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 National League squad is stacked, with Ronald Acuna Jr. leading the way and stars like Mookie Betts, Corbin Carroll and Spencer Strider dotting 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 NL 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.
NL 2023 MLB All-Star Game Snubs
Fernando Tatis Jr., OF, San Diego Padres
Yes, Tatis Jr. didn’t debut until April 20 as he served the last of his suspension for a positive PED test, but he more than made up for lost time — slashing .277/.339/.515 with 15 homers and 14 steals across 63 games. His 133 wRC+ ranks him among the very best outfielders in the NL, and he’s somehow already become arguably the best defensive right fielder in the game despite only moving out there a couple of years ago. He’s sixth in the National League in WAR and more than deserving on statistical merit, but more broadly, there are simply very few players as dynamic as Tatis when he’s on the field. The game is worse off without him as an All-Star.
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals
There’s bound to be a lot of bellyaching about Pete Alonso snagging an All-Star spot over Goldschmidt, and with good reason. The reigning NL MVP has picked up right where he left off this season, with a 142 wRC+ that’s well above Alonso’s 125. He’s a superior defender and baserunner, too, and while Alonso has had to carry an underachieving New York Mets lineup so far, you could say the exact same thing about Goldschmidt in St. Louis.
Christian Yelich, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
Yelich has enjoyed a bit of a bounce-back year for Milwaukee, with a 121 wRC+ to go with 10 homers — nearly matching last season’s total of 14. He’s a far better all-around player than reserve outfielders Jorge Soler, Nick Castellanos and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., none of whom had to be included to be their team’s lone representative. Yelich ranks 14th in the NL in WAR, behind only Acuna Jr., Carroll, Juan Soto, Tatis and Brandon Nimmo (another potential inclusion here) among outfielders.
Zack Wheeler, SP, Philadelphia Phillies
Zac Gallen, the NL’s co-leader in pitching WAR, earned a spot among All-Star starters. The other guy, however? Well, Wheeler is going to have to watch from home. The righty’s 4.03 ERA looks underwhelming, but his expected ERA (3.32), FIP (2.81) and K/9 (10.3) all point to his status as among the Senior Circuit’s best pitchers — let down more by a lackluster defense and sky-high .326 BABIP. Bad luck shouldn’t keep a deserving player from being an All-Star, and Wheeler is a far better option than Josiah Gray or Bryce Elder.
David Bednar, RP, Pittsburgh Pirates
Alexis Diaz and Camilo Doval were locks to be named All-Star relievers in the NL, but it’s confusing that Devin Williams made the cut over Bednar — who’s been one of the primary reasons for Pittsburgh’s great record in close games this year. Williams’ 3.67 FIP and 5 BB/9 point to how shaky he’s been, while Bednar is tied for the lead among NL relievers in WAR.