Every year we must point out which All-Star-caliber players got left off of the actual roster. And every year it's a weird struggle to find out who the culprit was. We must scold ourselves, friends, for not voting, not making enough fake email addresses, for allowing the Kansas City Royals to exist, etc.
The fact is, even though we are the ones at fault, it's still frustrating to acknowledge that some of the "best players" -- or perhaps even the "brightest stars" -- of baseball will not attend the All-Star Game. However, so long as we have a public voting element to the All-Star Game, measurably "not great" players -- looking at you Salvador Perez -- will play in the mid-summer classic.
But first, some good news:
Way to go National League voters. I'd congratulate Bruce Bochy too but I don't think he needs any more congratulations. Heck, he could probably use an All-Star break off once in a while. Maybe he'll even just let Brian Sabean pick this year for fun... But wait, Tim Lincecum probably would have made it... Nevermind.
Now, the bad news:
The best player by fWAR this season not to get selected, Kiermaier's glove has virtually won the Tampa Bay Rays three games. That being said, his 100 wRC+ and .307 wOBA have been serviceable. It's really no wonder Kiermaier missed out on an All-Star Game spot. He doesn't have a whole bunch of appeal per se (but have you looked in his eyes? It's like the first time I listened to the Beatles). Furthermore, defense can excite us when the game matters but do fans really want to see doubles, triples and home runs get robbed at the All-Star game? That's an honest question, I have no idea how the average fan feels about those things.
If you ask me, Kevin Kiermaier deserves to be there. But you know, so does Mike Trout, I guess.
The seventh-best player by bWAR, Betts is the best player to miss out on the All-Star Game this season. Without a doubt, Betts has been yet another outstanding American League center fielder not named Mike Trout.
The case against Kevin Kiermaier is a lot more clear to me, even though I personally voted Kiermaier over Betts. But with Betts, even his stupid stats are good. He has 41 RBIs (I think I might be the first to actually go to Fangraphs and sort the leaderboard by RBIs) and his slash line is .283/.336/.463. With a better walk rate Betts would maybe actually make some people watch some Red Sox games, which brings us to the point. The Red Sox aren't playing very good baseball which helps to explain Betts' absence. That being said, it doesn't help that Brock Holt got picked as a reserve over him, though. I guess Ned Yost just has a better feel for #TWTW.
Michael Pineda is ninth by fWAR and eleventh by both K/9 and O-Swing%. Alright, he isn't the best pitcher by fWAR to miss the All-Star Game (that's Clay Buccholz) but remember when he struck out 16 players that one game? Good times.
One game doesn't an All-Star Game make you say? I saved the best part for you then, skeptic! He's fourth-best in park- and league-adjusted FIP. That's right. Pineda shares company with Scherzer, Sale and Kluber... but just not at the All-Star Game.
Roberto Osuna / A.J. Ramos / Cody Allen
This one might seem weird to some but hear me out. I sorted the above relievers by innings pitched, but they're all tied for 1.2 fWAR and by far the best relievers on their teams. Just because a reliever doesn't get saves doesn't mean he isn't the best reliever on a team. Congratulations to Ned Yost for realizing this and selecting Darren O'Day to the team. I mean, it's great that he brought Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis too and I'd hate to accuse an All-Star manager of bias but...
If we are lucky a grand total of one save will be awarded to a reliever. Why do managers insist on bringing closers with them to those games when it is becoming more and more apparent that the ninth-inning man is, in a lot of cases, not necessarily the best in the bullpen. I guess I understand the notoriety thing but we could do better. In the mean time, Osuna, Ramos, Allen: keep doing you.
All in all though, it's a pretty good looking group of players. Especially considering that the starting second baseman actually might have been Omar Infante there for a bit.
I get it, but the nearly-40 year old has a 149 wRC+ this season. And, even if you still hate him, he's been one of the most captivating storylines of the 2015 season.
Another casualty of the "my team sucks so nobody votes for me" plague. I honestly don't know who I'd rather see represent the Braves by probably not playing at all, Freeman or Miller...
Glorified platoon player has been the Brewers best player. I guess when you've got Paul Goldschmidt, Anthony Rizzo and Adrian Gonzalez on your roster, you're more interested in Francisco Rodriguez though.
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Michael Bradburn is a Featured Writer for Beyond the Box Score. You can follow him on Twitter at @mwbii. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org