With the announcement of the pitchers and reserves on Sunday night, the full rosters (pending injury replacements) for the 2023 MLB All-Star Game are officially set. The American League squad is stacked, with Shohei Ohtani leading the way and stars like Mike Trout, Aaron Judge, Gerrit Cole and Corey Seager doting the roster. But the only thing as all-American as the Midsummer Classic is arguing about which deserving players got snubbed — and for as much talent as there is on the AL team, we have a few quibbles with how things shook out. Below are five players who have some real beef about not making the cut.
AL 2023 MLB All-Star Game Snubs
Wander Franco, SS, Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays don’t have a ton to complain about overall, with Yandy Diaz and Randy Arozarena in the starting lineup and ace Shane McClanahan representing the AL leaders. But arguably Tampa’s best player somehow won’t be joining them in Seattle. It’s one thing for the 22-year-old phenom to fall behind the Rangers’ Corey Seager as the starting shortstop, but the fact that he didn’t get the nod over, say, Toronto’s Whit Merrifield is a downright crime.
Franco has put up a 127 OPS+ so far this season with nine homers and 26 steals, and he’s done it while also being quite possibly the best defensive shortstop in the sport. Add it all up, and the former top prospect is second in the AL in WAR behind only Ohtani — he’s closer to MVP finalist than he is to not being worthy of an All-Star appearance.
Masataka Yoshida, OF, Boston Red Sox
You could also throw Yoshida’s teammate (and AL Rookie of the Year candidate) Alex Verdugo in this spot, as both have been excellent atop Boston’s lineup so far this year. But Yoshida could very well win AL Rookie of the Year honors when all is said and done, so we’ll place our righteous indignation behind him. The former NPB star has torn it up in his Stateside debut, with a 134 wRC+ this year that ranks behind only Mike Trout, Arozarena and Luis Robert Jr. among AL outfielders. He could still find his way onto the team as an injury replacement for either Judge or Yordan Alvarez, but it’s a shame it even came to that, as he’s been simply one of the best pure hitters in the AL in the first half.
Matt Chapman, 3B, Toronto Blue Jays
Chapman has cooled off considerably since his insane start to the season, but 1) those games still count, 2) he’s gotten back on track of late, with an .881 OPS over his last two weeks and 3) he remains an elite defensive third baseman. Chapman ranks 10th in the AL in WAR, second only to Jose Ramirez among options at the hot corner, and he’s been far more valuable than starter Josh Jung. Rangers fans turned out the vote hard, getting Seager, Jung, catcher Jonah Heim and second baseman Marcus Semien into the starting lineup — but while I support democracy, Texas got it wrong this time. Chapman has been every bit the offensive player Jung has been while being in another league entirely with the glove.
Joe Ryan, SP, Minnesota Twins
It’s hard not to feel like one bad start cost Ryan his first career All-Star appearance. Prior to the six-run, nine-hit, five-homer shellacking the Atlanta Braves put on him earlier this week, Ryan had a 2.98 ERA that would’ve ranked him seventh in the AL, ahead of names like Kevin Gausman and Ohtani. Teammate Sonny Gray will be representing the Twins in Seattle, and while Gray’s top-line numbers are hard to deny, Ryan has him beat in WAR, expected ERA and strikeout rate.
Jason Foley, RP, Detroit Tigers
Even the Tigers need an All-Star representative, and it probably should’ve been Foley rather than starter Michael Lorenzen. While Lorenzen has pitched to a pedestrian 4.28 ERA and 4.32 FIP — not to mention a putrid 6.8 K/9 rate — Foley has been the one reliable piece of Detroit’s bullpen in the first half, with a 2.23 ERA and 13 scoreless appearances in his last 15.