All-Star rosters were announced yesterday, selecting only one Oakland Athletics player despite expectations at least one other would be selected. Do the voting processes and rules of selection need changing?
Oakland Athletics fans were up in arms yesterday over the final vote of the All-Star Game rosters, which did not include second baseman Jed Lowrie or first baseman Matt Olson. Blake Treinen, the A’s closer, got the nod as the lone Oakland player to represent the club at the Midsummer Classic.
Lowrie, whose season has been exceptional so far for the A’s, was perhaps always an unlikely pick behind the Yankee youngster, rookie Gleyber Torres. The high-powered player has 15 home runs, 42 RBI’s, and an average of .294 in 218 at-bats. Lowrie currently has 16 home runs (already tied as of July 8th for the most in his career), 62 RBI’s and a .290 batting average in 345 at-bats. Torres’ power numbers in a significant 127 less at-bats is certainly impressive, but many argue that other factors deserve to consideration in the selection process. For example:
In addition to leading the league in WAR at second base, one might also add that Lowrie has committed two errors in his 88 of 90 possible games played. He has propelled an unexpectedly good A’s team to 10 games above the .500 mark at the time of voting, which has been largely due to his discipline and skilled batting specifically in clutch situations. In 25 less games for the high-powered Yankees (for whom individual offensive numbers are always arguably inflated), Torres has committed 10 errors, and currently sits on the Disabled List.
Matt Olson, the Oakland Athletics young first baseman, is deserving of a mention even if his failure to receive either fan or final votes was certainly not a shock. Olson could have had a real chance at the final vote, especially given the relative lack of talent in the field at first. But since Jose Abreu won the fan voting at the position, this left the reserve vote for Mitch Moreland, giving the Red Sox their fifth all-star in 2018.
There is some disagreement among analysts as to whether or not this rule hinders the selection process and the game. While it seems important to have representation, moments when representation forces out potentially more qualified players does lead to some interesting questions about voting.
Lowrie and Olson weren’t the only snubs (Blake Snell‘s failure to be voted in, with an ERA of 2.09 in 19 games, continues to confound). But at least A’s fans will have Treinen to root for on July 17th, even if his future in Oakland continues to be a looming question with the All-Star Break quickly approaching.