When the rosters for Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game were revealed Sunday night, Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Chris Archer was left in utter disbelief.
And it wasn’t because he didn’t make the team.
Instead, Archer was baffled that teammate Blake Snell, the American League leader in ERA, wasn’t selected for the game. Snell, a 25-year-old southpaw in his third season, is 12-4 with a 2.09 ERA. He’s struck out 132 batters in 116 innings and has held opponents to a .183 batting average.
Yet, Snell didn’t make the cut. Even when the AL team needed to select a replacement for the Houston Astros’ Justin Verlander, who is expected to start the Sunday before the game and will therefore be ineligible, the Cleveland Indians’ Trevor Bauer instead got the nod.
Archer was so upset with the results that he took to social media to call on all involved in the All-Star voting process to do better.
American League ERA leader Blake Snell wasn’t named an All-Star, and Rays teammate @ChrisArcher22 is calling for everyone involved in the selection process to do a better job pic.twitter.com/3U2QfmQOlB
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) July 9, 2018
“Guys, I have an issue,” Archer began in a short video. “My teammate, my close friend, Blake Snell, was not a unanimous selection for the All-Star Game. That’s a joke. Something like that can’t happen.
“Now there’s a way that he can get in as an alternate or replacement or a backup, but he’s not that. He should be in the running to start the game.
“There’s no reason that this should happen. Players, coaches, managers — we have to do a better job with the selection process so we can put the best talent out on the field for the fans in the Midsummer Classic.”
Snell is perhaps the most notable of Sunday’s snubs, but he isn’t the only one. Here are four other players who should have been selected to the original roster for the July 17 event at Nationals Park in Washington.
4. Andrew Benintendi. So what if the Boston Red Sox already have five players on the AL roster? Benintendi could still make the trip to Washington as an AL Final Vote candidate — a list of five omitted players from each league, one of whom will be voted into each team by fans. He’s one hot streak away from being on pace for a 30/30 season. The 24-year-old outfielder is hitting .293 to go with 14 home runs and 16 stolen bases (in 17 attempts) after finishing his rookie season at 20/20. While AL All-Star starters Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez lead the way for the Red Sox’s offense, Benintendi is considered by many as having one of the brightest futures in baseball. Getting familiar with his name now on a national stage is a good idea.
3. Giancarlo Stanton. The reigning National League MVP isn’t yet putting up the same numbers he did last season, but who doesn’t want to see Stanton coming off the bench late in an All-Star Game against the best pitchers the NL has to offer? Now a member of the New York Yankees, Stanton has emerged from a deep slump in April to hit 10 of his 21 home runs since the start of June. Stanton is another Final Vote candidate in the AL, but a player of his caliber doesn’t have anything left to prove when it comes to justifying his stardom.
2. Trea Turner. Turner is an NL Final Vote candidate playing for the team that’s hosting the game, so it won’t be a surprise if he makes the roster after all. However, the 25-year-old Washington Nationals speedster is one of baseball’s best five-tool threats, as he’s on pace to finish with 20 home runs and 40 stolen bases this season. There’s so many ways Turner can impact a game — he homered twice and drove in eight runs in leading the Nationals back from a nine-run deficit to defeat the Miami Marlins last week — that he should be in the conversation for baseball’s most dynamic player.
1. Matt Chapman. Chapman doesn’t have the offensive numbers that scream All-Star, but his defense at third base stands out to the point that it begs to be seen on a national stage. The Oakland Athletics are an unheralded surprise at 50-40, and Chapman has been their most valuable player, as well as one of the best players in baseball, in terms of Wins Above Replacement (4.1). More than half of that value is comprised of his defensive WAR, which at 2.3 is far and away the best in the majors ahead of Texas Rangers outfielder Delino DeShields (1.8). As exciting as an All-Star Game home run is, the defensive play in the late innings that saves a run from scoring shouldn’t be discounted.
–Kyle Brasseur, Field Level Media