The MLB All-Star Game is less than three weeks away, which means that it is time to start thinking about which Yankee(s) should represent the team. Every team has to be represented at the All-Star Game, so we know that at least one of the Yankees will be in San Diego on July 12th. Last year, Mark Teixeira, Brett Gardner and Dellin Betances were selected. Which Yankees should represent the team at the 2016 All-Star Game?
The Yankees have not been having a great year at the plate, so there are very few position players who realistically stand a chance at making the All-Star team. Derek Jeter was always a fan favorite, and typically earned more votes than the other shortstops, even late in his career. However, the Yankees don't really have anyone with that popularity anymore. The only batter who could arguably deserve an All-Star nod is Carlos Beltran.
Despite the fact that he is one of the oldest Yankees in the lineup, Beltran has been the team's best hitter. The 39-year-old is currently slashing .286/.318/.563 with 132 wRC+ and 18 home runs. The only American League outfielder who has hit more home runs than Beltran is Mark Trumbo. Beltran's slugging percentage is the third highest of AL outfielders, yet he's only been worth 1.5 fWAR (14th best). Is he going to make the All-Star team? That is very unlikely, but he is having a great season.
If the Yankees only send one player to the All-Star Game, it should absolutely be Andrew Miller. Although Betances got the nod over Miller last year, the opposite should happen this year. Through 29 and two-thirds innings, Miller has 16.73 K/9, 0.88 BB/9 and 0.88 HR/9. That amounts to 55 strikeouts, 3 walks and 3 home runs. The only reliever in National or American League with more strikeouts than Miller is Betances (16.78 K/9).
On the other hand, Betances has given up three times more runs than Miller (12 vs. 4). Miller's 1.17 ERA is not the very best in the majors, but his BB/9 rate is. Betances has been very good, but Miller has been better. For the record, Aroldis Chapman doesn't figure into the conversation since he has only pitched 17 innings due to the suspension, and Betances and Miller have both been better anyway.
Two of the Yankees' starting pitchers have also been very good this year. The last time that CC Sabathia was an All-Star was back in 2012, and over the past few years it looked like that would be his last trip. However, Sabathia has turned things around this season. Since he switched to a new knee brace last September, Sabathia has looked like a different pitcher. Heading into yesterday's game, Sabathia was sporting a 2.20 ERA, the lowest ERA of anyone in the rotation. He didn't have a great outing against the Rockies, so his ERA ballooned up to 2.71, but it's still the lowest in the Yankees' rotation. Sabathia probably won't make the All-Star team, but if he continues to pitch this way he should be in consideration for Comeback Player of the Year.
Masahiro Tanaka also deserves consideration, and probably has the second-best shot of making the All-Star team behind Miller. Through 92 and two-thirds innings, Tanaka has a 2.91 ERA, 3.36 FIP, 6.60 K/9, 1.55 BB/9, and 0.78 HR/9. Similarly to Sabathia, Tanaka struggled to keep the ball in the park last year, and he has been able to limit the damage this year. His strikeout numbers have dropped since he made his debut in 2014, but his other stats are close to what they were in 2014 when he was selected to go to the All-Star Game. Tanaka's 1.00 WHIP is the third lowest in the American League, and his ERA is in the top seven. He should at least be in the conversation.
Who do you think should represent the Yankees at the All-Star Game? Make sure you vote here.