All-Star roster surprises and snubs
July, 6, 2014
By Keith Law | ESPN.com
AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhFor reasons unclear to many, White Sox ace Chris Sale was left off the All-Star roster.The MLB All-Star Game rosters always spur controversy for who's out and who's in, but also because there aren't clear rules on what makes an All-Star in the first place. I've never bought the maxim that it should just be the players who are having the best current seasons, because that's the ideal way to leave out a few legitimate stars while including a bunch of guys who had two fluky hot months.
But that philosophy also ignores the original purpose of the game, one that still matters today: This is Major League Baseball's one night to get all of its best players on one field in front of a worldwide audience. The focus should be on getting as many of the game's current and emerging stars into the game, and if that means a one-hit wonder gets left off the roster, so be it.
With that in mind, here are my main guidelines when critiquing the All-Star rosters: No player should go to the game for a first half that might easily be a fluke, but the sport does have a vested interest in getting a few rising stars into the game so they can play before a national audience. Of course, you don't need those guidelines to realize there's an enormous mistake on the AL roster.
Scott Kazmir or Mark Buehrle over Chris Sale: These two player selections are the dumbest of anything this year, and there's a fair amount of ridiculousness going on for both rosters, so the bar is high. Sale would be second in the league in ERA if he qualified, just .05 behind leader Felix Hernandez. He's sixth in the league in WAR and tenth in rWAR, despite having 20 fewer innings pitched than any of the pitchers ahead of him. He's 8-1 if you actually care about something as useless as a pitcher's won-lost record. And Sale was a top five pitcher in the league last year, too.
Did the players just look at the ERA rankings and forget Sale because he doesn't have enough innings to qualify (he's one inning short) for the chart?