One of these days, the All-Star rosters will be perfect, with no players making the team who don’t deserve it, and no players on the outside looking in who do.
One of these days, scientists may reconcile quantum mechanics with general relativity, deepening our understanding of the universe and potentially opening the door for such marvels as manned interstellar exploration and time travel.
Judging from the reaction by fans, the media, and even the players themselves every single year, I think that it’s fair to say that the latter of these statements is much more likely to happen first. Selecting the All-Star rosters has always been far more of an art than a science — and I’d hesitate to even call it an art — incorporating fan voting, player voting, managerial selection, and meddling from the commissioner’s office.
Not surprisingly, every year, numerous deserving players are left off the All-Star roster. In light of this, let’s take a look at what a starting lineup made up of snubbed Yankees would look like:
1. Brett Gardner, 2010, LF (.309/.396/.415, 5 HR, 4 3B, 6 2B, 25 SB)
A 26-year-old Brett Gardner is not someone you typically think of when you think of snubbed All-Stars, but that is precisely what Gardner was multiple times before making his first (and likely only) All-Star Game in 2015. While a second-half slump saw his performance dip to a final OPS+ of 105, Gardner was among the league’s young elite players in 2010. Added onto his ridiculous ability to get on base and speed on the basepaths was an elite glove in left field that played a large role in his career-high WAR of 7.4.
If Gardner had put these numbers up in 2019 along with his great defense, he’d be an All-Star for sure; alas, he leads off on our All-Snubs team.
2. Alex Rodriguez, 2015, DH (.278/.382/.515, 18 HR, 51 RBI)
The big reason Ned Yost had for not taking Alex Rodriguez on his roster was positional flexibility. Yes, A-Rod was only a DH by this point. Yes, he had just finished a year-long suspension in 2014.
However, he also had an incredible year, was one of the biggest reason the 2015 Yankees faked their way to contention, and was in the midst of one of the biggest redemption arcs in baseball history. He should have been there.
3. Mark Teixeira, 2011, 1B (.244/.352/.519, 25 HR, 65 RBI)
It is rare to see a guy with 25 home runs at the All-Star break find himself sitting at home. But in 2011, Mark Teixeira, Miguel Cabrera, and Paul Konerko all finished the season with at least 31 home runs, with only room for two of them to back up starter Adrian Gonzalez. As good as he is, Tex lost the number game.
4. Aaron Hicks, 2018, CF (.249/.348/.491, 16 HR, 44 RBI)
Aaron Hicks was one of the top outfielders in baseball over the first half of 2018. He finally showed the pedigree that once made him a top prospect, combining power, defense, and skill on the basepaths. Unfortunately for him, he played on the same team as Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Luis Severino, and Aroldis Chapman. Hicks was squeezed out — not just by other outfielders, but by other Yankees.
5. Miguel Andujar, 2018, 3B (.279/.316/.489, 12 HR, 39 RBI)
At the time of the All-Star break last year, the eventual Rookie of the Year runner-up had yet to truly break out and was still largely an unknown. Thus, it is not surprising that the league decided to carry only Astros 3B Alex Bregman on the roster. That said, Andujar did put on a strong showing at the polls, and would have been a deserved representative for the American League last year.
6. Nick Swisher, 2012, RF (.262/.336/.477, 13 HR, 51 RBI)
Including Nick Swisher on this list seems kind of strange, as the 2012 outfield was stacked — Josh Hamilton, Curtis Granderson, and Jose Bautista started the game, while Adam Jones, Mark Trumbo, and a young upstart named Mike Trout rounded out the bench. I am not proposing that Swisher ought to have replaced any of these All-Stars. Rather, the team did not need to bring three designated hitters, and could have left one of Billy Butler and Adam Dunn, the two backups to David Ortiz, at home.
7. Didi Gregorius, 2018, SS (.263/.326/.474, 17 HR, 52 RBI)
The incredibly-deep American League shortstop position included Manny Machado, Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, Francisco Lindor, and Andrelton Simmons. Despite his MVP-esque April, Gregorius slashed a pitiful .149/.184/.213 in May and that kept him from the All-Star Game.
8. Starlin Castro, 2016, 2B (.256/.293/.395, 10 HR, 31 RBI)
The Yankees sent second basemen to the All-Star Game in 2010-2013 (Robinson Cano), 2017 (Starlin Castro), and 2018 (Gleyber Torres). Every other year, the team’s second basemen were...less than league average, to put it mildly, and deservedly, none of them made the All-Star team.
The second spot in this All-Snub lineup was originally occupied by 2019 Gleyber Torres. Of course, Torres was selected to the All-Star team to replace the injured Brandon Lowe, vacating his spot here. Since Starlin Castro made the All-Star team four times — 2011, 2012, and 2015 with the Cubs and in 2017 with the Yankees—and his performance in 2016 was the best performance by a Yankee second baseman who did not make the All-Star team this decade, he gets the nod.
9. Jorge Posada, 2010, C (.265/.373, .464, 9 HR, 29 RBI)
We round out the starting lineup by returning to an old friend who, quite honestly, probably deserved to not make the All-Star team in 2010. However, as we are trying to create a full lineup here, we need a catcher, and Jorge Posada in 2010 is the closest the Yankees have had to a snub at the position this past decade.
By 2010, Posada was only a catcher part-time, although he still had plenty of pop in his bat. While definitely not at the level of Joe Mauer, who started at catcher that year, his performance was comparable to that of Victor Martinez and John Buck, the two backups in the game. And, as his career was noticeably coming to a close, it would not have been surprising to see him receive a “lifetime achievement” boost in the polls.
Pitcher: Hiroki Kuroda, 2013 (8-6, 2.65 ERA)
It’s hard to fall under the radar when you play in New York, but that is exactly what Hiroki Kuroda did in 2013. In a rotation alongside struggling staff ace CC Sabathia and the veteran lefty Andy Pettitte, the steady Kuroda emerged as a workhorse in his age-38 season.. Kuroda was second in ERA, fifth in WHIP, and seventh in WAR among AL pitchers. He was left off the All-Star roster, however, in favor of Chris Tillman (11-3, 3.95 ERA), due to the latter’s...win-loss record.
Thank God we’ve moved past that era.