All-Star selections have been released, and for the first time in a few years, the Yankees have a significant showing: Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Starlin Castro, Dellin Betances, and Luis Severino all made the cut, which shows you just how strong this year’s team has been. The last time the Yankees had this many selections was in 2011.
Even with this many locks, there’s one more possible All-Star: Didi Gregorius. Gregorius made it to the final voting round, competing alongside Xander Bogaerts, Elvis Andrus, Logan Morrison, and Mike Moustakas. Let’s take a look at his case.
By sheer WAR, Morrison wins this battle. A beneficiary of the Juiced Ball Era, Morrison has hit 24 home runs so far this season and has been good for 2.8 fWAR and a 146 wRC+. He’s hitting major offensive milestones in every single category, and he’s essentially keeping the Rays afloat at this point. It’s pretty remarkable, whatever you think of the juiced ball’s effect.
Moustakas has the weakest case as he doesn’t come from a premier position like shortstop, and he isn’t hitting like Morrison. He’s still hitting at a 117 wRC+ clip, and I shouldn’t trash-talk too much, because he could be a Yankee in a month. He’s at 1.6 fWAR, and with that I wouldn’t complain. I just don’t know if it’s All-Star worthy.
Then there are the shortstops. For this, it really comes down to defensive interpretation and playing time. Offensively, they’re almost all identical. Andrus (116 wRC+), Bogaerts (113 wRC+), and Gregorius (115 wRC+) have all matched each other blow-for-blow this year. Cumulatively, though, it’s a different story. By fWAR, it goes Bogaerts then Gregorius then Andrus. By Baseball Prospectus WARP, it goes Andrus then Bogaerts then Gregorius. By Baseball-Reference rWAR, it’s the same. By pretty much all metrics, both Andrus and Bogaerts get a slight edge for playing time, as they do have an extra month under their belt.
I would probably argue that Gregorius is equal to or greater than the both of them defensively, and while traditionally I would say the two of of them are true-talent better offensively, they’ve been statistically equal this year. But considering Gregorius’ injuries, the tiebreaker in my mind goes to the players who have played a full season. I’d probably choose Morrison if I had to, but I’m also not impartial to Bogaerts and Andrus as well. It’s really a matter of personal preference.
I wouldn’t really fret, though. The first thing is that the Yankees already have five All-Stars, which is great! The second thing is that Gregorius is still great no matter the label, and he came to New York for scraps. He went from a fringe backup infielder to becoming one of the best shortstops in the American League, stepping into the footsteps of Derek Jeter with nary an issue, and not only filling that void with excellent play, but with a personality that is defined by unbounded joy. I could watch Didi in his prime forever, and you should appreciate him. He may not be an All-Star (unless you vote right now), but that’s OK: he’s our little secret.