It has got to be hard job picking the reserve roster for an All-Star team. Managers must determine the difference between a player who consistently performs at a high level and one who is a flash in the pan.
Yaseil Puig presented this dilemma to National League manager Bruce Bochy. He dismissed Puig’s phenomenal numbers by saying he hasn’t performed at a high level for long enough. To Bochy’s credit he left the decision to the fans and included Puig in the final vote to fill the last NL reserve spot. Atlanta’s Freedie Freeman won the honor.
Jim Leyland had a hard choice when choosing his reserves based on the glut of talent at third base. Leyland choose to give the nod to first time all-star Edwin Encarnacion instead of the stalwart veteran Adrian Beltre. Leyland handled the controversy differently from Bochy. He chose all set-up men to be included in the final vote eliminating Beltre’s chances of being selected by a fan vote.
So starting with Adrian Beltre, here are the Top 5 MLB All-Star Game Snubs:
Adrian Beltre - Texas Rangers
The Texas Rangers third-sacker has 20 home runs, 53 RBI’s, an OPS of .904 and an average of .318. If third base wasn’t the deepest position in the American League he would be an All-Star for sure. You can make a strong argument for having Beltre instead of Encarnacion on the roster but Leyland went with the Blue Jay instead.
Howie Kendrick – Los Angeles Angels
Howie got screwed this year. He is batting .308 with 11 HR and 40 RBI’s. Kendrick is a much better choice than Ben Zobrist but the Rays needed a representative. Addtionally, Zobrist’s ability to play multiple positions is something that appeals to Jim Leyland when trying to assemble a team to win.
James Loney – Tampa Bay Rays
Loney is having a career season. His 9 HR, 43 RBI .315 batting average at the All-Star break is putting him on pace to set career high’s in each category. Not only that he has been one of the best hitters on the Tampa Bays Rays this season. Loney can also play multiple positions but was passed over in favor of versatile teammate Ben Zobrist.
Starling Marte – Pittsburg Pirates
Starling Marte is developing into a top-tier outfielder in the National League. He is only in his second year but his numbers do warrant All-Star consideration. His .289 average is a little low for an All-Star outfielder this year but he is second in the National League in stolen bases. He has got power too. 9 HR and 27 RBI are solid numbers for a top of the order hitter. But as deep as the AL is at third base the National League has similar issues in the outfield. Maybe he will have a better shot next year if he stays on his current development track.
Fransisco Liriano – Pittsburg Pirates
Liriano is the definition of an up and down player. But what he has done for the Pirates this year is nothing short of incredible. He has posted a 2.oo ERA to go with 9 wins. Certainly the former Twin has had his up and downs but based on his numbers this year he deserves to be a 2013 NL All-Star.