him:

    • Cole Hamels: 10-4, 3.72 ERA, 124 K, 118.2 IP
    • Roy Oswalt: 8-5, 3.53 ERA, 94 K, 135 IP
    • Jake Peavy: 9-3, 2.19 ERA, 125 K, 119 IP
    • Brad Penny: 10-1, 2.39 ERA, 82 K, 116.2 IP
    • Ben Sheets: 10-4, 3.41 ERA, 87 K, 116 IP
    • John Smoltz: 9-5, 3.07 ERA, 96 K, 105.2 IP
    • Brandon Webb: 8-6, 3.37 ERA, 112 K, 131 IP
    • Chris Young: 8-3, 2.00 ERA, 99 K, 103.2 IP

    Some other fun names among the NL pitching snubs in 2007 include Mets right-hander John Maine (10-4, 2.71 ERA, 93 K, 109.2 IP), Marlins right-hander Sergio Mitre (3-4, 2.85 ERA, 55 K, 88.1 IP) and Pirates right-hander Ian Snell (7-5, 2.93 ERA, 93 K, 116.2 IP).

CF Juan Pierre

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    Juan Pierre slapped 2,217 hits and swiped 614 bases during his 14-year MLB career.

    No one has more hits and only Otis Nixon (620) has more steals among players who never made an All-Star appearance, dating back to the game's inception in 1933.

    Pierre led the NL in steals three times and hits twice, and finished with a .295 batting average in 8,280 career plate appearances.


    Best All-Star Case

    Pierre provided few different seasons to pick from.

    He carried stellar batting averages into the All-Star break in 2001 (.326 BA, 102 H) and 2009 (.328 BA, 85 H), while also stealing 23 bases both years.

    However, we'll go with the 2003 season. He hit .298/.358/.361 and led the majors with 44 steals before the break, adding 117 hits and 60 runs scored while batting leadoff for the World Series-winning Marlins.

    As always, the outfield was crowded with worthy candidates, and these eight guys made the NL roster:

    • Barry Bonds: .316/.496/.719, 30 HR, 63 RBI
    • Jim Edmonds: .303/.398/.668, 28 HR, 67 RBI
    • Luis Gonzalez: .310/.393/.560, 18 HR, 67 RBI
    • Geoff Jenkins: .275/.352/.515, 20 HR, 68 RBI
    • Andruw Jones: .280/.356/.522, 23 HR, 64 RBI
    • Albert Pujols: .368/.432/.690, 27 HR, 86 RBI
    • Gary Sheffield: .327/.423/.596, 22 HR, 70 RBI
    • Preston Wilson: .307/.366/.583, 23 HR, 91 RBI

    It's hard to say Pierre deserved a spot over any of those guys, but he would have added a different dynamic to the roster with his speed.

DH Travis Hafner

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    Travis Hafner had a brief peak, but at his best, he was one of the most feared sluggers in baseball.

    From 2004 to 2006, he hit .308/.419/.611 while averaging 38 doubles, 34 home runs and 111 RBI. He led the AL in OPS+ in 2004 (162) and 2006 (181) and finished in the top 10 in AL MVP voting twice.


    Best All-Star Case

    Hafner had a solid first half in 2004 (.946 OPS, 10 HR, 61 RBI) and a huge first half in 2005 (1.020 OPS, 18 HR, 63 RBI), but his 2006 pre-break numbers were next-level.

    The 29-year-old hit .322/.461/.650 with 25 home runs and 74 RBI, and his 1.112 OPS was tops in the AL and second only to Albert Pujols (1.138) among all qualified hitters.

    Alas, the game was held in an NL park (Pittsburgh), so there was no DH spot on the ballot. Hafner was capable of playing first base, but these three guys made the AL roster instead:

    • Paul Konerko: .313/.384/.559, 21 HR, 67 RBI
    • David Ortiz: .278/.388/.609, 31 HR, 87 RBI
    • Jim Thome: .298/.414/.651, 30 HR, 77 RBI

    All three were having excellent seasons, but Hafner should've been on that AL roster one way or another.

SP Anibal Sanchez

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    Anibal Sanchez has endured plenty of ups and downs during his 14-year career.

    At his best, he was the AL ERA leader (2.57 in 2013) and a legitimate Cy Young candidate. At his worst, he was earning $16.8 million to handle mop-up duty after struggling to a 6.41 ERA during the 2017 season.

    He's still going strong entering his age-36 campaign and fresh off a 3.7-WAR season with the World Series champion Washington Nationals.


    Best All-Star Case

    The best first-half performance of Sanchez's career came in 2013 when he went 7-6 with a 2.93 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 111 strikeouts in 92 innings. He missed a chunk of June with a sore shoulder but returned to make two starts before the All-Star break.

