By: Noah Wright
If you haven’t heard yet, the MLB has announced the finalists for the All-star balloting. As per usual, there are a ton of players that are on the ballot that are undeserving, but only in consideration because of popularity (I’m looking at you Almora and Judge). Here are the finalists for the final ballot:
(AL first, NL second):
C: Robinson Chirinos (HOU), Gary Sanchez (NYY), James McCann (CHW), Wilson Contreas (CHC), Brian McCann (ATL), Yasmani Grandal (MIL),
1B: Luke Voit (NYY), C.J. Cron (MIN), Carlos Santana (CLE), Josh Bell (PIT), Anthony Rizzo (CHC), Freddie Freeman (ATL)
2B: D.J. LeMahieu (NYY), Jose Altuve (HOU), Tommy La Stella (LAA), Mike Moustakas (MIL), Ozzie Albies (ATL), Ketel Marte (ARI)
3B: Hunter Dozier (KCR), Alex Bregman (HOU), Gio Urshela (NYY), Nolan Renado (COL), Kris Bryant (CHC), Josh Donaldson (ATL)
SS: Gleyber Torres (NYY), Carlos Correa, Jorge Polanco (MIN), Javier Baez (CHC), Dansby Swanson (ATL), Trevor Story (COL)
OF: Mookie Betts (OF), George Springer (HOU), Mike Trout (LAA), Michael Brantley (HOU), Aaron Judge (NYY), Austin Meadows (TBR), Josh Reddick (HOU), Eddie Rosario (MIN), Joey Gallo (TEX), Cody Bellinger (LAD), Christian Yelich (MIL), Ronald Acuna Jr. (ATL), Albert Almora Jr. (CHC), Jason Heyward (CHC), Nick Markakis (ATL), Joc Pederson (LAD), Kyle Schwarber (CHC), Charlie Blackmon (COL).
Don’t think you’re the only one looking at this list of players and thing “huh, they absolutely don’t deserve near the all-star game”. I’m here to look at some of the least deserving players on this list of finalists, and tell you who should have went over them.
- AL Secondbase:
Finalist: Jose Altuve
I’m not meaning to hate or anything on Altuve, but he’s just not having an all-star season. Not only has he been plagued by injuries, but he’s also been pretty lackluster at the plate when he is healthy. A .248/.331/.459 line and a 110 OPS+ isn’t necessarily bad per say, but it's definitely not all-star level. Plus his defense has seen a bit of a dip. He has -4 DRS, -.14 UZR, and a -.2 dWAR.
Who Should Take His Place: Brandon Lowe:
It was hard to choose Lowe over Whit Merrifield, but Lowe is having the better season, just by a little bit. Currently, Lowe is batting a strong .283/.339/.538 through 274 plate appearances. Plus with Lowe’s good defense at second (3 DRS, .6 UZR, .4 dWAR), Lowe should have been a finalist, over any of the other finalists.
Other notable options for finalist: Whit Merrifield
The Finalist: Dansby Swanson:
Now Swanson isn’t having a bad season per say, but it’s really a matter of a few players have done better than him at short. Swanson is currently batting a solid .260/.325/.462 through 324 plate appearances. After having a gold glove level season in 2018, Swanson has just -1 DRS, -3.9 UZR, and .1 dWAR.
Who Should Take His Place: Paul DeJong:
DeJong has probably been the second best shortstop in the NL. Through 322 PA’s, DeJong has a strong .272/.363/.487 batting line, 13 long balls, and a 124 OPS+. Unlike Swanson, DeJong has been a top defensive SS as well this year. He has 8 DRS, 5.7 UZR, and an elite 1.1 dWAR.
Other notable options for finalists: Corey Seager (Pre-injury)
The Finalist: Gio Urshela:
I don’t hate the Yankees, but let's be honest. Some of their all-stars don’t deserve to be on this list, and Gio Urshela is one of them. Urshela isn’t having a bad season evident by his .307/.360/.455 batting line 5 home runs, and solid 116 OPS+ through 211 PA’s. Although his defense has been lackluster with -4 DRS, -.3 UZR and -.2 dWAR. However, there are plenty of other better options.
Who Should Take His Place: Matt Chapman:
It was hard to choose here, since Chappy and Yoan Moncada have nearly identical stats, literally. They have the exact same OPB, and slugging percentage. However I decided to give Chapman the defensive edge. Chapman is batting a strong .265/.351/.519 with a 134 OPS+ through 333 PA’s. Plus he has 17 long balls to go with it. Defensively, he’s been what you’d expect. 8 DRS, 4.9 UZR, and 1.0 dWAR.
Other notable options: Moncada, Rafael Devers, Yandy Diaz
The Finalist: Albert Almora:
While Schwarber nor Heyward on the Cubs are all-star material, they’re at least having OK 2019 seasons. But there is no way that Almora should be even near an all-star ballot, let alone a finalist. Through 223 plate appearances, Almora is batting a weak .251/.292/.406. That’s a sub .700 OPS. His OPS+ of 78 makes it look even worse. Sure he’s a decent center fielder with 4 DRS, 3.6 UZR and a .5 dWAR, but it's not like he’s been elite in the outfield.
Who Should Take His Place: Hunter Renfroe:
Padres corner outfielder Hunter Renfroe is having a fantastic 2019. He has already blasted 23 home runs, and has a .626 slugging. Overall, he has a .251/.310/.626 line through 239 plate appearances, with an OPS+ of 143. His defense is also fairly good with 7 DRS between LF and RF, 4.2 UZR, and a .3 dWAR. It was hard to put Renfroe here, because let's take a look at all the other more deserving candidates.
Other notable options: Juan Soto, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, David Peralta, Franmil Reyes, Marcell Ozuna, Ian Desmond, Adam Jones, Jesse Winker, Bryce Harper, Alex Verdugo, Starling Marte, Adam Eaton, Bryan Reynolds, Nick Senzel
The Finalist: Aaron Judge:
Aaron Judge is a great player, and probably one of my top favorite non-Pirates players. The last 2 seasons have been great, but his health hasn’t been nearly as great. He’s been a 4 and a half tool player. He has great fielding (26 career DRS in RF), a very good arm, power, hits for a decent average, and isn’t slow. While he’s not Mike Trout fast, his 28.1 FT/SEC sprint speed is above average (average is 27.0). But with just only 93 plate appearances under his belt, he probably shouldn’t be a finalist.
Who Should Take His Place: Tommy Pham:
The former Cardinal now Ray has had an extremely under the radar season. Through 312 plate appearances, Pham has a .299/.405/.485 batting line, with a 138 OPS+. He has blasted 11 long balls this season as well. Like Judge, he is a fast base runner with a 28.5 FT/SEC sprint speed. The Rays primary LF is a plus defender to add on. He has 5 DRS, 2.8 UZR, and a .3 dWAR.
Other notable options: Trey Mancini, Domingo Santana, Avisail Garcia