Opinion Time: Which player is the biggest All-Star snub?
Sentinel Sports Reporter
The biggest snub in the National League comes at catcher. J.T. Realmuto, Miami’s catcher, would be deserving of an All-Star berth even if the game wasn’t going to be played in his home ballpark. He’s hitting .295 one season after finishing at .303, and his .993 fielding percentage is third best in the NL.
As someone who has rooted for the St. Louis Cardinals my entire life, it pains me to pick someone ahead of Yadier Molina. But even though Molina is more of a household name much like another all-time great Cardinals player who didn’t always deserve to go to the All-Star Game every year (see Ozzie Smith), Realmuto has better numbers and, this year, has been better in the field.
The other snub comes from the American League in Los Angeles Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons. Playing on an average Angels team with teammates Mike Trout and Albert Pujols doesn’t help Simmons’ cause.
What does is that he’s hitting a career-best .283 with 13 stolen bases. And with Trout withdrawing from the All-Star game with an injury as the Angels’ only representative, Simmons might wind up making the AL roster after all.
Sentinel Editorial Page Editor
I love the All-Star game even though it’s a farce.
In the Moneyball era, we have the statistical capability of pinpointing exactly which players are the best at their position, though it would involve combining defensive metrics with offensive production.
Instead, we leave it to fans to determine starters, which skews things from the get-go.
But if we’re talking snubs, I’m always going to look for the middle reliever who got squeezed out by the big-name starters and dominant closers on the roster. They’re the Rodney Dangerfields of the league, often leading their teams in appearances and serving an important bridge role.
Chris Devenski, a right-handed relief pitcher for the Houston Astros, is a prime example. He’s tied for the American League lead in innings pitched by a reliever, with a 2.23 ERA over 48 1/3 innings. He’s a stopper, striking out nearly 36 percent of the batters he faces. He might pitch 100 innings this season for a club expected to make the playoffs.
Sentinel Sports Copy Editor/Designer
Playing third base in the National League and hoping to make an All-Star team is a tall task.
Nolan Arenado won the fan vote on the final day and Arizona’s Jake Lamb earned his first All-Star game appearance by winning the player’s vote. Left off the team were reigning NL MVP Kris Bryant, who has a chance to make the team if he wins the final vote, the Dodgers’ Justin Turner, who is hitting .384 with eight home runs and 33 RBI in 216 at-bats, and Milwaukee’s Travis Shaw, who is hitting .297 with 18 home runs and 61 RBI. Shaw deserves to be on the team.
The Rockies have four players on the NL team, but should have five. Mark Reynolds still has a chance to make the team as the final vote winner, but all the Sultan of Swattingham has done this season is hit 19 home runs with 61 RBI for Colorado after signing a minor-league deal to be a bench player.
Reynolds has taken over at first base for Ian Desmond and although he has struggled a bit at the plate lately, the Rockies would not be one of the top teams in the NL without Reynolds’ bat and strong defense at first base.