Blake Snell

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Silverman: Snell, Segura, Muncy Among Top All-Star Snubs

Steve Silverman
July 09, 2018 - 1:09 pm

Voting for the starting lineup in the American and National leagues is not that difficult an assignment. Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and Nolan Arenado are four of the top stars in the game and will start July 17 in the All-Star Game at Nationals Park in Washington.

However, when it comes to the pitchers and the reserves, there is plenty to be upset about. While this happens every year, there are several snubs worth noting in 2018.

MORE: 4 Yankees, 1 Met Selected To All-Star Game

The biggest slap in the face was delivered to left-handed pitcher Blake Snell of the Tampa Bay Rays. All Snell has done this year is lead the American League with a 2.09 earned-run average while striking out 132 batters in 116 innings.

Snell has a 12-4 record in his 19 starts, and he gives up less than one home run for every nine innings he pitches. Snell’s teammate Chris Archer was up in arms because Snell didn’t get named to the AL All-Stars.

"Something like that can't happen," Archer said. "He leads the league in ERA. That means he's given up the fewest amount of runs per nine innings out of any starting pitcher in the league. Players, coaches, managers -- we have to do a better job with the selection process so we can put the best talent out on the field for the fans in the Midsummer Classic.”

The American League has a plethora of shortstops, and Manny Machado of the Orioles and Francisco Lindor of the Indians were named as the starter and reserve, respectively. However, great cases can be made that the Mariners' Jean Segura, the Angels' Andrelton Simmons and the Red Sox's Xander Bogaerts are all deserving.

MORE: Stanton Won't Compete In HR Derby

The debate here is between Segura and Simmons. Segura is one of the best hitting shortstops. He may not have the power of Machado or Lindor, but he is lashing line drives all the time and has a .330/.358/.470 slash line along with 61 runs scored and 47 RBIs.

Simmons is clearly the best fielding shortstop in baseball. However, in the dense forest of brilliant American League shortstops, that’s simply not enough.

Simmons has always been a decent hitter, but he has shown dramatic improvement this year with a .307/.369/.436 slash line, along with 42 runs scored, six homers and 39 RBIs.

I give Segura a slight edge over Simmons for being the bigger All-Star snub. He could still get in through the All-Star Final Vote, in which fans will decide the last roster spot in each league.

Meanwhile, is there a better story in baseball this season than Max Muncy of the Los Angeles Dodgers? Muncy has played all infield positions other than shortstop since he was brought up from the minor leagues. He has pounded 20 home runs and driven in 38 runs, and since manager Dave Roberts started putting Muncy in the starting lineup, the Dodgers have been surging back to prominence in the National League West after a painfully brutal start.

Muncy is among the five candidates for the NL Final Vote.

The Milwaukee Brewers, first place in the National League Central, are represented on the All-Star team by outfielders Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelich and reliever Josh Hader. However, first baseman Jesus Aguilar may be as deserving of playing in the All-Star Game as any of his teammates.

Aguilar has been pounding the baseball, and the 6-foot-3, 250-pound Venezuelan strongman has belted 22 home runs and driven in 63 runs. Aguilar has been driving the ball with power in clutch situations all season, and he has built a .306/.368/.633 slash line along with a 1.001 OPS.

In addition to his skill, Aguilar has learned how to play to the camera, and he is clearly one of the game’s most colorful players. He, too, is a Final Vote candidate.

The Yankees’ Aaron Hicks was probably easy for most players to eliminate because of his .259 batting average. However, if players didn’t have to submit their ballots two weeks early, they could have recognized Hicks’ surge when it comes to power hitting.

Overall, he has blasted 16 home runs and knocked in 42 runs, but 11 of those home runs have come in the last 30 games, as have 21 runs batted in. He has been especially hot in his last seven games, with five home runs in his last 21 at-bats (29 plate appearances). Hicks is one of the top fielding center fielders in the game, and while he does not get the recognition, he is clearly an impact player.

Hicks had a career game July 1 in the Yankees' 11-1 victory over the Red Sox, as he blasted three home runs and knocked in four runs.

Hicks’ teammate, Giancarlo Stanton, is in the Final Vote, but reliever Dellin Betances is not. Betances is a four-time All-Star and is clearly one of the most intimidating pitchers in Major League Baseball.

However, Betances pretty much ruined his chances for a fifth straight All-Star appearance with a brutal start to the season. But that awful start is long over now. He has allowed just three hits in his last 14 2/3 innings while not allowing a run. Betances has struck out 27 batters in that span while walking six.

Overall, Betances has a 2.56 ERA and 1.01 WHIP, and it would be difficult to see the National League having any chance of solving him.

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