MLB All-Star rosters: Ranking every team’s biggest snub

The All-Star Game rosters are now official, and there’s inevitably going to be as much talk about the players who should have made the team as the ones who actually did. 

Now, while the fan-elected starters were announced last Wednesday and the full rosters were revealed Sunday, that doesn’t mean the rosters are fully set. More players will have an opportunity to make the team as injury replacements, and some pitchers will certainly bow out as next Tuesday’s game (8 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app) draws nearer. 

Some reminders worth noting as you wave your fist angrily toward the sky: 

  1. Fans voted for the starting position players for each league.
  2. Pitchers and reserves were picked through a mix of player ballots and commissioner’s office selections.
  3. Only 20 position players and 12 pitchers make each roster.
  4. Every club needed to be represented.

For now, though, this is every team’s biggest snub, starting from 30 and counting down to the most glaring omission. 

One and done

30: Miami Marlins: OF Jazz Chisholm Jr 
29: Colorado Rockies: OF Brenton Doyle
28: Tampa Bay Rays: SP Taj Bradley 
27: Toronto Blue Jays: SP Chris Bassitt
26: Cincinnati Reds: 2B Jonathan India 
25: Chicago Cubs: 1B Michael Busch 

Based on the lack of star power on these struggling clubs, they seemed bound to only get one player into the game. That’s not to take anything away from these snubs, who’ve all been among the best players on their respective teams and have an All-Star case (in addition to the Reds’ Hunter Greene and the Rockies’ Ezequiel Tovar and reigning All-Star Game MVP Elias Díaz), but there were simply more deserving candidates at their respective positions. 

Wasn’t likely

24: San Diego Padres: SP Dylan Cease
23: Cleveland Guardians: RP Hunter Gaddis 

Both Cease, who ranks second in the National League in strikeouts, and Gaddis, who ranks second in fWAR and WHIP, third in ERA and fifth in strikeout-to-walk ratio among all qualified American League relievers, have an argument to make the team as well as forces working against them. Cease sports an ERA over 4.00, while Gaddis has been overshadowed in Cleveland’s superb bullpen by All-Star closer Emmanuel Clase. Unfortunately for Gaddis, the AL players didn’t do for him what his NL counterparts did in voting Philadelphia non-closing relievers Matt Strahm and Jeff Hoffman into the All-Star Game. 

Arms race

22: Pittsburgh Pirates: SP Mitch Keller
21: Atlanta Braves: SP Max Fried
20: Los Angeles Dodgers: SP Gavin Stone  
19: Kansas City Royals: SP Brady Singer 
18. Chicago White Sox: SP Erick Fedde 
17: New York Yankees: SP Luis Gil 
16: St. Louis Cardinals: SP Sonny Gray 
15: Detroit Tigers: SP Jack Flaherty 

Naturally, there will always be more All-Star worthy pitchers than spots available on the team. Any of these eight standouts could end up in Arlington as injury replacements after missing the initial cut. Stone has stepped up as one of the most consistent members of the Dodgers’ rotation with a 2.46 ERA (and one shutout) over his past 14 starts. Fried has a 2.54 mark over his past 10 starts. Singer’s one of eight qualified AL starters with an ERA under 3.00 (six of the others are All-Stars). Gil has the lowest batting average against among all qualified MLB starters. Fedde ranks above his All-Star teammate Garrett Crochet — and top four among all MLB pitchers — in bWAR. Masyn Winn could have earned the nod on this list for St. Louis, but Gray ranks in the top five among qualified starters in strikeout rate and K/BB ratio; Flaherty, meanwhile, is in the top three in both categories in a bounce-back season in Detroit. 

Closing case

14: Boston Red Sox: RP Kenley Jansen
13: Seattle Mariners: RP Andres Muñoz 

Considering Jansen and Muñoz both have a better ERA, WHIP and strikeout rate than Yankees closer Clay Holmes, who made it in as an MLB selection, they both have an argument to be pitching in Arlington. Outfielder Tyler O’Neill (.871 OPS) and starter George Kirby, who has the best K/BB ratio among all qualified MLB starters, could also make strong cases to be reps in Boston and Seattle, respectively. 

The hosts

12: Texas Rangers: SS Corey Seager 

It makes sense that the All-Star hosts would get some added consideration. Given the struggles of the reigning champs, however, it also makes sense that they don’t have more than two All-Stars. Still, the fact that their second All-Star was Marcus Semien — who has been a below league-average hitter this year — and not Seager, who leads the team in slugging and homers and is among the most recognizable stars on the team, or Josh Smith, who leads the team in average and OPS and has been not only an essential defensive piece but also the most valuable offensive player on the team this year, is a surprise.

