The All-Star festivities in Miami haven’t even started yet and there is a fresh round of controversy.
Not over the game itself, but the Home Run Derby set to take place on Monday, July 10 (the day before the mid-summer classic at Marlins Park).
It seems that Tampa’s Logan Morrison, who is tied for fourth overall in dingers this season with 24, has taken exception to the inclusion of Yankees’ catcher Gary Sanchez in the derby — instead of him.
Naturally a social media brouhaha erupted over Morrison’s snide comments.
“Gary shouldn’t be there,” Morrison told the Tampa Bay Times on Tuesday. “Gary’s a great player, but he shouldn’t be in the Home Run Derby.
“I remember when I had 14 home runs. That was a month and a half ago.”
Sanchez retorted, through an interpreter, “”It’s not my fault he didn’t get selected.”
It’s a tempest in a teacup, in our opinion and we believe there were greater snubs for the actual game itself.
Here are 15 deserving players from both leagues who got the all-star shaft.
[Editor’s Note: Some of these players have since been named to the All-Star game as replacement players, but they probably should have been on the team from the start.]
15. Roberto Osuna, RP – Toronto Blue Jays
Craig Kimbrel was the only AL closer selected to the All-Star game. We won’t argue with that as it was a solid selection based on his efficiency (23 out of 25 in save opportunities) and overall stats (0.52 WHIP, 1.23 ERA, 65 Ks in 36.2 innings). There was an oversight though, where Osuna is concerned. In just three seasons, the 22-year-old Mexican flamethrower has established himself as an elite fireman. After some early struggles this season where he blew three saves in six opportunities, he has been perfect since, converting on 19 opportunities. On April 27 after blowing a save against St. Louis, his ERA was 7.50. He has since lowered it to 2.06 and made a strong case for inclusion on the AL roster. He also has a strong WHIP of 0.71 and 47 strikeouts in 35 innings.
14. Trea Turner, SS – Washington Nationals
For our money, Trea Turner is the most exciting all around shortstop in the National League. That he wasn’t added to the reserves is a huge snub. We won’t argue with fans in Cincinnati getting their guy, Zack Cozart, to the game. But, we will take issue with Corey Seager being named to the reserve instead of Turner. Seen from an offensive standpoint, Seager leads Turner in all categories but triples and stolen bases. Seager has also struck out 21 more times than Turner in nearly same number of at bats. We like Turner for the excitement he brings, especially in the stolen base department, where he leads all major leaguers with 35 thefts. Defensively, it’s pretty much a saw-off, as Seager has made one less error than Turner.
13. Trey Mancini, OF – Baltimore Orioles
Baltimore outfielder Trey Mancini may be a rookie, but he sure isn’t playing like one. Sure, all of the AL All-Star outfielders, whether voted in or named to the reserve, are deserving in their own way. White Sox veteran Avisail Garcia was named to the reserve based on his performance and the fact every team gets a representative and he is it for Chicago (we get that everyone gets representation, but don’t agree wholeheartedly with it). Among all AL outfielders, Mancini is fifth in batting average at .312 and third in OPS at .906. He’s taken a lot of at-bats as a DH, which is probably a good reason he wasn’t named as a reserve, but his numbers for a rookie, especially on a power-laden O’s squad, are admirable. Mancini has 15 doubles, a triple, 14 homers and 43 RBI. Solid enough for inclusion, we think.
12. Travis Shaw, 3B – Milwaukee Brewers
Three of the top four hitting third baseman on the senior circuit won’t be playing in the mid-summer classic. Of those four, Nolan Arenado of Colorado was voted in. Jake Lamb, who is leading the big leagues (with Marcell Ozuna) in RBI with 67, is a worthy reserve nominee. Justin Turner, who has missed a quarter of the season but is batting .380, is the other. We believe, though, that Shaw should have been named to the reserve, based on his outstanding season after a breakout year in Boston. As well, he has played a monster role in Milwaukee’s surprising run to the top of the NL Central standings. Shaw isn’t far behind Lamb or Arenado in RBI, as he has driven in 61 (10th in all of baseball) for the Brew Crew. All of his numbers scream “All-Star” and too bad he isn’t one.
