Friday Baseball Blogging: A Look Back at All-Star Misses
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.
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To contact the author on this story:
Jonathan Bernstein at firstname.lastname@example.org