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Evan Longoria, Stephen Strasburg lead All-Star snubs

Jul 6, 2013, 8:21 PM EDT

Evan Longoria AP

No matter how bloated the All-Star rosters get, it’s never hard to find imperfections. This year, two of the AL’s top 10 performers to date have been left off for no good reason. For some reason, manager Jim Leyland’s squad took three catchers and four second basemen, but just two from third base, which has been the league’s deepest position. That’s where our biggest snubs are found.

American League

Evan Longoria (3B Rays): Despite some recent foot troubles, Longoria has played in 84 games this year and posted the AL’s sixth-best OPS at .908. While they wouldn’t admit it, the Rays are probably happy that Longoria wasn’t chosen, since he’ll now have four days to rest his foot during the break. On merit, though, he was a clear choice. Even if the AL was only going to take two third basemen, he could have been picked over Baltimore’s Manny Machado.

Josh Donaldson (3B Athletics): Donaldson is right behind Longoria in seventh place in the AL in OPS, and he’s been the biggest bat on a surprisingly strong Oakland offense. Leyland should have simply taken all four third basemen — Miguel Cabrera, Longoria, Machado and Donaldson — and subtracted Salvador Perez and Ben Zobrist from the squad. Zobrist, while a valuable player, has an OPS nearly 200 points worse than Donaldson’s this season (.724 to .903).

Grant Balfour (RHP Athletics): How exciting of MLB to set it up so that the AL portion of the final vote is between a bunch of setup men (Joaquin Benoit, Steve Delabar, David Robertson, Tanner Scheppers and Koji Uehara). Balfour and his 40 consecutive saves (22 this year) couldn’t even crack that list. The A’s are a first-place team, yet they have just one All-Star in Bartolo Colon. Balfour, with his 1.82 ERA, was just as worthy as any other reliever in the league.

Howie Kendrick (2B Angels): It’s pretty stunning that the AL took four second basemen and still couldn’t find room for this guy. Kendrick is batting .317/.360/.473 with 10 homers so far. Maybe he didn’t deserve a spot over Jason Kipnis or Dustin Pedroia, but he should have been picked before Zobrist.

Coco Crisp (OF Athletics): For some reason, Leyland didn’t take a center fielder among his three outfield backups (Nelson Cruz, Alex Gordon and Torii Hunter). Maybe that means Mike Trout will play the whole game, starting in left and moving to center once Adam Jones departs. More likely it means that Hunter will finish the game in his old position. Better if the AL had just bumped him and taken Crisp, Jacoby Ellsbury or Brett Gardner as a backup center fielder instead.

Derek Holland (LHP Rangers): By Fangraphs WAR, Holland has been the AL’s best pitcher so far. The modest 6-4 record overshadows how good Holland has been with his 107/29 K/BB ratio and just seven homers allowed in 112 innings. He’s also been at his best recently, shutting out the Yankees and striking out 10 Mariners in his last two starts.

National League

Ian Desmond (SS Nationals): Desmond is one of the candidates to go via the final vote, and though he’ll almost certainly lose that spot to Yasiel Puig, he’ll make the squad if starting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki misses the game with his broken rib. Desmond has come on strong and is hitting .281/.324/.506 to date.

Stephen Strasburg (RHP Nationals): Maybe all that Matt Harvey hype has left Strasburg overlooked. Of course, Strasburg did serve a brief DL stint earlier this year, but he’s still made 16 starts, the same number as All-Star pick Jose Fernandez and one or two fewer than the rest of the field, and he ranks third in the NL in ERA at 2.24. That puts him ever so slightly ahead of both Harvey (2.27) and Adam Wainwright (2.36). All that said, it seems doubtful that the Nationals wanted him pitching in the All-Star Game anyway.

Hyun-Jin Ryu (LHP Dodgers): Bochy had no choice but to put Clayton Kershaw on the team, but he didn’t take any other Dodgers. That included bypassing Ryu, who just beat his Giants squad last night. Ryu is 7-3 with a 2.82 ERA in 17 starts this season. Madison Bumgarner, who was selected by Bochy, is 8-5 with a 3.08 ERA in 17 starts.

Mark Melancon (RHP Pirates): While the AL squad was all about taking the best relievers, regardless of roles, Bochy limited his relief picks to closers: Craig Kimbrel, Aroldis Chapman and Jason Grilli. Melancon, with a 0.87 ERA and a 44/4 K/BB ratio in 41 1/3 innings as a setup guy, has been better than any of them this season. The Cardinals’ Trevor Rosenthal and Dodgers’ Kenley Jansen also would have been better picks than the fringe starters if the goal is to win the game.

