Biggest Snubs from the 2016 All-Star Game
After the fans decided to elect Michael Saunders and Brandon Belt in the All-Star Final Vote, the American League and National League All-Star rosters were set. Saunders and Belt beat out four candidates from their respective leagues, but it’s safe to say the other Final Vote candidates were deserving of chances to play in the Midsummer Classic. For that reason I decided not to include the Final Vote guys and to go with players who were snubbed from the game and the Final Vote.
Gregory Polanco: By some accounts Polanco has been the best player on the Pirates this year, making him a huge All-Star snub. Polanco is hitting .291/.367/.510. He’s tied for third in the National League in doubles with 24 to go along with 12 homers, a team-leading 50 RBI, and nine stolen bases. He also has six assists from right field. According to FanGraphs, Polanco ranks 29th in the Majors in WAR so far—ahead of All-Star outfielders Yoenis Cespedes, Carlos Gonzalez, Odubel Herrera, Adam Duvall, and Carlos Beltran. Polanco will likely make a few All-Star teams before it’s all said and done, but he has done more than enough to deserve a spot in 2016. Teammate Starling Marte is a part of the final vote for the National League, otherwise he would find himself on this list too.
Nelson Cruz: Cruz has once again been one of the best power hitters in baseball this year. He’s tied for third in the AL in home runs with All-Stars Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson (22), ahead of All-Stars Robinson Cano, Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, and Manny Machado in RBI (57), and tied with All-Star Jackie Bradley, Jr. for eighth with a wRC+ of 141. With so many deserving candidates in the American League outfield, someone was bound to get snubbed. Unfortunately for the Boomstick, he’s on the outside looking in in 2016.
Freddie Freeman: the Braves’ offense is one of the worst in recent memory, and Freeman got off to a very slow start in 2016. These two factors, plus the fact that the NL is absolutely stacked at first, resulted in a snub of the Braves’ best player. Despite the slow start, Freeman’s massive June in which he hit .346/.426/.654 has helped him rebound to .286/.367/.470 on the year. He currently leads the Braves in almost every major offensive category. He’s only on pace for 61 RBI this year, but that’s only because he never has anyone on base in front of him to drive in. He’ll make the team again before his career is over, but he’s definitely snubbed in 2016.
Kyle Seager: Seager has long been considered one of the most underrated players in baseball, and his snub from the 2016 All-Star game is indicative of that. He owns a .277/.360/.525 slashline. He’s tied for fourth in the AL with 24 doubles, ahead of All-Stars Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Ian Desmond, and teammate Robinson Cano. His RBI total of 56 is good for t-eighth in the AL with Cano and Mike Trout. His WAR of 3.6 ranks fourth among all Major League third basemen. He did make the All-Star team in 2014, but his stats indicate 2016 has been the best season of his career so far. He’ll have to settle for watching his younger brother, Corey, a first time All-Star for the Dodgers.
Drew Pomeranz: Here’s another case of the NL pitching staff being ridiculously deep. Pomeranz has had a breakthrough 2016 and has been the Padres’ best pitcher so far this year. He ranks eighth in the NL with a 2.65 ERA and tenth in strikeouts with 109, ahead of All-Stars Jon Lester and Julio Teheran. His K/9 total of 10.33 puts him ahead of Cy Young contenders Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, and Jake Arrieta. He has always had electric stuff, and he has finally put it together this year with a batting average against of .191, third in the NL ahead of All-Stars Teheran, Bumgarner, Jose Fernandez, and Stephen Strasburg. If he can continue his 2016 success into next season and beyond, Pomeranz will undoubtedly be playing in the Midsummer Classic one day.
Trevor Bauer: Indians fans have been waiting for Bauer to live up to his lofty expectations ever since getting drafted out of UCLA in 2011. Before the season began, Bauer wasn’t even projected to be a part of Cleveland’s starting rotation; however, since earning a starting gig he has been terrific. His 3.02 ERA puts him at seventh in the AL, while his WHIP of 1.16 ranks him 11th. He has only allowed 78 hits so far, ranking him third among qualified pitchers, ahead of All-Stars like Chris Sale, Steven Wright, and Cole Hamels. He has always had a wide array of pitches, but Bauer has finally learned how to pitch effectively. If he keeps it up, he should find himself in the All-Star Game before too long.
Brandon Crawford: the snub of Crawford is indicative of the fact that fans don’t pay attention to defense. Playing the second most important defensive position on the field, the Giants’ shortstop leads the National League in runs saved, UZR, and defensive rating. He’s no slouch with the bat, either. He’s hitting .271/.344/.425 so far. His 55 RBI leads all Major League shorstops and his four triples ranks him t-second. Combine his defensive wizardry with his more-than-capable stick and you get a WAR of 3.2, which places him 19th in the entire MLB, ahead of All-Star middle infielders Xander Bogaerts, Ben Zobrist, Daniel Murphy, and Addison Russell. He made the All-Star team in 2015 after a huge power surge, and while the power hasn’t been as evident. This might be the biggest snub among the All-Star selections in 2016, his glove alone should have solidified his spot.
(All stats via Baseball-Reference.com or FanGraphs.com as of July 7th)