There is no better way to stop me from clicking on an article this time of year than to read a headline whining about “All-Star Snubs”.
It is a stupid premise promoted by those out of touch with reality. Being selected to the All-Star Game is supposed to be for the elite. Even if there were 100 players per roster, some supporter of player number 101 will surely deliver an impassioned “fact-based” argument why his guy was jobbed. Boring.
The fact is, MLB has done a pretty good job of diversifying the All-Star selection process among fans, players and managers – while keeping their own hand on the rudder, as well.
With that off my chest, I will talk about a different kind of snu… er omission.
MLB’s All-Star Game remains a first half-only event. In terms of individual accomplishment, nothing that happened between last July and October is taken into account for All-Star selections. This is inherently wrong.
This is hardly a new concern. Over a half-century ago, MLB experimented with two annual All-Star Games, with the second one held in the fall. Not unlike the NFL Pro Bowl of today, the timing of the later contest made it a logistical challenge and it soon faded away, apparently due to a general lack of interest.
I get that nothing is going to change any time soon no matter how long I hold my breath. So, instead, I will turn my energies to recognizing second-half 2016 performers who also made a good first-half case to become 2017 All-Stars, yet were not selected.
To do that, I simply ran lists of the top individual performers since the 2016 All-Star Game and looked at those who were not named to this year’s AL and NL squads. My population consists of the 139 hitters with at least 500 plate appearances since last July 12.
Here are the two-half year top 10 leaders in key categories not invited to Miami.
Home Runs – Only four of the top 11 long-ball hitters made the All-Star teams. These seven did not, including three of the top four in MLB. These are clearly no longer the Bonds/McGwire/Sosa days. Interesting how even in a down time, Manny Machado makes the top 10, tied with Jedd Gyorko. Jedd Gyorko? The guy who was traded straight up for Jon Jay?
|Brian Dozier||41||T 2nd|
|George Springer||37||T 5th|
|Edwin Encarnacion||37||T 5th|
|Manny Machado||36||T 10th|
|Jedd Gyorko||36||T 10th|
RBI – Seven of the top 10 were recognized – a better showing. Notice how that old warhorse Albert Pujols made a very strong showing on the list. Yes, I am surprised, too!
|Khris Davis||107||T 6th|
|Jose Abreu||106||T 8th|
Batting Average – Eight of the top 12 were in Miami.
|Dustin Pedroia||0.319||T 10th|
|Ender Inciarte||0.319||T 10th|
On-Base Percentage – Like with RBI, only three of the two half-years’ top 10 were not invited.
Slugging Percentage – Now here is where it gets really interesting. Nine of the top 10 sluggers are All-Stars. Freddie Freeman probably would have been had he not been injured, but based on his success plus the fact he came off the DL in time to play the final week of the first half, he should have been on the NL team, anyway.
OPS – Ditto on what I said just above about Freeman, though Miguel Cabrera deserves a very honorable mention. Like Pujols, perhaps we buried him too early.
Brian Walton was the 2009 National League Tout Wars champion, scoring the most points in the league’s 18-year history. He also holds the all-time NL Tout single-season records for wins and saves. His work can also be found daily at TheCardinalNation.com. Follow Brian on Twitter @B_Walton.