Strong arguments

11: Oakland Athletics: DH Brent Rooker 
10: Los Angeles Angels: C Logan O’Hoppe 
9: San Francisco Giants: C Patrick Bailey 
8: Minnesota Twins: UTIL Willi Castro 

Yordan Álvarez deserved the AL starting spot at DH, but Rooker had an argument over Cleveland’s David Fry. If you like rate stats, you might favor Fry. If you like counting stats, it should be Rooker, who has also been worth more WAR this season. I thought O’Hoppe and Bailey were both the most deserving players to be the All-Star representative for their respective teams as third catchers. The Twins’ Joe Ryan is also worthy of All-Star consideration, but Castro’s extraordinary defensive work at five different positions this year while registering a 130 wRC+ makes him Minnesota’s most deserving All-Star candidate. He probably gets dinged by playing so many spots, but according to FanGraphs he has been worth as many wins this year as All-Stars José Ramírez, Rafael Devers and Adley Rutschman.

Next starters up?

7. Philadelphia Phillies: SP Cristopher Sánchez
6: Washington Nationals: SP Jake Irvin 
5. Houston Astros: SP Ronel Blanco 

In a rotation with All-Stars Zack Wheeler and Ranger Suárez, it is Sánchez, the best ground-ball pitcher in baseball this year, who leads the Phillies in fWAR. The Nationals had a handful of All-Star snubs — Jesse Winker and Kyle Finnegan among them — but Irvin gets the nod as his team’s biggest omission with a sparkling 2.80 ERA that ranks fifth among all qualified NL starters. Blanco has been even better with a 2.53 ERA that ranks fifth among all qualified MLB starters. He has been the clear-cut best pitcher in Houston’s rotation in the first half, like we definitely all saw coming!

The biggest snubs

4: Milwaukee Brewers: 2B Brice Turang 

I feel for Brewers fans, who deserve more than two reps in the game. Joey Ortiz and Willy Adames both have arguments. Relievers Trevor Megill and Bryan Hudson have even stronger ones. But the strongest case on the team belongs to Turang, who has hit above league average, stolen 28 bases, played solid defense and should be the NL’s backup second baseman. (I would have had Turang over both Luis Arráez, who was a player’s choice, and Pete Alonso, an MLB selection.)

3: Arizona Diamondbacks: 1B Christian Walker 

Bryce Harper and Freddie Freeman were always going to be the top two first basemen in the NL. But after going bonkers at Dodger Stadium, I’m not sure how Walker, who has more homers and RBIs than any NL first baseman and is arguably the best defensive player at his position, can be left off the roster. I recognize the Mets needed a rep (I would have made it someone else; read on for more on that), but it’s especially stunning considering Alonso, who trails the Arizona first baseman in almost every offensive category, made it over him as an MLB selection. 

2: Baltimore Orioles: 3B Jordan Westburg

Which of these players should be an All-Star? 

Player A: .229/.295/.378, 83 H, 12 HR, 57 R, 47 RBI, 1.9 fWAR 
Player B: .281/.328/.506, 90 H, 14 HR, 45 R, 49 RBI, 2.8 fWAR 

A is Semien. B is Westburg. This isn’t meant to pile on Semien, who was voted in by players, but rather to highlight how unjustified it feels to leave Westburg off the roster entirely. If he were playing in the NL, he’d have a strong argument to be starting at his position. Instead, he’s not an All-Star at all. The stacked group of AL third basemen — and Tampa Bay’s need to have a rep — ultimately doomed him, despite the fact that Westburg spends about a third of his time at second base. Just play him there! There’s no world in which the Orioles should have only three reps. 

1: New York Mets: OF Brandon Nimmo 

I’m shocked that neither Nimmo nor Francisco Lindor made it in for the Mets, though at least NL shortstop was a highly competitive field. There’s a strong argument to be made that Nimmo, who ranks second in fWAR and third in wRC+ among all qualified NL outfielders, should not only have made the cut but deserves to be starting in the NL outfield. 

Rowan Kavner is an MLB writer for FOX Sports. He previously covered the L.A. Dodgers, LA Clippers and Dallas Cowboys. An LSU grad, Rowan was born in California, grew up in Texas, then moved back to the West Coast in 2014. Follow him on Twitter at @RowanKavner.

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