Hello, folks, it’s finally time to enjoy some of our greatest faux outrage of the baseball season. The All-Star rosters have been revealed, so let’s decide which of your favorite players have been the victims of a vast conspiracy against specifically them. How insidious!
Before we dig in, let’s remember how the rosters are formed. The starting lineups are determined by an
absolutely flawed and easily exploited online vote done by fans of the game on MLB.com, and the reserves are determined by a combination of the team managers (the managers of the teams that won the AL and NL pennants last year, namely Ned Yost and Terry Collins) and a rule that dictates that every team must a representative on the roster. Remember that the league and those two managers exist to spite specifically your team of choice. Send them strongly worded letters. Bellyache until your belly can ache no more, then take some Tums and get right back at it.
With that in mind, here are the players.
Here are your 2016 American and National League All-Star rosters. pic.twitter.com/1prQkGxYEG— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) July 6, 2016
If you notice down at the bottom of each sheet, there’s a list of five players. They are the subjects of the Final Vote, which doesn’t dictate which players stay on The Island, but which of those players will head to San Diego. Let’s break this down by league.
The starting lineup is pretty much what was expected. You can quibble with Eric Hosmer over Miguel Cabrera and Manny Machado over Josh Donaldson, but any permutation of those is fine. There is technically a way to get both Machado and Donaldson in the lineup, but it involves sitting Xander Boegarts to play Machado at shortstop. Too many cooks and all that.
The Bradley-Trout-Betts outfield is the stuff that dreams are made of, and Salvador Perez and David Ortiz have easily been the best at their positions in the league. Jose Altuve is fun personified, and I love Robinson Cano as much as anybody, but Altuve is the right choice here.
As for pitching, let’s first take a moment to recognize that Steven Wright is an All-Star. Steven Wright is a 31-year-old knuckleballer who was pitching in the minor leagues at this time last year. Other notable additions include the still-suddenly-good Marco Estrada, the still-suddenly-good Will Harris, and a peak form of Danny Salazar. Usual suspects like Chris Sale, Cole Hamels, and Dellin Betances are also present. Brad Brach is this year’s winner of the Pat Neshek Commemorative Random Reliever All-Star Berth Award.
Notable omissions include Jose Quintana, who entered Tuesday’s action ranked fourth in WARP (which utilizes the more accurate DRA as part of its formula) in all of baseball. Sale is clearly the biggest name on the White Sox and ranks just ahead of Quintana in this statistic, but his name not being on the roster is rather startling. It’s possible that he’ll be added as pitchers bow out due to injury/outing recency and lack of ability to pitch in the game. Also missing is Quintana’s teammate Adam Eaton, who ranks 13th in position player WARP. Eaton didn’t even make the Final Vote roster. Sad!
There will also likely be a small kerfuffle over Carlos Correa’s absence, but AL shortstop is a position absolutely chock full of talent. Them’s the breaks.
First they came for the Royals players, and I said nothing, for I did not care about an arbitrary exhibition game. Then they came for the Cubs players, and, well ... you get the point.
The entire Cubs infield gets the nod to start the game, because Cubs fans are very excited about their mega-team and the rest of baseball is too. All four players are certainly very good, but Addison Russell isn’t close to being the best shortstop in the NL. That would be Corey Seager, who makes the team as a reserve. Brandon Crawford and Aledmys Diaz are also victims here, being passed over in favor of Trevor Story’s explosive entrance to the league on the Final Vote ballot.
There’s also an argument to be had for Daniel Murphy over Ben Zobrist, and either Wil Myers or Paul Goldschmidt over Anthony Rizzo. Fortunately, all of them made the team.
The outfield corps is very strong. Yoenis Cespedes absolutely deserves to start, and both Fowler and Harper have been great. Marcell Ozuna probably edges out Fowler ever so slightly, but it’s semantics at that point. However the great Pittsburgh duo of Gregory Polanco and Starling Marte have fallen victim to the every-team-gets-a-rep rule. Odubel Herrera is fine player, and a very fun one. He hasn’t been better than Polanco and Marte.
At least one pitcher, Clayton Kershaw, will need to be replaced on the roster. That could be Max Scherzer’s ticket onto the roster. Drew Pomeranz could also convert his shockingly strong season into an All-Star berth, because nothing makes sense and baseball exists to make us as confused as possible.
If you’re going to vote for someone in the Final Vote, go for Jake Lamb. He leads the National League in slugging percentage and got screwed by the existence of three exceptional third basemen (Kris Bryant, Nolan Arenado, Matt Carpenter) bludgeoning their way onto the roster. He is very, very good at baseball.
How badly did your favorite player get snubbed?
National Treasure and Greatest Baseball Player Ever Yadier Molina is not an All-Star. There will almost assuredly be justifiable rioting because of this.
On a more serious note, these rosters aren’t awful. It’s pleasant to see guys like Harris being recognized. Some of the weirder picks (Stephen Vogt?) are there only because of the representation rule. But that rule has also blessed us with the reality that Eduardo Nuñez is an All-Star. That’s certainly a world that I’m happy to live in.
There will be plenty of additions and subtractions in the coming days. Just know that when the 25th man on the roster of your favorite team is watching from his couch instead of playing, it’ll be because of those no-good stinking Cubs fans and the baseball Illuminati.
But know that Tony Phillips and his nearly 50 career WAR never made an All-Star team. So take all of this with a grain of salt, sit back, enjoy the game, and have a beverage. If you yell at the TV about whichever player you don’t like hitting into a double play in a spot in which your favorite player almost surely would have taken Noah Syndergaard deep, know that Gryffindor will lose 50 points.
Enjoy the game!