Starling Marte, Josh Donaldson and Gerardo Parra lead off my I-Can’t-Believe-They-Didn’t-Make-the-All-Star-Team squad
One year when Joe Torre learned he’d fallen a few votes short of making the Hall of Fame, he was philosophical.
“It’s the Hall of Fame,” he said. “It’s supposed to be hard to get in.”
That’s the way it is with the All-Star teams. Some deserving players are going to be left out. And when you consider that maybe the two most respected managers in the game, Bruce Bochy and Jim Leyland, picked the squads, then there’s really no room to complain.
That said, let’s take a moment to acknowledge the play of a few guys who as of now are not going to be at Citi Field next week.
- Starling Marte, Pirates OF. His first full season in the Major Leagues has been a smashing success. He might be the best defensive left fielder in baseball. Offensively, he’s the definition of an impact player with 100 hits, 58 runs, 16 doubles, eight triples, nine home runs and 27 stolen bases. BaseballReference.com’s WAR has him the sixth-best player in the NL, the fourth-best OF behind Carlos Gonzalez, Andrew McCutchen and Carlos Gomez. He may not be at Citi Field, but he has a great chance to playing in October and show the rest of the world how good he is.
- Josh Donaldson, A’s 3B. He was a catcher 18 months ago, and the A’s simply didn’t know if he could make the transition to third. He has not simply made it. He has made it look easy, showing off his athleticism virtually everyday. He’s also an offensive impact player with 23 doubles, 15 home runs and a .924 OPS. It was always going to be tough for him because the competition at third in the AL is ridiculous. Miguel Cabrera and Manny Machado might be the two best players in the league, and that left Donaldson, Evan Longoria and Adrian Beltre on the outside looking in. Like Marte, Donaldson can take some comfort in playing for a team that seems headed for the postseason.
- Gerardo Parra, Dbacks OF. I’d start by praising his defense, but he might be the third-best outfielder on his own team, behind A.J. Pollock and Cody Ross. But there’s plenty other things to his game. According to WAR, he’s the 11th-best player in the NL thanks to a stat line that includes 26 doubles (tops in the NL), 103 hits, 51 runs, 7 home runs and an .806 OPS. After all the moving and shaking the Dbacks have done in the outfield the last couple of years, their best guy is a familiar face.
- Evan Longoria, Rays 3B. He has been slowed by plantar fascitis lately, but his defense in second only to Machado’s in the AL. Offensively, he could finish with 200 hits, 100 runs, 100 RBIs, 40 doubles and 30 home runs. It’s understandable why he wasn’t selected, but he remains one of the real special players in the game.
- Jay Bruce, Jacoby Ellsbury, Ian Kinsler. Those are three more players whose names jump off the sheets in terms of their first half. Kinsler spent time on the DL, but has still done enough to return to the level of elite player status. Again, there’s no way to get all the good players on the teams, and that’s part of the beauty of the debate.