The 33-man MLB All-Star rosters have been officially announced in both leagues, which means the annual onslaught of snub pieces from baseball writers across America is also underway. A ton of names have been tossed out as obviously worthy candidates of spots on either the American League or National League rosters in the 85th edition of the MLB All-Star Game, but one player in particular serves to illustrate the very foundation of why the fan-voting system is flawed.
New York Yankees legend and future Hall-of-Famer Derek Jeter is not worthy of a spot on the 2014 AL All-Star team — at least not via numbers alone. Jeter is one of the best shortstops of all time, he’s one of the best all-around players of this generation and he’s easily one of the most beloved players of the past 50 years, especially in New York. But the 40-year-old shortstop hasn’t exactly dazzled to the point of being legitimately worthy of a starting spot on this year’s AL squad.
The contention of excluding Jeter from what will be his 14th and final All-Star Game appearance might seem outrageously ignorant to some, considering what he’s accomplished throughout his illustrious career, but it’s not foolish to state that other AL shortstops are indeed more deserving this time around.
Jeter’s numbers are predictably well below his career averages in 2014; he owns a .273 batting average with 12 extra-base hits and 23 RBIs in 308 at bats and his .651 OPS is the lowest figure of his career, excluding 2013, and fourth-worst among qualifying players at his position in the AL. His numbers are noticeably inefficient in comparison to the Kansas City Royals‘ Alcides Escobar, who leads all AL shortstops in doubles (24), stolen bases (21), batting average (.291) and OPS (.732).
Escobar is a seemingly unnamed All-Star snub. Alexei Ramirez of the Chicago White Sox is currently the only other shortstop listed on the AL roster, although that could change in the coming days. Escobar, a sixth-year player who has never earned All-Star honors, will perhaps someday receive the nod he deserves. It just won’t happen in interference of Jeter’s anointed placement as a baseball god with mediocre numbers. After all, the fans have spoken. They want Jeter.
As the countdown to retirement dwindles with each passing day, Jeter’s farewell tour becomes more prominent. Each day represents one fewer chance for Yankees manager Joe Girardi to slot his name in the No. 2 hole of the lineup card.
It’s unknown exactly to what extent Jeter is feeling the emotional pull of his final season in a big league uniform, and maybe that’s why there is absolute purpose in him suiting up for the Midsummer Classic. But baseball is a game that has always been dominated by numbers, and Jeter’s numbers just aren’t good enough for him to be considered an All-Star in 2014.