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The Yankees’ biggest 2018 All-Star snubs

The Yankees are sending four players to the All-Star Game, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have any notable snubs.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at New York Yankees Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The All-Star Game rosters were announced on Sunday night, and the news is unsurprising: the Yankees will have four representatives. Aaron Judge was voted to start by the fans, and Luis Severino, Aroldis Chapman, and Gleyber Torres also made the team. All are great players, and worthy selections.

They’re not the only Yankees that had a chance to make the team, though. The Yankees are one of the league’s deepest teams, and thus run deep in potential All-Stars. It’s certainly possible that even with four representatives, the Yankees were snubbed.

The first name that pops to mind as a snub is Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton is among the members of the Final Vote, and with the Yankees’ substantial fan base, there’s a decent shot he gets voted in. Still, he’s the biggest name not on the initial roster.

Stanton got off to an uneven start, but has come on strong midseason, and now owns a robust .257/.341/.510 slash line. That’s still not up to his own standards, but it’s good enough for 130 wRC+, which ranks 20th in the American League. His 2.5 fWAR on the year also puts him 20th in the AL.

When all is said and done, if Stanton continues to look like himself as the season progresses, he will most likely rank among the AL’s best players, and his absence from the All-Star roster would look odd. ZiPS projections currently forecast him to end the year with 5.3 WAR, an entirely viable total for an All-Star. Moreover, Stanton is one of the most recognizable and exciting sluggers in the league. The All-Star game was built for someone like him.

Stanton is the primary star that was snubbed. The Yankees’ biggest snub based on pure first-half performance, though, might just be Aaron Hicks. With every passing game, Hicks further establishes himself as a star-caliber player, and he has a legitimate argument that he should be included among the AL’s finest.

By Baseball Reference, Hicks has been worth 2.9 WAR, 15th-best among AL position players. His .259/.359/.523 line equates to a 139 wRC+, 13th in the AL. He rates as two runs better than average in the field by DRS while playing an up-the-middle position, and is above average on the basepaths and in terms of avoiding double plays. Hicks has put together every facet of his game this year, and deserves to be recognized for it.

Elsewhere on the diamond, Brett Gardner and Didi Gregorius could perhaps feel somewhat slighted. Both have combined above-average offensive output with valuable defense this year. Gardner’s power has fallen off from last year, though, and Gregorius has been unable to sustain his monstrous start. Each would be a better candidate if they did a little more on offense to complement their proficient defense.

On the pitching side, there aren’t any obvious snubs from the starting rotation. CC Sabathia has been great, but his 89.1 innings pitched lag behind the leaders and limit his case. Masahiro Tanaka has been injured and inconsistent. Sonny Gray has done his best, at least.

Among the relievers, Dellin Betances and Chad Green may feel slightly hard done by. Green has a 1.91 ERA in 42.1 innings, while Betances’ 68 strikeouts are second in the league among relievers. Neither are closers, but they are unquestionably elite relief arms.

Still, it would be splitting hairs to label Green and Betances as huge snubs. It’s hard to make the team out of the bullpen: only four relievers make the initial roster. All four of them, Chapman, Craig Kimbrel, Joe Jimenez, and Edwin Diaz, have every reason to believe they belong. You can quibble with the inclusion of Jimenez, who is the Tigers’ token representative, over bigger names like Betances and Green, but it’s hard to get too worked up about it.

At the end of the day, while the Yankees do have some snubs, there’s nothing too egregious. Stanton should probably be there, but he still stands to make the team with the Final Vote. Plus, there is always a rash of injury replacements before the game, meaning players like Stanton and Hicks, or perhaps even Gardner or Gregorius or a member of the pitching staff, could very well end up being chosen. In any event, the Yankees will be very well-represented on the big stage.