Let me start by saying I am 100% in favor of getting rid of the rule that each team has to have a representative.
For starters, if you’re going to make this game count towards home-field advantage in the World Series the teams should be built with the best players that will give you the best shot at winning AND performed well during the first-half of the baseball season. If that means taking some of the power out of the fans hands then so be it, but something has to be done to make sure stars (deservedly) make the team.
But instead of just rambling off lists of names that could (and should) have made this year’s Midsummer Classic I’m going to rant about someone who in my mind is a no-brainer of a selection in 2014.
How can anyone picking a collective group of the best players in the league and think this guy shouldn’t make the squad? Not only is he the best pitcher on the best team in Major League Baseball (no offense to Scott Kazmir), but his performance this season has been outstanding. On Sunday Gray won his 10th game of the season (10-3) and he sports an ERA of 2.79 and a WHIP of 1.186. He’s top-15 in strikeouts (108) and top-10 in ERA+ (134). He’s done everything an Ace of staff is supposed to do for a contending ball club, especially within the division where Gray has posted a 7-1 record with an 2.09 ERA and 47 strikeouts in eight games.
For me Gray’s omission is the product of a system (each team having a representative) that needs to be tweaked. Gray is one of the best pitchers in either league and that he won’t be in Minnesota is a shame. There is a history of silly omissions in All-Star history (remember when Chipper Jones didn’t make the All-Star game in 1999? The year he WON THE NL MVP AWARD) but few will be able to explain this to me.
Now I’ll start rambling off others who could have (and should have) made the rosters:
- Garrett Richards, Los Angeles Angels (10-2, 2.71 ERA, 119 K’s, 1.066 WHIP)- Really? Even after all the injury/starter replacements what did this guy have to do to get included on the AL roster?
- Coco Crisp, Oakland Athletics (7 HR, 16 SB, 47 Runs, .295 BA, .389 OBP, .843 OPS)- Undoubtedly one of the best seasons of his career, It’s pretty amazing to think he has yet to crack an All-Star roster.
- Lonnie Chisenhall, Cleveland Indians (9 HR, 39 RBI, .332 BA, .391 OBP, .924 OPS)- Tough to crack the roster at third in the American League but his numbers (particularly his OPS, OBP, and Batting Average) warranted strong consideration.
- George Springer, Houston Astros (18 HR, 48 RBI, .235 BA, .342 OBP, .807 OPS)- One of the best young players in baseball his average, no doubt, hurt him here. Once that Houston team grows up around him and Altuve (more on him individually soon) he should be a forced to reckon with.
- Evan Gattis, Atlanta Braves (16 HR, 39 RBI, .290 BA, .342 OBP, .900 OPS)- He’s outhit every catcher not named Jonathan Lucroy. An injury late hurt his chance at a roster spot but I still think he should have been named and given the honor regardless.
- Anthony Rendon, Washington Nationals (13 HR, 52 RBI, .284 BA, .340 OBP, .832 OPS)- Rendon should have been voted on over Ramirez (shame on you Nationals fans), then he should have been added over Matt Carpenter.
- Alfredo Simon, Cincinnati Reds (11-3, 2.78 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 67 K’s)- *Since Added As Replacement* Has been outstanding since the Reds took a flyer on him in their rotation.