2013 MLB All-Star Game: 5 Players That Don't Deserve to Be There
When the American and National Leagues take Citi Field Tuesday night, there will be no shortage of big names on the bill. Baseball's All-Star Game acts more as an award show than a nine-inning matchup, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable to watch.
Of course, with award shows come some snubs to buzz about.
While the All-Star Game fields the sport's biggest names every year, it always manages to leave off a few of the best talents at the midway mark. The power of the fan vote and the nepotism shown by managers with their final roster selections leads to a barrage of players who don't warrant an All-Star selection.
In anticipation of Tuesday's game, here are five players who didn't deserve the nod.
1. Justin Masterson
Cleveland's exceeding expectations this year, and starter Justin Masterson is doing all he can to keep the team's ERA from ballooning beyond its 4.31 mark. An All-Star selection, however, doesn't make much sense here.
Every team sends at least one player, but the Indians already have a representative in second baseman Jason Kipnis. Masterson's pedestrian 3.72 ERA and 2.0 WAR aren't All-Star worthy. How he earned a spot over the Yankees' Hiroki Kuroda remains a mystery.
Masterson's allowed five or more runs in five of his last 10 starts, walking at least three batters in six of those.
You can't hate too much though. Masterson's doing all he can to make his All-Star appearance count for something.
2. Bryce Harper
You gotta love the kid's charisma on the diamond and his work ethic to return from injury. But the second-year Harper isn't quite at All-Star status yet, despite earning his second straight appearance this summer.
Harper's paltry 29 RBI are due to the 31 games he missed while nursing a left knee injury. His .264 average, however, is pretty inexcusable for an All-Star. Harper's not only a selection, he's a starter.
Since July 1, Harper's hitting below the Mendoza line while his Nationals are just a game over .500. All hype on this one.
3. Alex Gordon
Kansas City's still hanging in there at 43-49, and Alex Gordon's a commendable hitter who could be a star in a bigger market. An All-Star now though? It's hard to buy.
The Royals already sent catcher Salvador Perez to the game, making Gordon's selection a bit confusing. He's hitting just .283 and has belted only nine homers, particularly low for someone billed as a power-hitting outfielder. Gordon has a healthy OBP, but would we really rather see him instead of Yasiel Puig?
4. Ben Zobrist
The Rays are a viable threat to win the crowded AL East this year, but Ben Zobrist is no All-Star. Likable for a workhorse mentality and a consistent output on a resurgent Tampa team, Zobrist goes to the midsummer classic hitting just .260 with six homers. Six steals and a .383 slugging percentage aren't wowing anybody.
Zobrist himself doesn't even believe it. His defensive versatility is useful (maybe in a game that actually matters though), but his call over teammate Evan Longoria is absurd.
5. Justin Verlander
Though he won't be making an appearance Tuesday due to a quad injury, Verlander never deserved to be in the discussion in the first place.
A perennial Cy Young candidate, Verlander's labored through 2013 to an average 3.50 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. His 2.8 RAR is nothing special, and the struggling star's 8.9 H/9 is his highest personal mark in seven seasons.
Every other year, sure. 2013 though? Verlander needs to step up his second half.
Plenty of other candidates come to mind, including Tampa's Matt Moore and Detroit's Torii Hunter. Who are you confused by in the All-Star Game?