An All-Star examination of deserving standouts and overrated players
We’re going to do something a little bit different in this week’s Hot and Not column. We are going to use the “Hot” part of this list to discuss snubbed players who weren’t selected to the All-Star game and the “Not” part to discuss those players who did make the team but have no business playing in it. Let me start by telling you that personally, I don’t care much about the ASG. It’s an exhibition game and really nothing more or nothing less. I am unlikely to watch the game as I will be on vacation. The game no longer “means anything” and that’s a good thing, because if it did, then there are a few changes that would need to be made. First off, no more rule that every team must have a representative. Either a player is an All-Star or he is not. Second, shouldn’t the best players be on the field for the entire game? Why is Mike Trout heading for the airport after the third inning? There are other items I would change also, but I think you get my point.
- Blake Snell, Tampa Bay Rays: How does a starting pitcher with a 2.09 ERA and 1.03 WHIP, with 12 wins and 132 strikeouts in 116 IP not make the team? Snell hasn’t given up more than two earned runs in nine of his last 10 starts. Snell starts for the Rays, not exactly a team loaded with other All-Star players to select. This travesty of baseball justice will likely be resurrected later this week as several pitchers who were selected to the game won’t be able to participate because they will start Sunday, but it should have never come to that.
- Jesus Aguilar, Milwaukee Brewers: Somehow the National League home run leader doesn’t get to play either. Is it because he’s a first half wonder? He wasn’t even a regular starter for his own team to start the season. Should it matter? No, of course not. Maybe if he was only hitting HRs and not offering anything else I could understand it, but he’s also batting .302 with 64 RBI. Aguilar should be an addition to the NL and your Fantasy team if you can deal for him.
- Andrew Benintendi, Boston Red Sox: Benintendi is a stud. This is yet another player who isn’t just a first-half wonder, he is a legitimate star. Is there a better top of the order in MLB right now than Mookie Betts, Benintendi, and J.D. Martinez? I think not. Anyone who is trying to tell you differently just hasn’t been paying attention. I’d pay a pretty good price in just about any league for his services.
- Jean Segura, Seattle Mariners: Yes, shortstop is deep in the American League, so someone was going to have to be left out and Segura is unfortunately that player. Perhaps if he had more power he wouldn’t have been overlooked, but the Mariners and every Fantasy team will take his .329 AVG and 14 stolen bases, especially in this day and age where each is an extremely valuable commodity. Segura made it in on the final extra vote, but it shouldn’t have come to that.
- Charlie Morton, Houston Astros: Like Snell, Morton is a likely addition before the game Tuesday, so this problem should be solved, but why wasn’t he selected in the first place? Okay, we can’t have the entire Astros’ starting staff in the game, or can we? So many owners are also waiting for the other shoe to drop with Morton, for him to be the pitcher he was before the second half of last season, and not the ace he’s been since. I don’t have those doubts and I’ll take him on every one of my teams.
- Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals: How in anyone’s right mind does a player who is hitting .213 with 11 HRs and 35 RBI make the team? Well I know how, catcher really is desolate in the American League. Who else would you take over him? Gary Sanchez is out until after the ASB and didn’t deserve to make the team anyway. Evan Gattis may qualify at catcher but doesn’t play the position all that much anymore. Mike Zunino is also out due to injury. Jonathan Lucroy is having yet another sub-par season and there just isn’t anyone else. You have to keep Perez on your Fantasy team, but the AL should’ve found a way for Whit Merrifield or Mike Moustakas to have been the Royals’ representative.
- Joe Jimenez, Detroit Tigers: This one is a joke, right? Jimenez is not even considered the best reliever on the team, that’s Shane Greene. The list of relievers that are better than Greene in the AL is a long one to say the least. This is the lone representative coming through again. How is Nick Castellanos not that player? Jimenez only has value for Fantasy owners until Greene returns from the disabled list or is traded. The former should happen by this weekend or shortly thereafter, the latter possibly later this month.
- J. A. Happ, Toronto Blue Jays: I’m not sure why teams are talking about trading for his services. Happ is showing signs of wear and tear as the season progresses. His ERA is 4.44 and climbing as he has given up 20 earned runs in his last five starts. Morton and Snell must be mortified at his inclusion in the game. Let him be someone else’s problem.
- Mitch Moreland, Boston Red Sox: Moreland has a player on his own team who deserves this nod more than he does in Benintendi. He has nice numbers, a .285 AVG, 11 HRs, and 45 RBI, but are those numbers that scream out All-Star? No, wouldn’t Edwin Encarnacion and his 20 HRs and 62 RBI be a better choice? Or does the .226 AVG bother you here but it’s ok for Perez? That being said, I wouldn’t mind Moreland as my utility player or corner infielder on my Fantasy team.
- Felipe Vazquez, Pittsburgh Pirates: There is nothing wrong with Vazquez in Fantasy as he is a solid closer, but also not someone who should be an All-Star. Once again, we have the lone representative problem here. Then again, each team will designate a player that will only pitch in the event the game goes to extra innings. Perhaps Vazquez and Jimenez will be those players.
There will be no Hot/Not column next week as I will be away on assignment. Well, no I won’t, just a vacation, but I always wanted to say that. This column will be back in two weeks, enjoy the games.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz.
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