CineSport—Were Johnny Cueto, Zack Greinke, Jason Kipnis and A.J. Pierzynski robbed of spots on the MLB All-Star roster? CineSport's Noah Coslov and Sporting News' Stan McNeal discuss the All-Star snubs.
Johnny Cueto, whose 2.26 ERA is good for fourth-best in the league, is the most notable name missing from the National League’s roster. He has consistently anchored the Reds’ pitching staff all season long and has his team in the hunt for the National League Central division crown.
The starting pitcher least deserving of their All-Star roster spot is Cardinals’ starter Lance Lynn, who, interestingly enough, plays for National League manager Tony La Russa’s former team. Lynn’s 3.62 ERA is far and away the worst among NL All-Star starters and it has only been climbing recently. Prior to his start on June 19th, Lynn’s ERA has risen by more than a run.
A possible motive for La Russa’s bold snub could stem from two seasons ago when Cueto channeled his inner UFC fighter, kicking multiple people on La Russa’s team, including then star pitcher Chris Carpenter.
Other NL All-Star starting pitchers who are having great seasons, just not as good as Cueto’s, include the Diamondbacks’ Wade Miley (9-4, 2.87 ERA) and the Phillies’ Cole Hamels (10-4, 3.08 ERA).
The All-Star controversy doesn’t end there. While the Yankees’ Robinson Cano is by far the most deserving of the start at second base for the American League, as his .962 OPS is the best at his position and 12th best overall, Ian Kinsler was picked as Cano’s backup.
Kinsler, who plays for the Rangers and AL All-Star manager Ron Washington, is having a good year. However, the Indians’ Jason Kipnis’ numbers are a bit better. Kipnis has two more homeruns and seven more RBI than Kinsler, while Kipnis’ batting average is only one point lower. Kinsler is one of seven Rangers chosen to play for the American League All-Star team, while the Indians only have two representatives.
Managers picking their rosters is not the only flaw with All-Star selections. The fan vote has got to go for the MLB All-Star game as well. There is no way that Pablo Sandoval should be starting over David Wright at third base for the NL, and Mike Napoli (and his .235 AVG) should not be the starting catcher in the AL over A.J. Pierzynski, among others.
There should be as little subjectivity as possible when selecting these rosters. The fan vote is simply a popularity contest and a manager (or former manager) will almost always take his players over a rival’s players.
With both home-field advantage in the World Series and player reputation on the line, the All-Star game counts for far too much to be left up to biased opinion.