5 Rookies Who Should Have Made 2013 MLB All-Star Game Roster
5 MLB Rookies Who Got Snubbed for the All-Star Game
A year ago, the MLB All-Star Game experienced a revolution, as a record-breaking six rookies -- Bryce Harper, Mike Trout, Lance Lynn, Ryan Cook, Wade Miley and Yu Darvish -- were selected to play in the game. This year, things are much more similar to what they've been over the majority of the All-Star Game's history. While there are plenty of young players and first-time All-Stars selected, the only rookie to make the team was the Miami Marlins' Jose Fernandez. Even though he was definitely helped by the fact that the last-place Marlins are required to have a representative, Fernandez truly deserved the honor, as the 20-year-old has jumped from High-A ball to put up a 2.83 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and an incredible .194 BAA over his first 17 major league starts.
Even though the rosters were put together relatively fairly, there were certainly some rookies who put together a strong case to make the roster. In the National League, several more deserving players were undoubtedly made victims of bad fan voting. Bryce Harper, who missed more than a month and is hitting a pedestrian .274, and Brandon Phillips, who has 64 RBIs but is only hitting .265, were both selected by the fans when there were more deserving starters. As a result of bench spots being needed for the rightful starters, the players who are better than the fan-elected starters and should be filling the bench spots lose out.
While this is a far lesser rookie class as opposed to last year, there are several first-year players who deserved a spot and didn't get it for various reasons. We'll see if some of them get spots as players drop out in the coming days, but for now, here are the five most deserving rookies who were not named to the All-Star rosters.
5. Hyun-Jin Ryu, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Ryu has had a fine rookie year, and it wouldn't have been a bad move to include him on the All-Star team. He hasn't been overwhelming in any category and is more of a finesse pitcher, but he has a 7-3 record with a 2.82 ERA, good for 12th in the NL. Ryu has been more consistent than fellow lefty Madison Bumgarner, who made the squad, but he was hurt by the fact that National League manager Bruce Bochy manages Bumgarner. In addition, Bumgarner has been the ace of his staff, while Ryu is only the second-best lefty on his own team, behind Clayton Kershaw. Bochy will have to replace at least three starters who pitch on the Sunday before the All-Star Game, and though he should probably bolster his relief corps first, Ryu is a name that he can keep in mind as he searches for replacements.
4. Yasiel Puig, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
To be fair, Puig doesn't really belong on this list, because the MLB is undoubtedly going to find a way to stick him in the All-Star game, whether it's through the “final vote” that he will almost certainly win, or as an injury replacement. The other thing that's not really fair, though, is that Puig is going to make the All-Star Game ahead of some other worthy players, such as the Arizona Diamondbacks' Gerardo Parra, who have sustained great production for an entire season.
That being said, Puig is not a completely unworthy candidate. He has had one of the greatest debuts in the history of baseball, and the fact that he has kept up his torrid pace this long is truly amazing, particularly considering the fact that he jumped straight from Double-A and wasn't considered one of baseball's most elite prospects prior to his debut. A .409 average with eight homers over 127 at-bats is extremely impressive, but there are holes in his game. He's only walked five times thus far and strikes out in nearly a quarter of his at-bats. Puig has started out well, but it wouldn't be a complete travesty if he didn't make the team, contrary to what the media outlets drooling over him would like you to believe.
3. Trevor Rosenthal, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
Bochy decided not to take any middle relievers and in fact only took three closers, but if a slot opens up and he wants to fill it with a middle reliever, St. Louis Cardinals' Trevor Rosenthal would be the most worthy. He leads all NL relievers with a ridiculous 62 strikeouts in 42 innings pitched, and he is second only to the Pittsburgh Pirates' Mark Melancon in holds with 19. He's put up a 1.93 ERA, and though his fellow Cardinal Edward Mujica should probably be added to the team first, Rosenthal definitely deserves a spot on the All-Star team this year.
2. Marcell Ozuna, OF, Miami Marlins
Though it seems inappropriate on the surface to include multiple players from a team who was on pace to have one of the worst records in MLB history, Ozuna has been fantastic and actually is one of the more deserving outfielders in the National League. Since being recalled at the end of April, Ozuna is hitting .288 with three homers. More importantly, he's had some great clutch hits and has been a driving force behind the Marlins' resurgence over the past several weeks. While he is not nearly as well known as Yasiel Puig, he has had nearly twice the at-bats and is still hanging with the league-leading outfielders. If Bochy needs another outfielder, he should consider Ozuna to fill the spot.
1. Didi Gregorius, SS, Arizona Diamondbacks
With all due respect to Puig, Gregorius has been the National League's most consistently good rookie position player throughout the season. He's already one of the best fielding shortstops in all of major league baseball, and his hitting numbers have been very good as well. Gregorius is hitting .282 with four homers. His most impressive quality, however, is his plate discipline. He has a .348 OBP and has only struck out 37 times in 220 at-bats. Gregorius was a victim, first of all, of great shortstop play in the National League this year, but he was also hurt by Troy Tulowitzki being voted into the game despite being injured. If Tulowitzki does the right thing and bows out, or the NL should need to replace any other position player, Gregorius would be a fine choice as an injury replacement.