Yasiel Puig (OF Dodgers): I’ll mention Puig here, even though I’m OK with him not being chosen. It’s hard to argue that he’s a snub when he’s played just 30 major league games. Still, if the fans want to see him, then by all means, put him on the team. That’s what will happen after he was included on the Final Vote ballot today. No one stands any chance of beating him out.

  1. steelers88 - Jul 6, 2013 at 8:30 PM

    Umm…… Brandon Phillips made it. Didn’t he?

    • clankbot - Jul 6, 2013 at 8:34 PM

      yes. Baker is fuming because Bochy didn’t select him as the backup for himself.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jul 9, 2013 at 11:35 AM

        “Baker is fuming because Bochy didn’t select him as the backup for himself.”

        Col! Thanks Clank. I now have new material to harass my Redlegs loving buddies with.
        Please know I will give you credit…on occasion.

  2. proudlycanadian - Jul 6, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    As far as AL closers are concerned, they only need one and his name is not Balfour. Set up men such as Delabar and Robertson are much more valuable in late innings because they are accustomed to pitching with runners on base. Cecil was chosen because of his numbers and as a lefty he will be valuable in late innings.

    • hcf95688 - Jul 6, 2013 at 8:56 PM

      ATTN: proudlycanadian – your password got hacked. Look what some idiot wrote using your name.

      • proudlycanadian - Jul 6, 2013 at 9:15 PM

        Drat! Somebody thinks that Balfour should be on the team rather than Rivera.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jul 6, 2013 at 9:39 PM

      Well, now that’s getting into the debate about value as far as winning the game versus earning a spot. If it’s more about winning the game, then the smart thing to do would be to take two or three starters max and fill the rest of the spots with relievers. I do kind of like what the AL did to the mix this year, picking the three setup men. I think that probably had something to do with Leyland being handicapped by having just two reliable relievers in his pen and realizing just how difficult that can be.

      That said, I really don’t like the Cecil pick. The guy has been good for 40 innings of his entire career, and if I’m going to reward a late-inning lefty, I’d rather give the spot to someone who has actually been good for a while, like Downs or Thornton.

      • proudlycanadian - Jul 6, 2013 at 9:50 PM

        If the objective is to win the game and to get the World Series home field advantage, you go with the hot pitcher.

      • hittfamily - Jul 7, 2013 at 4:06 PM

        PC: Then don’t take Rivera. He got smoked by Adam Jones. Are you saying Alex Torres should be an All Star andMariano shouldn’t?

    • proudlycanadian - Jul 6, 2013 at 9:48 PM

      Balfour is good but the AL has better options. Lets look at the 4 relief pitchers who were selected. Mariano 1.39 ERA, 30k 6 BB 1.21 WHIP. Perkins 1.93 ERA 45K 7 BB .77 WHIP Nathan 1.43 ERA 39K 10 BB .80 WHIP Cecil 1.43 ERA, 50K 13BB .82 WHIP

      The pitchers in the run off list are Benoit 1.78 ERA, 44K 10BB 1.02 WHIP Delabar 1.58ERA 57K 22BB 1.25 WHIP Robertson 2.29 45K 12BB .99 WHIP Schleppers 1.48 ERA 29K 17 BB 1.05 WHIP Uehara 1.95ERA 52K 17BB 1.05 WHIP

      Balfour 1.82ERA 35K 13 BB 1.10 WHIP Balfour is good, but in a tough situation the other guys give the AL a better chance to get out of trouble.

  3. janknessgv - Jul 6, 2013 at 8:33 PM

    Phillips is the starting second basemen for the NL. What are you talking about?

  4. straightouttavtown - Jul 6, 2013 at 8:34 PM

    JJ Hardy as the starting SS? Are you kidding me? Even Jed Lowrie would had been a better pick. By the way, Brandon Phillips was voted in. Either way, I would pick Chase Utley or Matt Carpenter over Phillips or Scutaro any day. Agree with Longoria and Donaldson over Zobrist (who’s barely hitting his weight), and Machado, who is having a solid year but not mashing like Longo and Donaldson. And I would had picked Shin-soo Choo over McCutchen.

    • ezthinking - Jul 6, 2013 at 8:39 PM

      “Chase Utley or Matt Carpenter over Phillips”

      Don’t watch much baseball do ya?

