Who is the MLB's biggest all-star snub?

BY DI STAFF | JULY 08, 2015 5:00 AM

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Jake Arrieta

Full disclosure: I love the Cubs more than most things on this planet. If you want to hold that against me, go ahead. But that Jake Arrieta won’t represent the National League is an absolute shame, and you’d be dead wrong if you think otherwise.

By rule, (because apparently this is tee-ball and everyone gets a participation trophy), every team in the MLB must have a representative in the Mid-Summer Classic. As a result, Shelby Miller — the Braves’ only All-Star — is headed to Cincinnati on July 14.

A maximum of nine starting pitchers will make it. Eight have punched tickets, and one of Johnny Cueto of the Reds, Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers, and Carlos Martinez of the Cardinals will go if he wins the fan-driven final vote (more on that later). To examine Arrieta’s case against every possible All-Star starting pitcher, let’s use WAR and xFIP, two of baseball’s best pitching metrics. Arrieta is tied for fourth in WAR and ranks second in xFIP.

Miller, a righty, (Arrieta throws from the right side, too) ranks eighth in WAR and last in xFIP, according to Fangraphs.

Because of the one-player, every-team rule, (let’s have a game with rules like this decide home-field advantage in the World Series, right, Commissioner Manfred?) Kershaw, who ranks second in WAR and first in xFIP, got relegated to the final vote, or purgatory. There’s a chance the “Greatest Fans in Baseball” could send an undeserving Carlos Martinez (seventh in xFIP, last in WAR) to the Great American Ballpark and have two starting pitchers on the roster. If Martinez doesn’t make it, the Cardinals have the consolation prize of Wacha (for some reason), who ranks 11th in both xFIP and WAR.

I could go on and on, but I don’t want to bore you with details (do a Fangraphs custom report if you’re so inclined). But know this: Because of the rules in place, the All-Star Game doesn’t reward the best players in the league.

Does the league have its reasons? Sure. Does that make snubs like this OK? Not a chance.

— Danny Payne

Alex Rodriguez

Assuming that Clayton Kershaw gets voted in on the final ballot, Alex Rodriguez is the biggest all-star snub of 2015.

And yes, I hate myself for saying it.

But you can’t argue with the man’s production. After sitting out all of last season on a drug suspension, A-Rod has been one of the top designated hitters in the league.

The Yankees, like Rodriguez, have surprised everyone this season; they stand 1.5 games ahead of Baltimore for first place in the AL East. The 14-time All-Star has been as big of an offensive contributor for them as anyone.

He’s batting .284 with 16 home runs and 47 RBIs as a 39-year-old (40 quite soon). Not too shabby.

His power numbers may not stack up with the first basemen and designated hitters on the All-Star roster, but Rodriguez has the sixth-highest on-base percentage in the AL at .390.

That mark is higher than Albert Pujols, Nelson Cruz, and Yankee teammate Mark Teixeira — all of whom made the team.

But more important than any batting statistic is that the Yankees are winning when no one thought they would — and they are doing so with the three-time MVP Rodriguez at the heart of their lineup.

That A-Rod isn’t even a candidate for the final vote is atrocious, even though it may feel so, so right.

Call him a liar, cheater, prima donna — and you’re probably right. But he’s a 2015 All-Star in my book.

— Charlie Green

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