    With his manager, Jim Leyland, leading the AL All-Star team after the Tigers' run to the World Series the previous year, playing it safe made sense, and Sanchez ended up on the outside looking in. Here's who made it instead:

    • Clay Buchholz: 9-0, 1.71 ERA, 81 K, 84.1 IP
    • Bartolo Colon: 12-3, 2.70 ERA, 70 K, 126.2 IP
    • Yu Darvish: 8-4, 3.02 ERA, 157 K, 119.1 IP
    • Felix Hernandez: 10-4, 2.53 ERA, 140 K, 138.2 IP
    • Hisashi Iwakuma: 8-4, 3.02 ERA, 113 K, 131.1 IP
    • Justin Masterson: 10-7, 3.72 ERA, 137 K, 135.1 IP
    • Matt Moore: 13-3, 3.44 ERA, 108 K, 107.1 IP
    • Chris Sale: 6-8, 2.85 ERA, 131 K, 120 IP
    • Max Scherzer: 13-1, 3.19 ERA, 152 K, 129.2 IP
    • Chris Tillman: 11-3, 3.95 ERA, 89 K, 111.2 IP
    • Justin Verlander: 10-6, 3.50 ERA, 125 K, 126 IP

    There were six Tigers players on the AL roster, including Sanchez's rotationmates Verlander and Scherzer. Yankees right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (8-6, 2.65 ERA, 84 K, 118.2 IP) was an even bigger snub than Sanchez.

SS Andrelton Simmons

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    Appreciation for the glove-first shortstop seemingly died when Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Nomar Garciaparra and Miguel Tejada revolutionized the position during the early 2000s.

    That has left Andrelton Simmons as one of the most underappreciated players of his era.

    Despite a middling 91 OPS+, he's been worth 36.3 WAR since his 2012 debut. That ranks 10th among all position players and is largely due to his staggering 193 DRS, which has led to four Gold Glove Awards.


    Best All-Star Case

    Simmons hit a stellar .313/.371/.443 with 28 extra-base hits and more walks (28) than strikeouts (16) during the first half of the 2018 season.

    That was enough to land him on the Final Vote ballot, but Jean Segura won and became the third shortstop on the AL roster:

    • Francisco Lindor: .291/.367/.562, 25 HR, 62 RBI
    • Manny Machado: .315/.387/.575, 24 HR, 65 RBI
    • Jean Segura: .323/.354/.458, 7 HR, 47 RBI, 14 SB

    It's hard to say anyone from that trio was undeserving, but Simmons had an excellent case.

    Lindor (7.8), Simmons (6.3) and Machado (5.8) went on to lead all shortstops in WAR, while Segura (3.2) finished 12th despite a .304 average and 91 runs scored.   

SP Carlos Carrasco

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    Carlos Carrasco has spent much of his career pitching in Corey Kluber's shadow.

    The 33-year-old posted a 3.27 ERA and 1.09 WHIP with a 10.1 K/9 from 2014 to 2018, tossing eight complete games and three shutouts during that span.


    Best All-Star Case

    Carrasco has traditionally pitched much better in the second half (3.46 ERA, 1.17 WHIP) than he has before the break (4.11 ERA, 1.22 WHIP), but he put together an All-Star-worthy first half in 2017.

    Through 17 starts, he was 10-3 with a 3.44 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 114 strikeouts in 104.2 innings, yet he was not selected to the AL team even with the Indians coaching staff calling the shots.

    Here's a look at who made the AL squad over him:

    • Chris Archer: 7-5, 3.95 ERA, 147 K, 123 IP
    • Yu Darvish: 6-8, 3.49 ERA, 125 K, 118.2 IP
    • Michael Fulmer: 9-6, 3.19 ERA, 84 K, 115.2 IP
    • Dallas Keuchel: 9-0, 1.67 ERA, 69 K, 75.2 IP
    • Corey Kluber: 7-3, 2.80 ERA, 123 K, 93.1 IP
    • Lance McCullers Jr.: 7-2, 3.05 ERA, 106 K, 91.1 IP
    • Chris Sale: 11-4, 2.75 ERA, 178 K, 127.2 IP
    • Ervin Santana: 10-6, 2.99 ERA, 91 K, 120.1 IP
    • Luis Severino: 5-4, 3.54 ERA, 123 K, 106.2 IP
    • Jason Vargas: 12-3, 2.62 ERA, 78 K, 106.1 IP

    Texas' Darvish was the only lone representative for his team. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay's Archer wasn't even the best pitcher on his own club, with Alex Cobb (7-6, 3.75 ERA, 76 K, 115.1 IP) having a better season. It's also worth noting that Keuchel only made 11 starts while battling injury.

