Nationals’ Josh Bell stands out as notable snub from MLB All-Star Game

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Josh Bell stands out as notable snub from MLB All-Star Game originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Eighty-one players were named to the MLB All-Star Game this year, a total that includes the two original rosters of 34 players as well as 13 replacements who will be filling in for those nursing injury or in need of some extra rest.

Not among those 81 players was Nationals slugger Josh Bell. The 29-year-old was left off the roster despite four first basemen making the team: Paul Goldschmidt, Pete Alonso, C.J. Cron and Freddie Freeman. Even after he missed out on the initial rosters, four replacement players were chosen ahead of him in Jake Cronenworth, Austin Riley, Garrett Cooper and Freeman.

Bell entered the All-Star Break hitting .311 with 13 home runs, 21 doubles and 50 RBIs in 93 games. His .895 OPS ranks first among qualified players that didn’t make the All-Star Game this season and advanced metrics such as wOBA (.385) and OPS+ (159) place him among the top 10 hitters in the sport this season.

“What he brings to our team, you can’t put value to that,” Nationals manager Davey Martinez said in June. “He’s unbelievable. Just his daily presence, the positivity he brings, the way he goes about his business, the stuff he does off the field, all that stuff. He’s a professional, but once again, having the year that he’s having on the field, he definitely deserves to be an All-Star.”

First base in the NL is one of MLB’s deepest positions and Bell was always going to face a tough path to the All-Star Game going up against the MVP candidate Goldschmidt, hometown star Freeman, the Rockies’ only logical representative Cron and league RBI leader Alonso. Cronenworth, Riley and Cooper all earned selections by rule as next players up the Player Ballots. Freeman was the final replacement named, making the team as an MLB selection.

Only seven players in Nationals history (2005 to present) have missed the All-Star Game and finished a full season with an OPS higher than Bell’s. Juan Soto leads them all with a .949 mark in 2019, the year he vaulted himself to superstardom. Just behind him are Nick Johnson (.948, 2006), Anthony Rendon (.937, 2017), Jayson Werth (.931, 2013) and Adam Dunn (.928, 2009).

With Soto serving as the Nationals' lone representative Tuesday, Washington snaps a nine-season streak — excluding 2020, when the game was cancelled — of sending multiple players to the All-Star Game. Even so, Bell remains the Nationals’ most consistent player to date. His reward for his strong play will likely end up coming in the form of a trade to a contender with Washington expected be a seller at the Aug. 2 deadline.