The All-Star Game is in a few weeks, and a number of Yankees have a strong case to travel to Washington D.C. to represent the American League. Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Dellin Betances and Luis Severino are just some of the Bombers who should be in our nation’s capital come July 17th.
Should any of those names wind up being left off the All-Star team, they may have a case to make this list: the biggest All-Star snubs in Yankee history. There have been a few that left Yankee fans scratching their heads, and there have been some that just made no sense. So here they are, the best Yankees to not earn a spot in the All-Star Game:
Alex Rodriguez, 2015
One of the reasons that many wrote the Yankees off before the 2015 season started was the condition of Rodriguez, who hadn’t seen major league pitching in over a year due to his suspension from baseball, and the fact that he had been starting to show his age prior to the suspension. The then 39-year-old stormed out of the gates in 2015, as he and teammate Mark Teixeira helped the Yanks surge to first place in the division.
Through 82 games in 2015, Rodriguez smacked 18 homers and drove in 51 runs, good for a 145 wRC+. He wasn’t voted in by the fans or the players, and American League manager Ned Yost left Rodriguez off the Final Vote (though Brett Gardner was included in the vote), stating that the full-time DH Rodriguez didn’t provide enough flexibility (Nelson Cruz started the ASG as the DH).
Regardless of his diminished time in the field, Rodriguez had the offensive stats to make the team in 2015, and should have been there. Now, if there was an All-Star team for second-half performances, then maybe Rodriguez should be left off for that season.
Hiroki Kuroda, 2013
One of the reasons the 2013 Yankees and their patchwork lineup stayed somewhat afloat was the reliable pitching of Hiroki Kuroda, who enjoyed a stellar first half of a season where the Bombers around him were dropping like flies. Kuroda twirled a complete-game shutout in April (pictured above), an eight-inning shutout in May, and a seven-inning shutout two starts later. He finished the first half of the campaign with a 2.65 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP, thanks to a July in which he allowed just two (!) runs in 33 innings.
The flashy strikeout numbers weren’t there (84 punchouts in 118 2⁄3 innings), which could have played a role in this snubbing, but Kuroda deserved to toss an inning or two in the 2013 Midsummer Classic. Some notable starters who got the nod over Kuroda included Max Scherzer, Clay Buchholz, Bartolo Colon and Justin Verlander, who actually finished the first half of that season with an underwhelming 3.50 ERA, thanks to a 6.41 ERA in May.
Jason Giambi, 2006
Here are two sets of numbers through the first half of the 2006 season, and you can decide which player was more All-Star Game worthy:
Player A: .313/.384/.559, 21 HR, 137 wRC+
Player B: .260/.415/.611, 27 HR, 161 wRC+
Player A is Paul Konerko, who was a reserve first baseman for the American League that season, behind starter David Ortiz and teammate Jim Thome. Player B is Jason Giambi, who slugged 11 home runs in June but still missed out on the All-Star Game. Sure, maybe voters were still putting too much weight on batting average, which is the only category that Konerko had Giambi beat, but the power numbers were clearly in the Giambino’s favor. It feels like the voters whiffed on this one.
Mariano Rivera, 1996
I know, hearing the greatest closer of all-time included in an All-Star snub list seems crazy, but Rivera was left off the roster when he first burst onto the scene as a setup man for John Wetteland in 1996. Rivera entered the All-Star break with a 1.80 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 60 innings, while allowing just one home run. Those ridiculous numbers added up to the highest fWAR in baseball among first half relievers, yet he was left off the All-Star roster. No matter, Rivera would make just a few during the rest of his remarkable career.
Mickey Mantle, 1966
The Mick earned 16 All-Star selections in his 18-year career, but 1966 was somehow one of the years he was left off the roster (the other being his rookie campaign in 1951). It did take Mantle a little while to get going in 1966, as he failed to hit a home run during the month of April.
He came alive in a big way from May to July, entering the All-Star break with a .942 OPS (172 OPS+), including a stretch of 14 games before the break where he slugged 11 homers. It seemed that Mantle had caught fire at the right time, yet he was not included on the American League roster.
Mantle missed out on the All-Star Game, but teammate Bobby Richardson somehow made the trip. The Yankees’ second baseman entered the break with a .656 OPS and four home runs, and finished the season with a lowly 79 OPS+. I’d say if Richardson dressed for the All-Star Game, then Mantle definitely should have.