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. Tanner Roark dominates as Nationals clinch NL East

    Sep 16, 2014, 10:05 PM EDT

    tanner roark getty Getty Images

    Congratulations to the Washington Nationals, who’ve clinched their second NL East crown in three years.

  2. Rays’ retirement gifts for Derek Jeter: Don Zimmer jersey and a pinstriped 16-foot kayak

    Sep 16, 2014, 9:49 PM EDT

    jeter getty Getty Images

    Derek Jeter’s retirement tour continued on Tuesday night at Tropicana Field with another set of cool gifts. Along with a $16,000 check for his Turn 2 Foundation and a framed Don Zimmer jersey presented by the widow of the former Yankees bench coach, Jeter also got this custom 16-foot pinstriped kayak …

  3. Hanley Ramirez scratched Tuesday with elbow strain

    Sep 16, 2014, 9:04 PM EDT

    hanley ramirez getty Getty Images

    Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez has been scratched from Tuesday’s game against the Rockies due to an elbow strain. It’s not clear when he suffered the injury or how serious it might be.

  4. Juan Lagares leaves game with hyper-extended elbow

    Sep 16, 2014, 8:40 PM EDT

    Juan Lagares AP

    Lagares has dramatically out-performed expectations offensively this season, hitting .283 with four homers and a .706 OPS in 115 games, and his defense in center field has always been Gold Glove caliber.

  5. Rusney Castillo will make his Red Sox debut Wednesday

    Sep 16, 2014, 8:20 PM EDT

    rusney castillo ap AP

    Castillo played a total of 10 games in the minors, participating in the playoffs at three different levels while hitting a combined .297 with four doubles and two steals.

  6. Tony Gwynn Jr. batting leadoff for Phillies in San Diego

    Sep 16, 2014, 8:02 PM EDT

    tony gwnn jr. getty Getty Images

    Tony Gwynn Jr. is batting leadoff for the Phillies on Tuesday night in San Diego. It’ll be his first appearance in his hometown since the death of his Hall of Fame father.

  7. Matt Shoemaker diagnosed with mild oblique strain

    Sep 16, 2014, 7:37 PM EDT

    matt shoemaker getty Getty Images

    Angels right-hander Matt Shoemaker departed his sensational start Monday night against the Mariners after experiencing discomfort on the left side of his rib cage in the top of the eighth inning. He underwent an MRI on Tuesday and the diagnosis is in …

  8. Bryce Harper is back in the Nationals’ lineup after leaving game with lightheadedness

    Sep 16, 2014, 7:10 PM EDT

    Bryce Harper AP AP

    Nate Schierholtz, who replaced Harper mid-game Monday, will be on stand-by again with the Nationals able to clinch the NL East division title tonight.

  9. Nolan Arenado diagnosed with pneumonia

    Sep 16, 2014, 6:53 PM EDT

    nolan arenado getty Getty Images

    Rockies trainer Keith Dugger told Nick Groke of the Denver Post on Tuesday evening that third baseman Nolan Arenado has been diagnosed with pneumonia and is at home resting while Colorado continues a three-game series against the Dodgers.

  10. Shin-Soo Choo adds ankle surgery to elbow surgery

    Sep 16, 2014, 6:28 PM EDT

    Shin-Soo Choo AP AP

    Choo’s ankle apparently bothered him for most of the season, which helps explain why he hit just .242 with 13 homers and a .714 OPS in the first year of a seven-year, $130 million contract.

  11. Josh Hamilton returns to Angels’ lineup after sitting out 10 games with shoulder injury

    Sep 16, 2014, 6:11 PM EDT

    hamilton getty Getty Images

    Josh Hamilton is in the Angels’ starting lineup on Tuesday night against the Mariners for the first time in 10 games, batting sixth and serving as the club’s designated hitter. Hamilton had been sidelined since September 4 with a left shoulder injury.

  12. Mark Teixeira out with pain in surgically repaired wrist

    Sep 16, 2014, 5:47 PM EDT

    Mark Teixeira AP

    Teixeira initially played well after returning from an April disabled list stint, but he’s been a mess since the All-Star break while hitting .179 with 43 strikeouts in 42 games.

  13. Masahiro Tanaka to pitch on Sunday

    Sep 16, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    Masahiro Tanaka Getty Images

    In a real game. Not a simulation.

  14. Astros shut down George Springer for the season

    Sep 16, 2014, 5:17 PM EDT

    George Springer Getty Getty Images

    Springer followed up his slow start by homering 20 times in a 59-game span, but the 24-year-old outfielder last played on July 19.

  15. Bud Selig likes what he sees when he sees the Mets

    Sep 16, 2014, 5:07 PM EDT

    Selig 4

    And though he calls MLB a “social institution,” he’s content to punt to the courts when it suits his interests.

  16. The Blue Jays will make a qualifying offer to Melky Cabrera

    Sep 16, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    Melky Cabrera AP

    That should guarantee him around $15-16 million for 2015 should he accept it.

  17. Stephen Strasburg is in rarefied strikeout air

    Sep 16, 2014, 3:45 PM EDT

    Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals Getty Images

    Strasburg’s lack of lineup and bullpen support have kept his win-loss record from properly reflecting how well he’s pitched during the past two seasons with a 3.18 ERA and 421 strikeouts in 385 innings.

Featured video

Do the Angels have any weaknesses?
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. G. Stanton (3863)
  2. A. Rizzo (2656)
  3. B. Belt (2471)
  4. R. Castillo (2443)
  5. J. Hamilton (2291)
  1. A. Pujols (2188)
  2. C. Young (2142)
  3. B. Gardner (2062)
  4. H. Ryu (2051)
  5. E. Gattis (1937)