The All-Snubbed team
It's called the All-Star game — but not all the stars who deserve to play in the exhibition will be at Citi Field on Tuesday.
Some missed their flights to New York because of the rule requiring each team to have at least one All-Star representative. (Raise your hand if you really think Everth Cabrera and Jason Castro are All-Stars.) And at least three position players in the American League West may have lost their spots to an East Coast bias that resulted in just two position players from the division being chosen as All-Stars.
That allowed us to put together a pretty good All-Snubbed team from players not among the 66 originally chosen to the American and National rosters:
First base: Hard to argue with starters Joey Votto and Chris Davis. But Tampa Bay's James Loney, the sixth-leading hitter in the AL at .316, is at least as worthy a pick as Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion. He'll be our starter.
Second base: Take away a .419 average in June and Cleveland's Jason Kipnis is hitting .235 this season. So we'll go with the Angels' Howie Kendrick (.305), who has been far more consistent.
Shortstop: Oakland's Jed Lowrie has more hits (101), runs (40) and a better average (.301) than both Jhonny Peralta and J.J. Hardy, the two AL players picked above him. He's the All-Snubbed team starter.
Third base: One of the deepest positions in both leagues, one that sent Miguel Cabrera, Manny Machado and David Wright to New York. But that doesn't change the fact that Texas' Adrian Beltre (.314, 20 home runs, 53 runs batted in), Oakland's Josh Donaldson (.310, 15, 58), Seattle's Kyle Seager (.290. 15, 44) and Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria (.280, 18, 51) are also having All-Star-caliber seasons. We'll go with Beltre.
Outfield: Shin-Soo Choo couldn't find a spot on the NL team despite being second in the majors in walks (62) and third in on-base percentage (.423) while Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury was bypassed for the AL team despite leading the majors in steals (36) and ranking second among the league's center fielders in batting (.304). We'll start those two alongside Cincinnati's Jay Bruce (.272, 18, 64). Sorry Yasiel Puig, 37 games does not an All-Star make.
Catcher: The pickings are slim after Yadier Molina, Joe Mauer, Buster Posey and Salvador Perez, all of whom were named All-Stars. The best of the rest is Milwaukee's Jonathan Lucroy (.272, 12, 50).
Starting pitchers: The category is going to change mightily over the next 24 hours as pitchers who worked this weekend are ruled ineligible for Tuesday. But among the deserving names left off the original All-Star teams are the Orioles' Chris Tillman and the Cardinals' Lance Lynn, who are both 11-game winners.
Relief pitchers: Baltimore's Jim Johnson was ignored despite leading the majors with 32 saves. Edward Mujica didn't become the Cards' closer until late April but he has 26 saves and leads all closers with a 0.73 walks plus hits per inning pitched.
Stat watch (All-Star edition)
0: Number of players younger than Washington's 20-year-old Bryce Harper who have started for the National League in All-Star game history.
8: Previous All-Star games played in New York (AL leads series, 5-3).
30: Number of players selected to their first All-Star game in 2013, not including injury replacements.