LF Pat Burrell

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    Pat Burrell entered pro baseball with a boatload of hype after the Philadelphia Phillies took him No. 1 overall in the 1998 draft.

    He launched 292 home runs while posting a 116 OPS+, topping the 30-homer mark four times and garnering MVP votes twice. His lack of defensive ability limited his overall value, but he was still worth a modest 18.9 WAR in his 12-year career.


    Best All-Star Case

    Already an established slugger with 218 home runs, Burrell put together the best first half of his career in 2008 when he hit .275/.404/.575 with 21 doubles, 23 home runs and 57 RBI.

    Not selected as a reserve, the 28-year-old lost the Final Vote balloting to Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Corey Hart, making it seven outfielders on the NL roster:

    • Ryan Braun: .286/.324/.549, 23 HR, 66 RBI
    • Kosuke Fukudome: .279/.383/.408, 7 HR, 36 RBI
    • Corey Hart: .289/.327/.504, 15 HR, 58 RBI
    • Matt Holliday: .337/.421/.553, 14 HR, 51 RBI
    • Ryan Ludwick: .289/.365/.597, 21 HR, 65 RBI
    • Nate McLouth: .281/.357/.542, 19 HR, 65 RBI
    • Alfonso Soriano: .283/.332/.547, 15 HR, 50 RBI

    No one from that group bested the .979 OPS that Burrell had at the break. He had the last laugh, though, when the Philadelphia Phillies went on to win the World Series.

SP Kyle Hendricks

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    Kyle Hendricks has gone overlooked throughout his MLB career, due in part to the fact that his fastball tops out in the upper 80s.

    Despite his modest stuff, his pinpoint command and an uncanny ability to keep hitters off balance has helped him post a 3.14 ERA (132 ERA+) and 1.11 WHIP in 966 career innings—and 20.4 WAR in six seasons.


    Best All-Star Case

    In 2016, Hendricks had a 2.55 ERA and 1.03 WHIP with 86 strikeouts in 98.2 innings during the first half. However, the fact that seven other Chicago Cubs made the NL roster likely hurt his chances of securing an All-Star berth.

    Here's a look at the starting pitchers who made it over him:

    • Jake Arrieta: 12-4, 2.68 ERA, 121 K, 114.1 IP
    • Madison Bumgarner: 10-4, 1.94 ERA, 146 K, 129.2 IP
    • Bartolo Colon: 7-4, 3.28 ERA, 65 K, 98.2 IP
    • Johnny Cueto: 13-1, 2.47 ERA, 115 K, 131.1 IP
    • Jose Fernandez: 11-4, 2.52 ERA, 154 K, 107.1 IP
    • Clayton Kershaw: 11-2, 1.79 ERA, 145 K, 121 IP
    • Jon Lester: 9-4, 3.01 ERA, 108 K, 110.2 IP
    • Drew Pomeranz: 8-7, 2.47 ERA, 115 K, 102 IP
    • Max Scherzer: 10-6, 3.03 ERA, 164 K, 127.2 IP
    • Stephen Strasburg: 12-0, 2.62 ERA, 132 K, 106.2 IP
    • Noah Syndergaard: 9-4, 2.56 ERA, 128 K, 105.2 IP
    • Julio Teheran: 3-8, 2.96 ERA, 107 K, 118.2 IP

    Atlanta's Teheran was the only player from that group who was his team's lone representative.

    Hendricks went on to lead the majors in ERA (2.13) and finish third in NL Cy Young voting. He was the starting pitcher in Game 7 of the World Series and walked away with a ring.

3B Eric Chavez

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    At his peak, Eric Chavez was arguably the best two-way third baseman in the American League.

    From 2000 to 2005, he posted a 123 OPS+ while averaging 33 doubles, 30 home runs and 98 RBI. He also won five Gold Glove Awards during that stretch and six for his career.

    All told, he was worth 38.3 WAR over his 17-year career. That's the fourth-highest total of any position player who never made an All-Star Game since the Midsummer Classic's inception in 1933.


    Best All-Star Case

    Chavez hit .271/.341/.542 with 20 home runs and 58 RBI during the first half of the 2002 season while playing for an Oakland Athletics team that carried a 50-38 record into the All-Star break.

    He was part of the Final Vote ballot but lost to Boston Red Sox outfielder Johnny Damon.

    Three third basemen were selected for the AL roster over him:

    • Tony Batista: 356 PA, .269/.340/.522, 19 HR, 53 RBI
    • Shea Hillenbrand: 359 PA, .298/.331/.490, 13 HR, 51 RBI 
    • Robin Ventura: 311 PA, .263/.367/.511, 19 HR, 62 RBI

    Despite their record, the A's had just two All-Stars: left-hander Barry Zito and shortstop Miguel Tejada.


    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs, unless otherwise noted.