The Two Biggest NL Snubs from MLB’s All-Star Game
The MLB All-Star Game rosters were announced yesterday, and like every season, there were some eyebrow-raising selections and omissions.
The 2019 All-Star Game is set to feature four Los Angeles Dodgers, two Anaheim Angels, and one San Diego Padre, but an argument can be made that there should be more.
Guys like Hunter Renfroe, Manny Machado, Franmil Reyes, Alex Verdugo, and Justin Turner are having good seasons but are either lacking in some facets of their game, started slowly, or were victims of a loaded position. But they aren’t the players that were slighted.
Two, in particular, are having excellent seasons and may go down as the biggest National League snubs from the Midsummer Classic if they don’t make it in as injury replacements.
Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres
Season Stats: .337/.405/.613, 11 home runs, 12 stolen bases, 3.0 bWAR
If there were ever a poster child for a player getting penalized due to an injury, the Padres shortstop would be the perfect representative. A hamstring injury has limited him to 48 games this season, but that’s all the 20-year-old rookie has needed to make a name for himself and prove that he’s All-Star-worthy.
The National League representatives at the position are Javier Baez of the Chicago Cubs, Trevor Story from the Colorado Rockies, and Paul DeJong of the St. Louis Cardinals, and all have been good or great. But, a legitimate argument can be made that Tatis Jr. is not just better than the trio, but all shortstops in baseball.
According to FanGraphs, among all players with at least 200 plate appearances, Tatis Jr. is fifth in batting average, eighth in on-base and slugging percentage, and sixth in wRC+ and wOBA. Now, limit the pool to just shortstops across the sport? Tops in all.
Baez and Story are having strong seasons in their own right, and deserving of their candidacy. It’s with DeJong that things get a bit dicey.
The 25-year-old is hitting .262/.347/.462 with 13 home runs this season. Above-average numbers, but nothing that catches the eye, let alone matches up to Tatis Jr.
But, because of MLB’s mandate that every team must be represented at the Midsummer Classic, DeJong made it in as the Cardinals’ lone representative. It’s an absurd rule that has led to many snubs along the years, and something former MLB pitcher Phil Hughes wants to see gone.
Then there’s the added element of the joy Tatis Jr. brings on the field. There’s an energy that surrounds him because of the flair and aggressiveness he plays with. The pair of plays below represent the types of excitement the rookie carries with- something that is perfect for the All-Star Game.
Max Muncy, Los Angeles Dodgers
Season Stats: .279/.380/.544, 20 home runs, 3.5 bWAR
After breaking out in a big way during 2018, many wondered whether Max Muncy would be able to repeat his performance or if it was all just a mirage. Half a season in, and we’ve learned that he is legit.
The soon-to-be 29-year-old has crushed the baseball this season to the tune of a .924 OPS and 20 home runs. Per Baseball-Reference, his 3.5 WAR ranks fourth in the National League, and second among infielders (behind Pete Alonso), cementing himself as one of the best offensive players in the game.
However, his exclusion is more of a disappointment than snub because the NL’s first base position is loaded. So loaded that Anthony Rizzo and Rhys Hoskins were also left off the roster because it’s just hard to justify excluding any one of Pete Alonso, Josh Bell, or Freddie Freeman.
However, one can make a compelling argument that the infielder is a more worthy candidate than either Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Mike Moustakas or Rockies outfielder David Dahl, particularly the latter, who has been helped tremendously by the ‘Coors Field Effect.’
And although Dahl plays in the outfield, there is no limit or minimum at a particular position for the All-Star Game reserves, making it rational to think that Muncy- who can play first, second, and third- should be there instead.
On top of that, it’s crazy to think that the team with the best record in Major League Baseball has just one position player representative. And it’s just as absurd to think that a player who has been an essential part of this particular offense is missing out.
“He’s an All-Star,” manager Dave Roberts told the LA Times’, Jorge Castillo. “Any way you slice it.”
The 2019 All-Star Game, presented by Mastercard will be held at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio on July 9 at 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX. If you are interested to learn more about us and receive more content, click here!