      • straightouttavtown - Jul 6, 2013 at 8:43 PM

        Did you read Phillips’ stat? .742 OPS is nothing special. Utley’s OPS is .868. Carpenter’s is even higher. Now I don’t care how good Phillips’ glove is when his OPS lagged this far behind.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jul 6, 2013 at 10:07 PM

        Chase Utley has only played in 59 games, and is just hitting .282, with 30 RBI. Guys with that few games and that low of an avergae are not All Star game starters.

        I mean, can anyone think of soemthing as outrageous as that? Missed 30 games, sub .285, and sub 30 RBI’s… a All-Star starter?

      • nbjays - Jul 7, 2013 at 8:14 AM

        Mind you, he didn’t start the game last year, but here’s the line for Bryce Harper.
        63G / .282 BA / 8 HR / 28 RBI / .832 OPS

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Jul 7, 2013 at 1:21 PM

        @nb – yes, that was where I was going with it. Harpers numbers are worse this year, and he IS starting

      • terpfan76 - Jul 8, 2013 at 1:10 AM

        .274 .375 .549 .924 are worse numbers than last year? Those numbers are pretty damn good considering he missed almost a month and he’s only 20. Harper is going to be an all-star for years to come. I don’t think he should be a starter though.

  5. aarondommin - Jul 6, 2013 at 8:36 PM

    In one breath Mathew, you say that Leyland shouldn’t have worried about position and taken the deserving Longoria or Donaldson over Zobrist. Which I agree. Take the most deserving. Then, out of the other side of your mouth, you slight Leyland for taking only the one CF that was voted in (Jones).

    • dondada10 - Jul 6, 2013 at 9:06 PM

      2 third basemen vs. 4 second basemen. Probably should’ve been 3 and 3 considering how many AL third basemen are having strong seasons. We’re talking 0 centerfielders on the bench.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jul 6, 2013 at 9:31 PM

      It’s not as though I’m arguing that he should have taken just one guy from any other position. It only makes sense that one of the three backup outfielders should be a center fielder. Technically, they do have two center fielders in Trout and Jones, but both of those guys are starters and it’s not like anyone plays the entire game anymore.

  6. ezthinking - Jul 6, 2013 at 8:37 PM

    Umm, Phillips was voted in.

    So research, think, then post. Say the words, follow the mantra.

  7. straightouttavtown - Jul 6, 2013 at 8:41 PM

    Why is Justin Masterson in? Derek Holland isn’t the one who is robbed. John Lackey was robbed. So were AJ Burnett, Strasburg, Mike Leake, Shelby Miller, Ervin Santana, and Mat Latos, who all have a better case than Holland. Quite frankly, Verlander doesn’t deserve to be in it. Neither are Bumgarner and especially Masterson.

    • eightyraw - Jul 6, 2013 at 9:19 PM

      Holland has a better ERA- and FIP- than Miller, Latos, and Burnett. Holland has more RA9-Wins than Leake, Strasburg, and Lackey, despite a slightly higher ERA-. Ervin Santana has a marginal lead in RA9-Wins (3.1 to 3.0), but every single one trails Holland substantially in fWAR and FIP-. Please explain how all those aforementioned pitchers have a better case than Holland

    • hbdbrowns33 - Jul 6, 2013 at 10:00 PM

      Justin Masterson is in because he has ten wins and is the ONLY pitcher in baseball with 3 shutouts this season. He also is one of less than ten pitchers ever to do that before the all star break.

  8. steelers88 - Jul 6, 2013 at 8:43 PM

    I agree that Choo should have made it over Mccutchen. Choo is having a better than Cutch but I guess they wanted the face of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the all-star game representing the Pirates.

  9. sire2334 - Jul 6, 2013 at 8:43 PM

    Uhhh…Phillips is on the squad. Hey everybody else was saying it. I didn’t want to feel left out.

    Anyway, As a Nats fan I’m cool with Stras not making it. Going to be a tough road traking the Braves down. Need all of the arms possible.

  10. hbdbrowns33 - Jul 6, 2013 at 8:44 PM

    Having 2 reserve catchers and one of them not being Carlos Santana is awful. He’s cooled down since his hot start but besides his batting average almost all of his numbers are better than both of those guys.

  11. hcf95688 - Jul 6, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    Oakland got royally screwed.

    • dondada10 - Jul 6, 2013 at 9:08 PM

      At least their locker room didn’t overflow with shit.