11. Xander Bogaerts, SS – Boston Red Sox
For three years, Boston shortstop Xander Bogaerts has been a very consistent hitting and fielding machine. He was named an all-star in 2016 and should have been this year too. On Thursday, he was narrowly beaten by Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas in the hokey “Final Vote” for the 32nd and final member of the team. Bogaerts, a two-time Silver Slugger award winner, has All-Star worthy numbers, including a .308 average (third among shortstops in the AL), 41 RBI (third), 20 doubles (tied for second), .818 OPS (third) and nine stolen bases (third). Francisco Lindor was named to the reserve, but trails Bogaerts in average, RBI, OBP and OPS. Quite an oversight, since Cleveland has five representatives and Boston has just three.
10. Dee Gordon, 2B – Miami Marlins
There is only one second baseman on the NL All-Star team who is playing a better overall game than Miami’s Dee Gordon and he is Washington’s Daniel Murphy, who was voted in. Colorado’s D.J. LeMahieu was nominated for the reserve, as was Pittsburgh’s Josh Harrison. Gordon has been an electrifying player for four years running, yet was named All-Star in just two of them, when he led the NL in steals in 2014 and 2015. He’s not a big home run hitter, but makes great contact (he led the NL in hits in 2015) and is 15th overall this year in hits with 96 (.291 batting average) and third in steals with 31. We think the only reason he was excluded was because Pittsburgh needed a lone representative and Harrison was it.
9. Carlos Carrasco, SP – Cleveland Indians
The best should be at the All-Star game, so why wasn’t Carrasco nominated? There were nine starting pitchers added to the 32-man AL roster and Carrasco’s exclusion was curious. He is at least better than New York’s Luis Severino, and the Yankees already have four other attendees. Cleveland has five, too, but we believe Carrasco should have made it six. As of Friday he was tied for fourth in the American League with All-Star Dallas Keuchel in wins (9), eighth in ERA among starters at 3.50, eighth in strikeouts with 103 and third in WHIP at 1.05. Carrasco’s stock has been on the rise for four years, yet he’s never been an All-Star. Too bad.
8. Felipe Rivero, RP – Pittsburgh Pirates
No reliever in the National League has a lower ERA than Pittsburgh’s Felipe Rivero. And, no one has more appearances than his 43. That is why is exclusion from the festivities is so egregious. Sure, he’s not a closer but he is perfect in five opportunities. Guess middle relief just isn’t sexy enough. But, good — not great – middle relief got San Diego’s Brad Hand nominated (again, he’s the only Padres All-Star), ditto Milwaukee’s Corey Knebel and Pat Neshek of the Phillies. None of them hold a candle this season to Rivero, who has 54 strikeouts in 46 innings pitched, along with a sterling 0.78 ERA, 0.72 WHIP, just 11 total bases on balls and only two homers surrendered. A myopic oversight, for sure.
7. Josh Reddick, OF – Houston Astros
The major league leading Astros do have five players going to the All-Star game, as it should be. We think Reddick should be going too, for good reasons. We already said Baltimore’s Trey Mancini was a worthy candidate, but he is paler in comparison to Houston’s Reddick, who has never been an All-Star. First year Astro Reddick is third among AL outfielders in average (.314) and has shown a great batting eye, striking out just 37 times in 255 at bats. He also has 20 doubles (fourth among AL outfielders), three triples (tied for first), nine homers and 40 RBI. Reddick is alos fifth among all AL outfielders in slugging percentage at .522 and fourth in OPS at .884.
6. Adam Duvall, OF – Cincinnati Reds
Only one player in the major leagues has more extra base hits than Cincinnati’s Adam Duvall, and he is Cleveland 3B Jose Ramirez, who was voted onto the AL All-Star team. Ramirez has 48 extra base hits to Duvall’s 47, yet Duvall couldn’t even get a reserve spot on the NL squad. Duvall, an All-Star in 2016, is producing at a higher level than even his monster numbers of the last campaign (.241, 31 doubles, six triples, 33 HR and 103 RBI). Already this season Duvall has 25 doubles (second among NL outfielders), two triples, 20 homers (tied for sixth), 61 RBI (third), a .280 average, .564 slugging percentage (fifth) and .888 OPS (eighth). He should be there, in our estimation.
