Dellin Betances is a pretty good player but is he a star?

Friday Baseball Blogging: A Look Back at All-Star Misses

Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg View columnist. He taught political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DePauw University and wrote A Plain Blog About Politics.
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This is the wrong time of the season for writing about the All-Star Game, but it seems like a good point to check up on my previous complaint -- that the game's stars should be chosen, not the players having good starts to the season.

I made my argument by singling out several players who I thought had weak cases and, in the comments section, I identified three players who I thought should have made on the team.

Here they are:

  • Dellin Betances had 50 good innings of Major League ball by the time he was selected. He now has 70 good innings. The case for him is slightly stronger, I suppose.
  • Erick Aybar had a terrible July and then a normal-for-him August. He was, and remains, a fringe All-Star.
  • Michael Brantley is having a terrific season. He's cooled off somewhat, but he's an All-Star quality player. At his age, it's possible he's the real deal.
  • Charlie Blackmon has an on-base percentage of .287 and a slugging percentage of .337 over his last 40 games. He is an embarrassment as an All-Star.
  • Dee Gordon has been awful, at least with the bat, in the second half of the season. He may play his way out of a job. Is he an All-Star? No.
  • Josh Harrison, like Brantley, has cooled off a bit but is having a great season.
  • Todd Frazier has a .299 on-base percentage and a .335 slugging percentage. He's on par with Blackmon and Gordon as guys who are just barely justifying their playing time.

So, Brantley and Harrison earned their All-Star bids. Betances has maintained his performance but the rest ... they aren't stars now and they weren't in July either.

The three players I mentioned in comments as players who should have been selected were David Ortiz, Ryan Braun and Buster Posey (well, actually, someone else mentioned Posey, but I certainly agree -- even without my Giants bias). Two of them, Ortiz and Posey, have been excellent since the All-Star Game. Braun? Not so much. But, presumably, Braun's omission wasn't based on his play, anyway.

The real point isn't so much that Ortiz is currently a better player than, say, Blackmon (although that's certainly true). It's that if it turned out Ortiz was off to a weak start because he was washed up, he's still someone worth seeing in an All-Star Game. Watching the great older players with the younger ones is fun, even if not everyone is at the top of their game. Watching Blackmon, Aybar and Frazier isn't -- regardless of whether they were off to better starts in 2014.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.

To contact the author on this story:
Jonathan Bernstein at jbernstein62@bloomberg.net