There’s been a lot of talk since the All-Star rosters were announced about the “snub” of Blake Snell. And – well, I’m just not feeling it. Not that Blake Snell isn’t a worthy All-Star, because he definitely is. But the reasoning coming from the Rays and Rays fans has left me a little cold. (PITCHER WINZ OMG!)
Honestly, before the rosters were rolled out, I was preparing myself for this. This has been an astounding year for starters, particularly in the American League. Of the 23 starters who have already racked up at least 2 fWAR this season, 14 are in the AL. There are six pitchers over three WAR and four over four. Neither James Paxton NOR his eagle made the team, and nobody even noticed! That’s nuts!!!
See the other side of our DRB debate, as Ian Malinowski tells us why ERA still matters
So, yeah, Blake’s old timey stats look shiny. But his peripherals – while still great – are not as superb as some other guys have put up. Though he leads the league in ERA, he’s tied for ninth in fWAR, and he’s 13th in FIP. That’s really good! But this wasn’t highway robbery.
Now, if the players had not picked the predictable relievers (and they did), and given the nod to, say, Blake Treinen from Oakland instead of Craig Kimbrel, things would have cleared out a lot. But given the rules and the choices, things were bound to get dicey when MLB started looking to fill out the roster, especially with the “every team gets a representative” in place.
In the end, it probably came down to Snell or Trevor Bauer. That’s a coin flip. I don’t fault MLB for choosing the drone king. It is certainly not the snub of the century.
The best argument for Snell came from Rocco Baldelli, who didn’t lean heavily on the old stats.
If I am ever up for a major award, I want Rocco arguing my case. Leaning on the quality of opponent Snell has stared down instead of OMG WINZ almost convinced me. Almost. At the very least, he got me looking for bigger snubs this century than Blake Snell.
I found...well, I found lots. But one in particular stood out.
A Bigger Snub
It was 2003. The Devil Rays were going nowhere, again, but Chuck LaMar had planted the seeds for a really fun team just waiting to blossom. 21 year old Carl Crawford was still adjusting to major league pitching, but he was already stealing bags like a crooked porter. 26 year old Aubrey Huff was on his way to having his best season as a Ray – or anywhere, really – slashing .302/.369/.531 with 15 dingers in the first half.
And then there was another 21 year old whom the owner famously likened to Joe DiMaggio. And to those of who watched him before the injuries and the illness eventually and prematurely took him down, we know that there wasn’t much hyperbole there. I am speaking, of course, of the Woonsocket Rocket himself.
Rocco burst on the scene with a .364/.385./509 April, earning AL Rookie of the Month. And though he did cool off some, he still won Rookie of the Month for May as well. He kept on keeping on all the way through the end of the first half, to the tune of a .304/.329/.446 slash line.
He also stole bags (26 by year’s end) and played defense. He would lead the league for 2003 season in outfield assists and double plays turned as a centerfielder. Rocco could do it all.
So with three young, exciting outfielders to choose from as the team’s token representative, who did the league turn to?
Why, Lance Carter, of course! 5-3, 4.05 ERA, 5.8 K/9 (but 15 Saves!) Lance Carter.
So don’t talk to me about snubs and centuries. Because Lance Carter wishes he was Joe Jimenez.
It could be much worse! At least Mike Williams isn’t on the team.