USA TODAY Sports examines the biggest snubs in baseball’s All-Star rosters:
Josh Donaldson, 3B, Athletics: No argument with the American League’s top two of Miguel Cabrera and Manny Machado, but there’s so little to choose in a four-deep position, the strongest in either league. Nobody epitomizes the “who are these guys” approach in Oakland more than Donaldson, whose on-base plus slugging (OPS) is more than 80 points higher than Machado’s.
Mark Melancon, RP, Pirates: He just might be the most effective reliever in the National League, regardless of role. Teammate Jason Grilli belongs on the squad for his ninth-inning work, but Melancon has allowed a .472 OPS this season, more than 30 points better than any other late-inning-guy in the NL.
Evan Longoria, 3B, Rays: Maybe he would have declined the appearance to rest the foot that has been a nuisance this year because of plantar fasciitis. Still, he’s not all that hobbled. If you like Donaldson, Longoria’s OPS is another five points higher.
Greg Holland, RP, Royals: How many relievers can you take? But he has 19 saves on a mediocre team, a 1.97 ERA and a strikeout rate of 14.9 per nine innings that’s second only to Aroldis Chapman’s. And, though we’ve almost created enough rules to end roster-stuffing by the manager, Jim Leyland still managed to find room for his Justin Verlander. Beyond Holland, it’s easy to make a case for almost another roster full of AL pitchers.
Ian Desmond, SS, Nationals: Yes, he’s on the ballot for the final spot. Good luck getting noticed in Puig-mania. You have to wonder, with seven outfielders plus the versatile Allen Craig on the NL roster, if there might have been a spot for Desmond if fans hadn’t gone for his teammate Bryce Harper. Desmond also is a victim of the rule requiring a player from every team, which put Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera on the NL team.
Shin-Soo Choo, OF, Reds: It’s a “what have you done for me lately” business, and the bulk of Choo’s stats were piled up early in the season. Still, he’s third in the majors with a .417 on-base percentage.
Starling Marte, OF, Pirates: What’s wrong with piling on Pittsburgh players? Something is creating the best record in the majors. Marte is the only NL player among the top 20 in the majors in offensive wins above replacement (WAR) who didn’t get picked.
Stephen Strasburg, P, Nationals: We’ve been reminded in recent Cy Young Award voting how overrated victories are. OK, then – Strasburg has a 4-6 record, but his 2.24 ERA is fourth in the majors, ahead of that of every All-Star except Clay Buchholz, Clayton Kershaw and Jeff Locke.
Matt Moore, P, Rays: Not ready to buy into that ignore-the-victories argument? OK, here’s your guy. His 11 wins are tied for second in the AL and he’s in the top 10 in hits per nine innings and strikeouts per inning.
Jose Iglesias, SS, Red Sox: Wouldn’t you at least consider a rookie with a .410 batting average and .987 OPS? No, those aren’t Yasiel Puig’s stats; they belong to Iglesias, who has played 13 more games than Puig. By the way, Puig is at .420 and 1.155.
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