As the London series fades into the past and we approach the mid-way point in the 2019 season, the Midsummer Classic now becomes the talk of the town. On Sunday, the full All-Star teams were released. Even though the fans weren’t selecting reserves, the voters still got it wrong in some places. These voters, unlike the starters election, were the players. Luke Voit, Gleyber Torres and Adam Ottavino were all deserving enough to make the squad, but didn’t make the cut.
Constructing All-Star rosters can be difficult, and in some cases, snubs can be explained by MLB ensuring that every team has a representative. That said, let’s take a look at the Yankees’ most deserving players that fell short:
Jose Abreu was chosen by the players to represent the American League as the backup first baseman. Him and Luke Voit both have had strong years thus far, but when you break them down by the numbers, the Yankees’ first baseman is the superior one, and offensively, it’s not close.
Voit is batting a .280/.393/.509. Abreu’s line is .268/.309/.508. Voit has the upper-hand in all three categories. What about wRC+? The Yankees slugger carries a 140 wRC+, while Jose Abreu bears a 112 wRC+. Voit has the advantage in most of the vital offensive stats. Here are the numbers side-by-side in a more organized fashion:
Voit vs. Abreu
Neither first baseman is an excellent defender, but Abreu does have the better numbers. It more of a “pick your poison” situation. Could Voit’s poor defense have cost him a trip to Cleveland, or was the “bigger name” chosen once again?
Torres was selected for last year’s All-Star Game as a rookie. The 22-year-old probably deserved to make it this year and go two for two, but Angels second baseman Tommy La Stella and Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor were both chosen over him. Lindor was most likely voted in because he’s the face of the franchise that’s hosting the festivities. That would be like Aaron Judge not getting the nod to play in the All-Star Game if it were being hosted in the Bronx.
Because Torres played shortstop and second base this year, he could have been elected at either position. His offensive numbers, for the most part, are better than Lindor and La Stella’s. Torres’ OPS+ ranks eighth in the American League. Along with that, he has smashed the most homers for AL second basemen with 19, the second-most RBI, and the second-best OBP. Oh, and he’s third for average. He’s probably the biggest snub from the Yankees, but he should qualify for many All-Star Game’s throughout his career. Here are his offensive stats compared to La Stella and Lindor:
Torres vs. La Stella and Lindor
Ottavino has been everything the Yankees could have asked for out of the bullpen. He can enter a game in any inning and at any time, and get outs with his elite swing-and-miss stuff. One of his most incredible numbers so far, and a driver of his microscopic 1.45 ERA, is his LOB%. Ottavino leaves 99.1% of runners on base! Is there a more impressive stat for a late-inning reliever than that, even if it’s due to regress?
Shane Greene, Brad Hand and Ryan Pressly all made the Midsummer Classic ahead of Adam Ottavino. Should they all have? Let’s look at the numbers:
Ottavino vs. Hand, Pressly, and Greene
This one is closer than Voit and Torres’ bids. The stat that stands out from Ottavino is his walks, especially when compared to the relievers who did make the All-Star Game. That could be a reason he’s not buying a plane ticket to Cleveland in mid-July. However, Ottavino has Pressly in every stat except walks and FIP. The Yankees reliever has also been the biggest workhorse as he has hurled the most innings out of any of them.
Voit, Torres, and Ottavino all have strong cases to be in Cleveland next week, and given the number of players that will likely pull out of the game, they still might end up on the team. Every good team will feel that a few of its best players undeservingly fell short after the final cuts, and the Yankees are no different. In any event, these three, along with much of the Yankees’ roster, will undoubtedly compete for more All-Star teams in the future.