Major League Baseball announced the rosters for next week’s All-Star Game earlier in the week and, as usual, deserving players were snubbed. There was one major snub in particular in each league — Alex Rodriguez in the American League and defending Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw in the National League. Let’s take a closer look at the rosters and snubs.
Five of the eight players voted in as starters for the NL matched who I picked on my ballot, including OF Giancarlo Stanton, who has been replaced by Andrew McCutchen in the starting lineup due to injury an injury. I don’t really have any qualms with who won the votes in the NL. Although I voted for 3B Nolan Arenado, it’s good to see Todd Frazier get the nod at the position since the game is being played in his home ballpark. As far as the reserves go, 2B DJ LeMahieu is an interesting choice given he’s not a big-name player, but he’s hitting .298 with a few home runs so I wouldn’t call it an egregious selection. With the pitchers named to the roster, manager Bruce Bochy likely no matter who he picks to start the game, but I’m sticking with my vote for Max Scherzer from a couple weeks ago.
Now onto the controversy with Kershaw being left off the roster. He’s not having the best season of his career, but a 3.08 ERA and 147 strikeouts in 114 innings certainly speaks to him deserving a spot on the roster. And if LaMahieu isn’t a big name, Kershaw is definitely among the biggest names in baseball. If I had to pick a pitcher to to take off the roster to add Kershaw, it would be Madison Bumgarner. Other than his record — which is greatly affected by the rest of the team — his stats aren’t as good as Kershaw’s.
During the voting, it looked like there could be as many as seven Kansas City Royals in the starting lineup. In the end, only four made it and, thankfully, 2B Omar Infante was not one of them. Six of the nine starters match what I picked on my ballot, including 1B Miguel Cabrera, who is now on the DL and has been replaced in the lineup by Albert Pujols. Again, no real arguments with who got voted in, although I would’ve liked to have seen Stephen Vogt get he nod at catcher. I definitely think he deserves it based on his stats, so I’m glad he’s at least a reserve. On my ballot a couple weeks ago, I threw my support behind Chris Sale to get the start, but now I’m leaning more toward Dallas Keuchel. Sale’s strikeout numbers were what caused me to pick him initially, but looking at it again, I think Keuchel is having the better season and should get the start.
So, Brock Holt is an all-star but A-Rod isn’t. Holt is hitting .295 but doesn’t have much run production to show for it, with only 2 home runs and 21 RBI on the season. He is definitely who I would take off the roster to make room for A-Rod, who is hitting .284 with 16 home runs and 47 RBI after being suspended for all of last season. Clearly, his fellow players and manager Ned Yost decided they didn’t want to have him on the team. A-Rod’s not even one of the five candidates in the Final Vote for the AL.
The five final vote candidates in the NL are SP Johnny Cueto, RP Jeurys Familia, Kershaw, SP Carlos Martinez and SS Troy Tulowitzki. Not surprisingly, given what I said about Kershaw above, he is getting my vote here, and I think he’ll likely win the fan vote. On the AL side, the candidates are SS Xander Bogaerts, OF Yoenis Cespedes, 2B Brian Dozier, OF Brett Gardner and 3B Mike Moustakas. Bogaerts was my pick at shortstop on my ballot, but I’m going to go with Dozier given the options here. Of course, given how the original voting went, I expect Royals fans to support their man and get Moustakas voted in.