Bay Area shortstops suffer All-Star snubs
Every All-Star Game, noteworthy snubs keep players out of a hard-earned spot on baseball’s biggest stage.
Among the 2016 crop are three recognizable figures on the Bay Area baseball scene. One of the most productive bats in baseball belongs to Brandon Crawford, who also happens to be a defensive stalwart at the pivotal shortstop position.
And you wouldn’t need to travel far to find similar production at the same position. A quick jaunt across the Bay Bridge puts you at the doorstep of the Oakland Coliseum, home to Marcus Semien. His teammate, relief pitcher Ryan Dull, made history as a middle reliever in the first half.
Yet, all three Bay stars have been forced to the fireworks watch from home.
Two-time All-Star Stephen Vogt, of the Oakland Athletics, told SFBay that the absence of his deserving teammates is “absolutely saddening”:
“I thought Marcus Semien and Ryan Dull both should have been recognized as All-Stars this year. It’s unfortunate that it didn’t work out that way. They’re having All-Star worthy seasons and they should be getting the recognition, but they’re not.”
The Bay is not by any means the home of the event’s only snubs.
Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre is slashing .281/.336/.442 to go along with his four-time Gold Glove-winning defense.
Kyle Hendricks, of the Chicago Cubs, is sixth in The Show with a 2.55 ERA to go along with his 1.03 WHIP — eleventh among starting pitchers.
Four-time All-Star second baseman Dustin Pedroia, of the Boston Red Sox, boasts a .304/.368/.438 slash to go along with 106 hits (T-10 MLB).
But none is bigger than Crawford.
Not only is “B-Craw” the reigning Gold Glove and Silver Slugger winner for NL shortstops, he leads all big leaguers at the position in RBIs (61) . The Pleasanton native is slashing .281/.353/.447, among the MLB’s top ten in average and on-base percentage (No. 14 in slugging), at one of the game’s most pitcher friendly ballparks. Not to mention, he has been the biggest offensive contributor to the team that breaks with the league’s best record.
The team that appears to have much to gain from winning the event — World Series home-field advantage.
Of Crawford’s absence, first-time All-Star Brandon Belt told SFBay:
“I think he obviously should be here. He’s probably the best shortstop in the league, so it’s kind of weird that he was left out.”
Though Semien’s batting average is hardly jaw-dropping (.242), he has been on a power tear. His 19 home runs is tops among AL shortstops — tied for second in MLB. The San Francisco-born star’s range factor (4.73) is the best in the game for the position.
While Dull fills a roster spot that garners minimal respect, he has done it in a way that has never been done before. Among all AL pitchers, his 0.72 WHIP is second only to Andrew Miller and 2.01 ERA is eleventh. The 26-year-old rookie is among baseball elite.
Then there is the matter of history.
After starting the season stranding his first 36 inherited runners, a league record, Dull finally allowed one such runner to cross the plate in his final appearance of the first half. He did seal that inning, stranding one of two inherited, for the save on Saturday.
In arguably his worst outing of the season, he collected what is viewed is the distinguishing stat for a relief pitcher.
Regarding the reasoning for the snubs, the Giants’ second Brandon addressed his friend Crawford:
“I think it just came down to one of those situations where the rules — for getting in — kind of kept him out. It’s tough to see a guy who deserves to be here left behind. But, honestly, I think he has a lot of All-Star Games in his future.”
The trio of Bay-ball stars will almost certainly take part in an All-Star game — for the 2015 participant Crawford, another — in their careers. But, this year, they will each watch and wonder why.