MLB All-Star snubs at every position: Francisco Lindor, Luis Gil and more

Look, I know how these guys feel. Here at The Athletic, A handful of writers were chosen to wax poetic about the superstars who made this year’s All-Star team. And the rest of us were shut out, our rightful place on the list shamefully overlooked by a strange, overly convoluted selection process.

We are the snubs. And we are all in this together.

Here, then, is our non-All-Star All-Star team, the most worthy players at each position who did not hear their names called on Sunday night and who – at least thus far – were not selected for the midsummer classic.

Note: Starting position players are selected via fan vote, with players voting for eight pitchers plus one backup at each position. The league selects the final few players to complete the rosters so that each team has a representative.

Catcher

Patrick Bailey, San Francisco Giants

Neither league has a third catcher this season (and it's easy to argue that each league picked the right two guys behind the plate), but Bailey would have been a valuable addition (the league instead selected outfielder Heliot Ramos and ace Logan Webb to represent the Giants). Throwing and framing metrics have cemented Bailey as one of the best defensive catchers in baseball, and wRC+ essentially puts him right up there with Salvador Perez on offense. Bailey only made his debut last year. He's going to make an All-Star team at some point.

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First base

Christian Walker, Arizona Diamondbacks

A word of advice to anyone trying to make an All-Star team: Don't try to play in the same league, at the same position, as Bryce Harper and Freddie Freeman. Those two were selected to their eighth All-Star team this season. Walker has yet to make one. He has the third-most homers in the NL (behind All-Star DHs Shohei Ohtani and Marcell Ozuna), and he ranks 10th in the NL in wRC+ (but that's still behind both Harper and Freeman). Walker could still make the team if Harper's hamstring injury keeps him out of the All-Star Game, but the Phillies appear to be expecting Harper to return this week.

Second base

Brice Turang, Milwaukee Brewers

WAR isn’t a perfect metric, but it’s a handy shorthand for measuring a player’s overall impact. According to Baseball Reference’s version of WAR, Turang is the fourth-best player in the entire National League. The FanGraphs version isn’t quite as optimistic, but he still ranks 20th in the NL, which is 30 spots higher — and more than 1.5 WAR better — than NL backup second baseman Luis Arraez. Turang doesn’t have Arraez’s batting average, but he does have more power, more stolen bases, and much better defensive metrics. The players, however, chose Arraez.

Short stop

Francisco Lindor, New York Mets

If Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Trea Turner (who has missed significant time with injury) had not been selected as the NL starter, there might have been room for Lindor, who ranks seventh in the league in fWAR. But Cincinnati Reds' Elly De La Cruz (replacing the injured Mookie Betts) was voted in by the players, and the league selected C.J. Abrams as the lone representative from the Washington Nationals, leaving no room for Lindor or Willy Adames of the Milwaukee Brewers. A total of 40 players have at least 2.5 fWAR so far this season, and nine of them are shortstops (11 if you count multi-positional Willi Castro of the Minnesota Twins and Josh Smith of the Texas Rangers). Shortstop snubs were inevitable, even with seven chosen from the two rosters.

Third base

Jordan Westburg, Baltimore Orioles

Five third basemen rank in the top 18 in American League fWAR, and there simply wasn’t room for them all on the list. The fans voted for José Ramírez, the players voted for Rafael Devers, and the league selected Isaac Paredes to represent the Tampa Bay Rays. That left Westburg as the odd man out. He might have gotten by if he’d been listed as a second baseman — he’s played about a third of his games at second base — but Westburg, Paredes, and Smith have fairly similar numbers, and there simply wasn’t room for them all.

Outfield

Willi Castro, Minnesota Twins
Colton Cowser, Baltimore Orioles
Brandon Nimmo, New York Mets

Castro doesn't fit neatly on an All-Star ballot. He's played at least 20 games at five different positions — second base, third base, shortstop, center field, left field — and sometimes played multiple spots in a single game. Despite all that shuffling, he's produced a 130 wRC+ and the sixth-highest fWAR of any qualified outfielder in either league. Still, he didn't make the AL team. Neither did Orioles rookie Cowser (or his teammate, Anthony Santander) and a number of defensive standouts (most notably the Toronto Blue Jays' Daulton Varsho). The NL outfield was a bit more open, but Nimmo had at least as good a case as any outfielder on the NL bench.

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Brent Rooker rounds the bases after hitting a three-run home run against the Orioles. (D. Ross Cameron/USA Today)

Designated hitter

Brent Rooker, Oakland A's

David Fry has been one of the more surprising outliers of the first half. He's posted double-figure starts at catcher, left field and designated hitter — with a handful of innings at first base, third base and right field — and he's helped the Guardians stay in first place with the 10th-best wRC+ among players with at least 200 plate appearances. Rooker, on the other hand, has similar offensive numbers (155 OPS+ to Fry's 161) while getting nearly 100 more plate appearances and hitting more than twice as many home runs (18 vs. 8).

Starting pitchers

Ronel Blanco, Houston Astros
Jack Flaherty, Detroit Tigers
Luis Gil, New York Yankees
George Kirby, Seattle Mariners
Cristopher Sanchez, Philadelphia Phillies

If you last checked three weeks ago, you might have thought Gil was a fixture on the AL staff. By mid-June, he had a 2.03 ERA in 14 starts and appeared to be a worthy replacement for the injured Gerrit Cole at the head of the Yankees’ rotation. But Gil’s last three starts — heading into a Sunday night game against the Red Sox — had resulted in three straight losses and a 14.90 ERA, dropping his season ERA to 3.41, 15th best in the AL. Four starters with ERAs under 3.00 failed to make either team (Blanco, Sánchez, Brady Singer of the Kansas City Royals and Jake Irvin of the Nationals). The same goes for the Major League leader in strikeout-to-walk ratio (Kirby) and the leader in xFIP (Flaherty), who also has the third-best strikeout rate and fourth-best expected ERA. However, it’s inevitable that a few select starters will fall by the wayside, meaning some of the early exits will eventually make it.

go deeper

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Relief pitcher

Trevor Megill, Milwaukee Brewers

The first-place Brewers got two players in the NL starting lineup, but no one on the bench (three of their infielders merited consideration) and no one in the bullpen (they have the fourth-best bullpen ERA in the majors). Closer Megill and setup man Bryan Hudson rank fifth and sixth in Win Probability Added , and both would have been legitimate additions, but the NL Players' Ballot selected two non-closers (Matt Strahm and Jeff Hoffman of the Philadelphia Phillies), forcing the league to use five of its six at-large spots to find lone representatives from the Mets (Pete Alonso), Nationals (Abrams), St. Louis Cardinals (Ryan Helsley), Chicago Cubs (Shota Imanaga) and Miami Marlins (Tanner Scott). The only true at-large selection in the NL went to Webb.

(Top photo by Francisco Lindor: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

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