Skip to content

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Red Sox demote Daniel Nava to the minors

    Apr 23, 2014, 1:35 PM EDT

    ALCS - Detroit Tigers v Boston Red Sox - Game One Getty Images

    Daniel Nava is headed to the minors one season after hitting .303.

  2. Nick Franklin is making his first career start in the outfield

    Apr 23, 2014, 1:05 PM EDT

    Nick Franklin AP

    Nick Franklin is trying to find a way into the Mariners’ lineup.

  3. Would-be Astros closer Jesse Crain still isn’t throwing

    Apr 23, 2014, 12:16 PM EDT

    jesse crain getty Getty Images

    Jesse Crain hasn’t thrown a pitch in a game since June 29 and it doesn’t look like that will be changing any time soon.

  4. Are Kirk Gibson or Kevin Towers in trouble?

    Apr 23, 2014, 11:36 AM EDT

    Towers Gibson AP AP

    It’s been an awful start for the Snakes. Awful enough to get someone fired?

  5. Brewers prospect Johnny Hellweg likely needs Tommy John surgery

    Apr 23, 2014, 11:19 AM EDT

    Johnny Hellweg Getty Images

    Brewers pitching prospect Johnny Hellweg, who was acquired from the Angels as part of the Zack Greinke swap in July of 2012, has been diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament and is expected to undergo Tommy John elbow surgery.

  6. Hisashi Iwakuma nearing return to the Mariners

    Apr 23, 2014, 11:02 AM EDT

    Hisashi Iwakuma Reuters

    Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma was expected to begin a minor-league rehab assignment this week as he comes back from a spring training finger injury, but instead the team had him throw a 58-pitch simulated game yesterday.

  7. Wrigley Field — the most human park in baseball — turns 100-years-old

    Apr 23, 2014, 10:48 AM EDT

    Wrigley Field

    Fenway may be the site of more accomplishments, but it’s easier to see ourselves in Wrigley Field.

  8. Padres looking to trade catcher Nick Hundley

    Apr 23, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT

    Nick Hundley AP

    San Diego is looking to trade one-time starting catcher Nick Hundley.

  9. Great Moments in Instant Replay: Yunel Escobar strikes out on a 4-2 count

    Apr 23, 2014, 9:29 AM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 9.28.49 AM

    Not the best call by instant replay officials in the system’s brief history.

  10. Yasiel Puig’s experience inspires Florida lawmakers to pressure MLB on its Cuban player policy

    Apr 23, 2014, 9:08 AM EDT

    Yasiel Puig Getty Getty Images

    Right now, Cuban players have an incentive to avoid coming straight to the United States. That incentive should be eliminated.

  11. New York columnist clutches his pearls over Matt Harvey giving the finger in a picture

    Apr 23, 2014, 8:40 AM EDT

    Matt Harvey AP

    The columnist’s name is Anthony Rieber. And he apparently doesn’t get out much.

  12. And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

    Apr 23, 2014, 6:35 AM EDT

    Jose Fernandez Getty Images

    Pitching porn in Atlanta. Graphic, hard core pitching porn.

  13. Shane Victorino could be activated Wednesday

    Apr 22, 2014, 11:20 PM EDT

    shane victorino getty Getty Images

    CSNNewEngland.com’s Sean McAdam reports that outfielder Shane Victorino may be activated from the disabled list Wednesday if he makes it through his third minor league rehab game Tuesday night at Triple-A Pawtucket without experiencing any issues.

  14. Adam Wainwright leaves start with hyperextended knee

    Apr 22, 2014, 10:01 PM EDT

    adam wainwright getty Getty Images

    Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright landed awkwardly while trying to chase down a high-chopper off the bat of Chris Young in the seventh inning Tuesday at Citi Field and left the game with a hyperextended right knee.

  15. This is the fan who caught Albert Pujols’ 500th homer …

    Apr 22, 2014, 9:17 PM EDT

    pujols homer fan

    Angels fan Tim Sherrill, a resident of Ponoma, California and a member of the United States Air Force, caught Albert Pujols’ 500th career home run on Tuesday night in the nation’s capital …

  16. Albert Pujols becomes 26th member of 500 home run club

    Apr 22, 2014, 8:53 PM EDT

    pujols getty Getty Images

    Albert Pujols hit a three-run shot to left field off Nationals starter Taylor Jordan in the top of the first inning and then crushed a two-run bomb to deep left-center off Jordan in the top of the fifth for the 499th and 500th home runs of his 14-year major league career on Tuesday night in Washington, D.C.

  17. Manny Machado cleared to begin playing in rehab games

    Apr 22, 2014, 8:39 PM EDT

    manny machado getty Getty Images

    Manny Machado will soon be one phone call away from rejoining the Orioles’ active major league roster. According to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, the young third baseman has been cleared to embark on a minor league rehab assignment this Friday with the High-A Frederick Keys.

  18. VIDEO: Albert Pujols slugs 499th career home run

    Apr 22, 2014, 7:51 PM EDT

    albert pujols getty Getty Images

    Watch as Albert Pujols hits his 499th career home run Tuesday off Nationals starter Taylor Jordan …

  19. Matt Moore undergoes Tommy John surgery

    Apr 22, 2014, 7:07 PM EDT

    matt moore getty Getty Images

    Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune reports that Rays left-hander Matt Moore underwent Tommy John reconstructive surgery, as scheduled, Tuesday on his pitching elbow. The procedure was conducted by Dr. James Andrews and deemed a success.

  20. Vidal Nuno named Yankees’ new fifth starter

    Apr 22, 2014, 6:24 PM EDT

    vidal nuno getty Getty Images

    Ivan Nova was diagnosed Sunday with a partially-torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and is expected to undergo season-ending Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery. That leaves a big gap in the Yankees’ starting rotation — one that will be filled, at least initially, by left-hander Vidal Nuno.

Featured video

Harper vs. Trout? It's just the opening act
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. I. Davis (3925)
  2. M. Machado (2691)
  3. M. Minor (2689)
  4. D. Robertson (2679)
  5. K. Farnsworth (2588)
  1. M. Cuddyer (2507)
  2. G. Springer (2505)
  3. O. Taveras (2356)
  4. C. Kershaw (2336)
  5. J. Mejia (2326)