All-Star Game 2018: Blake Snell, Jed Lowrie among true roster snubs

2018 MLB All-Star Game rosters were announced Sunday afternoon, and largely featured the players we expected. While a handful more will make the team via the Final Vote, there a few players who were outright snubbed from the team, and will have to rely on scheduling quirks or injuries to other players to have any chance of making the team.

Below, we’ve highlighted the biggest snubs from Sunday’s announced rosters. We’re not talking about your favorite player who happens to be a borderline All-Star; these are guys whose quality of play and lack of named to the team make them true outliers.

With the catch-all way voting works, there aren’t a ton of deserving players who will actually get left off the roster. If you’re unfamiliar with the process here’s a refresher:

  • Fan voting accounts for the nine AL and eight NL position players that will start the game.

  • Players vote to add eight pitchers (five starters and three relievers) and one back-up player for each position.

  • All-Star managers then work with the other manager in his league to pick nine NL and eight AL players, will filling his league’s roster up to 33 players.

  • One additional player per league is voted on by fans through the Final Vote ballot of five players, which is compiled by the manager of each league’s team and the Commissioner’s Office, rounding the rosters out at 34.

However, after the initial 34 are selected, the Commissioner’s Office picks replacements for players who are injured, pitchers who started on the Sunday before the game, or others don’t intend to play for whatever reason.

Notably, many of the snubs are pitchers, which points to an issue within player voting rather than fan voting.

Tampa Bay Rays starter Blake Snell is the biggest snub of All-Star voting. (AP Photo).
Tampa Bay Rays starter Blake Snell is the biggest snub of All-Star voting. (AP Photo).

Blake Snell, SP, Tampa Bay Rays

Leading the league in ERA (2.09) with the second-most wins, Snell had a legitimate case to start the game, but wasn’t voted in. He’s striking out nearly 30 percent of batters and holding opponents to a .182 batting average. Lucky for him, his fellow top AL pitchers Justin Verlander and Trevor Bauer are scheduled to pitch the Sunday before the game, so Snell is as close to a lock as you can get for the Commissioner’s office to put him on the team. However, Yankees ace Luis Severino is more likely to start the game.

Rays teammate Chris Archer voiced his concern that players didn’t do Snell justice:

Jed Lowrie, 2B, Oakland Athletics

Lowrie is indisputably the second-best second baseman in the AL by a number of metrics, but by fWAR it’s not even close. He trails only starter Jose Altuve in the fWAR column, and is worth a full win above the next-best guy. He leads AL second basemen in RBIs and extra base hits, and is tied for the home run lead, and is second in OPS and second in WAR. He’s hitting .347 with RISP, and .394 with nine homers and 27 RBI from the 7th inning or later. Overall, the 34-year-old is has tied his career-high of 16 homers – an above-average amount of power coming from the position.

Adam Ottavino, P, Colorado Rockies

Not only is Ottavino having a standout in relation to the rest of the field, but personally, he’s having a breakout year of impressive proportions. After racking up a 5+ ERA in 63 appearances in 2017, he’s sporting a 1.79 ERA in 37 appearances in 2018. He’s striking out over 41 percent of batters, has .92 WHIP, and is holding his opponents to a .157 batting average.

The Rockies have three hitters on the roster, and Ottavino thinks they’re monopolizing the team’s space.

Andrelton Simmons, SS, Los Angeles Angels

Despite missing time with an ankle injury in June, Simmons has been his usual All-Star-worthy self – but wasn’t voted onto the team. The 28-year-old is slashing .312/.373/.442 and joins Francisco Lindor as the only MLB shortstop worth over 3.2 wins. He doesn’t really hit for power, but has arguably the best glove in baseball.

Simmons is on the Final Vote ballot, which means there’s still time to get him on the team.

Click here to participate in the Final Vote.

Los Angeles Angels’ Andrelton Simmons could still make the game. (AP Photo)
Los Angeles Angels’ Andrelton Simmons could still make the game. (AP Photo)

Ross Stripling, P, Los Angeles Dodgers

Stripling alone is much of the reason the Dodgers’ rotation was able to stay afloat while Clayton Kershaw missed so many weeks on the DL earlier this season. Through 13 starts (and 24 appearances total), he’s sporting a 2.22 ERA, is keeping the hone run rate down around one per nine innings, and is striking out over 28 percent of batters while inducing almost 50 percent ground balls. His ERA is good for second in the NL, behind only Jacob DeGrom, and he’s been worth 2.4 wins (6th in the NL).

As with Blake Snell, Stripling is highly likely to replace a starter on the team who is pitching Sunday. Conveniently, his manager Dave Roberts is also the All-Star Game manager, and made it all-but-final that this will happen:

Juan Soto, OF, Washington Nationals

Given that the struggling host Washington Nationals are sending Bryce Harper (batting .219) as their lone position player to the game, it would have been nice to see some recognition for the rookie Soto. The 19-year-old is batting .308 with eight homers and 26 RBI in 43 games. He’s also walking a whopping 16.1 percent of the time, leading to an OPS of .987.

Jesus Aguilar, 1B, Milwaukee Brewers

Another Final Vote candidate, Aguilar is batting .303 with 20 home runs and 59 RBI. He’s been worth 2.4 wins to his team, and is second among NL first basemen with a wRC+ of 153, which adjust a player’s Runs Created value to take into account external factors like ballpark or time period. He certainly appears the most qualified among Final Vote candidates, only to be rivaled by the Dodgers’ Max Muncy, who has hit for a significantly lower average.

Click here to participate in the Final Vote.

Jeremy Jeffress, P, Milwaukee Brewers

Jeffress is yet another NL pitcher to be left off the roster. He currently holds a 1.05 ERA (best in the NL) through 42 appearances, and is holding opponents to a .156 batting average. His WHIP is also down at .84. He likely was slighted by the fact that his bullpen-mate Josh Hader has been even better, and has 1.3 wins more to show for it.

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