    • indaburg - Jul 7, 2013 at 7:46 AM

      While I see what you’re saying–the All-Star game looks great on the resume, it can be worth money on the resume, and worst of all, some liitle kid A’s fan who actually gives a crap about this game is going to be disappointed–if I’m the A’s, I’m thrilled. Any team with post-season aspirations wants an opportunity to rest their players to prepare for the long second half, not schlep all over dog’s creation for Selig’s ill conceived exhibition game. I like the A’s. I’m glad they are resting.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jul 9, 2013 at 11:36 AM

        Go NL!

  12. Matthew Pouliot - Jul 6, 2013 at 9:26 PM

    Whoops. Probably should have went over the starter’s list one more time. Removed the Phillips “snub.”

    I guess that leaves Utley as the closest thing to a second base snub, but he’s played just 58 games.

  13. sleepyirv - Jul 6, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    It’s hard to get TOO upset about any of these except maybe Strasburg. There are some very good players here but missing the 3rd and 4th best 3rd baseman is not terrible. Even if they’re very talented fellows who could have just easily made the team as not.

  14. acdc84 - Jul 6, 2013 at 10:21 PM

    Giants fans are really good at stuffing the ballot box so I don’t know if Puig is a lock for the fan vote.

    If Puig does make it, will Bochy even play him? He seemed pretty set in his ways when he said Puig shouldn’t be considered for the team, and I can see him being stubborn and trying to prove his (questionable at best) point by keeping Puig on the bench and not giving the fans what they want.

  15. jayquintana - Jul 6, 2013 at 11:35 PM

    Of the Asian pitchers, I’d have gone with Kuroda before Darvish or Iwakuma.

  16. memphistigers311 - Jul 7, 2013 at 2:36 AM

    Hey idiots.. I guess 40/40 save opportunities IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Get off your name recognition high horse and go with ACTUAL ANALYTICAL STATS. Freaking morons. #Balfour and Donaldson robbed.

    • regulatedmilitia - Jul 7, 2013 at 12:37 PM

      whah-whah-whah-whah – my butt hurts.

  17. umjm13 - Jul 7, 2013 at 2:57 AM

    The reason he took 3 catchers is because Salvador Perez was voted in by the players– an element you repeatedly make clear you aren’t aware exists– and the Astros needed a representative but don’t really have any other options than Castro.

    It’s pretty amazing and/or pathetic that you have no clue what you’re even writing about.

    You can also bet he took Zobrist as a utility guy for the Rays rep because the Tigers were just in Tampa while Longoria was sidelined with his injury. The picks aren’t in a total stats bubble.

    • geoknows - Jul 7, 2013 at 10:54 AM

      This. Repeat after me: The players get a vote too.

      The fans vote in nine players. Most of the rest are voted in by the players. The manager actually selects very few – if I remember correctly, something like only four of the non-pitchers are selected by the manager. At that point, usually what he’s got to do is select players from teams that are not yet represented.

      • geoknows - Jul 7, 2013 at 11:20 AM

        Ok, found it. Leyland selected only three of the position players: Kipnis, Zobrist, and Castro. All three are their teams’ lone representatives. The rest are in by player vote.

  18. indaburg - Jul 7, 2013 at 7:37 AM

    As a Rays fan, I am THRILLED Longo was not selected. He needs to rest that plantar fascitis. I don’t consider this a snub at all. It was very thoughtful of Leyland to be thinking of Longo’s foot like that.

  19. rockthered1286 - Jul 7, 2013 at 7:47 AM

    I think it’s easier to find logic why Longoria should be in, not why Machado shouldn’t. Carrying 3 3B instead of 4 2B would’ve alleviated the issue but you cannot tell me Manny doesn’t deserve his spot.

  20. regulatedmilitia - Jul 7, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    If if Longoria was selected he wouldn’t play. Dude can barely run as it is today. Plantar Fasciitis.

  21. believeland1954 - Jul 7, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    Harper should man up and give his spot to Strausburg. This why the All Star games have become a joke. Stuff the ballot box and you’re an all star. Hopefully, you don’t see any teams paying a bonus to players that make the all star team.

  22. thebadguyswon - Jul 7, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    Strasburg is a very good pitcher, but not the all-time world-beater he was hyped up to be.

    That said, he definitely should have made the team.

    • terpfan76 - Jul 8, 2013 at 1:17 AM

      If he got any kind of run support, not counting today, he’d have 10+ wins and this would be a non issue. Such is life…

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