5. Robinson Cano, 2B – Seattle Mariners
Jose Altuve, deserving in every right, is the AL starting second baseman, as voted by the fans. On the reserve squad are the Yankees Starlin Castro and Baltimore’s Jonathan Schoop. We are making the argument here that Cano is at least as good as, or better than both of them. A seven-time All-Star, including the 2016 team, Cano has put up numbers good enough for inclusion on the reserve, but overlooked. He leads all AL second basemen in RBI with 60 (eight more than Schoop, 15 more than Castro), and is tied with Schoop in homers at 17 (Castro has 12). Defensively, he is also superior, logging a .985 fielding percentage, where Castro is at .978 and Schoop comes in at .976. Cano should have been an eight-timer this year.
4. Jacob deGrom, SP – New York Mets
Only four starting pitchers in the National League have been more imposing than the Mets’ Jacob deGrom. With 125 strikeouts in 104 innings, deGrom has been an efficient fourth-year starter who is having his best season since being an All-Star in 2015. That year, he was 14-8, with a 2.54 ERA and career high 205 strikeouts n 191 innings. He is on track to meeting, or surpassing those numbers, as he is 8-3 in 16 starts. He has a 3.55 ERA and 1.221 WHIP. The Mets have scuffled to a 38-45 mark in 2017, making his contributions even more noteworthy. With one career complete game to his credit — and it wasn’t in his All-Star year — deGrom already has one this season. It was a fairly tidy five-hit, one-run effort in a win over the Chicago Cubs on June 12.
3. Brandon Kintzler, SP – Minnesota Twins
If leaving elite closer Roberto Osuna off the All-Star team wasn’t bad enough, so too was the omission of Minnesota fireman Brandon Kintzler. A closer now for two seasons with the Twins, after six campaigns as a set-up man in Milwaukee, Kintzler has had a direct impact on Minnesota’s efforts to stay in the AL wild card hunt. He is tied for the AL saves lead with Craig Kimbrel with 23 and has blown just three opportunities. Kintzler also sports a tidy 2.35 ERA and has 24 Ks in 38.1 innings pitched. Included in his saves have been three each against division rivals Cleveland and Kansas City, as well as saves against contenders like Boston, Baltimore and Colorado. Good enough to merit his first All-Star appearance, in our estimation.
2. Alex Wood, SP – Los Angeles Dodgers
How does a perfect record not even get Alex Wood a shot at being on the NL All-Star pitching staff? The five-year veteran became just the fifth pitcher in Dodgers’ history to start a season 10-0, beating Arizona 1-0 on Wednesday. He limited the Dodgers chief rivals to just three hits over seven innings, while striking out 10 for the third time this season. He, along with the 13-2 Clayton Kershaw, have been key to the Dodgers keeping the Diamondbacks at bay and in first place in the NL West with a sterling 58-29 record (5.5 games up on Arizona). What makes Wood’s incredible campaign even more astounding is the fact he has 10 wins, in just 13 starts. Wood has also recorded the lowest ERA among all NL starters at 1.67 and the second best WHIP at 0.89, tying him with Kershaw. A huge, huge snub.
1. Ben Gamel, OF – Seattle Mariners
Here, folks is the biggest snub perpetrated for the 2017 mid-summer classic. Rookie Ben Gamel of the Mariners, who started the season in AAA, has been on a tear ever since. He currently sits sixth in all of baseball with a .329 average and has 16 doubles, two triples, four home runs and 28 RBI in 63 games since being called up in late April. He went 0-fer in his first game, then promptly had back-to-back multi-hit games against Detroit and Cleveland to get the ball rolling. Overall, he has 26 two or more hit efforts this season, including two games where he was 4-for-5. His last one was on June 30 against division rival Los Angeles Angels, where he cranked out four singles, scored two runs and drove in two during a 10-0 win. He has a shot at winning the AL batting crown, which would be sweet revenge for the snub.