During their brief history, the Rays have sent the likes of Danys Baez (2005), Lance Carter (2003), and Dioner Navarro (2008) to the mid-summer classic. When Baez and Carter were selected, they were the team's lone representatives to the game those years.
During those dark days there were some obvious snubs: Rocco Baldelli (2003—32 XBH, .304 AVG as a rookie), Carl Crawford (2005—32 XBH, .284 AVG, and 27 steals), and even more egregiously Aubrey Huff, who in 2003 had 49 XBH and 17 HR with a slash of .304/.361/.539. Meanwhile, Lance Carter, during the first half of 2003, was 15 of 21 in save opportunities and had a 4.05 ERA to go along with a 4.51 FIP in 46 plus innings over 35 games.
These players should not have been excluded from their chance to shine in the mid-summer classic, and nor should Logan Forsythe, even if he's not the first name up for nomination.
This year, the obvious choices for the All-Star Game should be Chris Archer and/or Jake Odorizzi as they're two of the best starters in the American League.
American League Leaders through the month of May:
Dallas Keuchel - 1.76
Sonny Gray - 1.82
Felix Hernandez - 1.91
Nick Martinez - 2.03
Jesse Chavez - 2.11
Chris Archer - 2.12
Corey Kluber - 2.33
Chris Archer - 2.43
Michael Pineda - 2.50
Jesse Chavez - 2.62
Carlos Carrasco - 2.66
Sonny Gray - 2.73
Corey Kluber - 2.4
Sonny Gray - 2.0
Chris Archer - 2.0
Michael Pineda - 2.0
Dallas Keuchel - 2.0
Jake Odorizzi - 1.6
Based on the above data, Chris Archer should be a lock for the All-Atar game and Jake Odorizzi had a solid case for contention. Before his May 31st start, Odorizzi was in the top five in each of these three columns, and could easily return. The young guns are in the spotlight this season, and deservedly so.
But an unsung hero to the Rays surprising year, in which they were already pegged as cellar-dwellers before the onslaught of 20 injuries, is Logan Forsythe.
Forsythe hasn't had to deal with with an injury or the flu pandemic that plagued the team so far this season, and a regular starting role has given him the opportunity to rise above.
As of right now, Forsythe is tied for the team lead in games played, and is second on the Rays leaderboard in hits, on-base percentage, homeruns, runs batted in, and slugging percentage. Combining all that prowess into one man, and he leads all Rays offensive players in WAR with 1.8 (and that includes the likes of Evan Longoria).
Logan Forsythe is an All-Star.
The Secret Sauce: Playing Time
When the regular season began, Forsythe was supposed to be relegated to a bench role, but an injury to Nick Franklin opened up a starting spot for Forsythe and he hasn't looked back. In fact, with the host of injuries faced by the Rays, Kevin Cash has been forced to play the normally-platooned Forsythe against both hands of pitching, and the freshman manager has been rewarded with exceptional play.
During his career, when he's faced righties, Forsythe has slashed .229/.298/.312. Isolate this year, and he's slashed .306/.381/.396 in just over 100 plate appearances.
The last time Forsythe played this well was back in 2012 with the Padres, coming off an injured foot that had required surgery. Expectations were low during that season, but Forsythe slashed .273/.343/.390 with 6 homers down the stretch in 91 games for the Friars, contributing 1.3 WAR that year.
Given the chance to shine, he broke through. He still struggled against right-handed pitching during his breakout season, but that's not a problem he's seemed to have this season, perhaps thanks to all the consistent playing time he's been given. Hear it from the man himself:
"I think that's the biggest turnaround this year, the consistency, knowing I'm going to be in there," Forsythe said. "So I know if I can mentally stay more consistent with my plan and my game, then maybe that helps us win, and that's all I really want to do."
Forsythe has also been the one of the most consistent Rays players on defense, and that may be his best claim to All-Star status. He's been moved all around the diamond this year, spelling Evan Longoria at third and filling in at first for the injured James Loney, and has done so professionally, but he's been dazzling at second base. After training all winter for possibly taking on shortstop, he was handed full-time duties at second to start the season after a Spring injury to Nick Franklin's oblique. Returning to second base was a natural move, but despite those constant adjustments he's only committed two errors on the season.
Thinking on that adjustment, Logan Forsythe's signature move is making fantastic plays on choppers up the middle, but it's been a joy to watch his range translate over to first base when needed. Case in point: check this run to make an excellent catch in foul territory from the first base position.
This guy can flat out play defense. He's a Rays' Ray.
Forsythe Against the World
When you think of the type of player that Logan Forsythe is, all-star doesn't jump to mind. Coming into this season, he was a versatile platoon bat, who could serve as a solid piece off the bench. But, with this year's turnaround season, Forsythe has transformed into a very valuable player for the Rays who encapsulates everything the team wants in its players—a player who can play solid defense all around the field while also having a good ability to put the bat on the ball.
Among the leading vote getters for second baseman in the AL (Jose Altuve, Omar Infante, Ian Kinsler, Dustin Pedroia, and Devon Travis), Forsythe has the highest OBP and WAR, and is also second in SLG%, as well as having the most doubles.
AL League Leaders among second basemen through the end of May
Jason Kipnis - .340
Jose Altuve - .296
Logan Forsythe - .291
Dustin Pedroia - .289
Ian Kinsler - .271
Jason Kipnis - .411
Logan Forsythe - .369
Dustin Pedroia - .354
Ian Kinsler - .350
Jose Altuve - .344
Jason Kipnis - .529
Brian Dozier - .516
Logan Forsythe - .465
Dustin Pedroia - .433
Jose Altuve - .417
Brian Dozier - 9
Dustin Pedroia - 7
Jason Kipnis - 5
Logan Forsythe - 5
Jose Altuve - 5
Jason Kipnis - 3.1
Logan Forsythe - 1.8
Brian Dozier - 1.7
Ian Kinsler - 1.6
Jose Altuve - 1.3
Put that all together, keeping in mind that he plays in a pitchers' park, and Forsythe has been the second-most-effective offensive second baseman by wRC+, behind only the ridiculous season Jason Kipnis is putting up.
A lot can happen in the game of baseball between now and July 14th, but if Forsythe can keep producing at this rate, I believe he is definitely deserving to represent the Rays at the All-Star game in Cincinnati.
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