Your HBT guide to this year's biggest All-Star Game snubs

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As with any All-Star event that has a limited number of roster spots, there were some rather unfair omissions from this year’s Midsummer Classic. 

But that’s just how it goes.  35 players are selected from the American League and 35 make it from the National League.  There’s no way to sneak a deserving player into the park, and each MLB team must have at least one representative. 

A multi-week fan vote is used to decide the starting position players on each side and the rest of the names are selected through a combination of player ballots and personal picks made by All-Star managers Charlie Manuel and Joe Girardi.

It’s not a perfect system, but a perfect system probably doesn’t exist for matters such as these.  Thus, we are left with the following 2010 All-Star Game snubs:

Guys like Joey Votto, Paul Konerko and Kevin Youkilis, who still have a shot via MLB’s Final Vote, were not included.  Full rosters can be found here.

Dan Uggla, 2B, Marlins

One of the more under-appreciated players in the National League, Uggla has hit 15 home runs and collected 46 RBI in 80 games this season.  He doesn’t have the best reputation on defense, but he has a positive 1.7 UZR/150 as of July 3 and surely deserved the nod over Omar Infante, who is a utility infielder at heart, and Brandon Phillips, who has totaled just 10 homers and 27 RBI in 82 games for Cincinnati.

Francisco Liriano, SP, Twins

What does this man have to do?  Liriano has roared back onto the national baseball scene this year with a 3.32 ERA, a 1.22 WHIP and 116 strikeouts over 105.2 innings.  He has dominated some of the American League’s most relentless lineups over the first half and he has held left-handed hitters to a .179/.188/.226 batting line.  The 26-year-old southpaw would be awfully useful if the NL decided to go lefty-heavy in the later innings.

Colby Rasmus, CF, Cardinals

Rasmus doesn’t have the bankroll of teammate and NL All-Star reserve Matt Holliday, but he has been miles better at the plate this season.  Through 243 at-bats, the 23-year-old is hitting .280 with 16 home runs and 40 RBI.  His .923 OPS ranks fourth-best among all MLB outfielders.  Holliday, meanwhile, has 11 home runs, 39 RBI and an .872 OPS in 300 at-bats.

Jered Weaver, SP, Angels

The 27-year-old is leading all major league pitchers in strikeouts, boasts a 2.82 ERA, a 1.06 WHIP and an 8-3 record, and the All-Star Game is being held at his home park.    Weaver may be the biggest snub of them all. 

Stephen Strasburg, SP, Nationals

As long as the All-Star Game determines home field advantage for the World Series, it should be treated as a serious contest and not a spectacle or an exhibition.  Strasburg has proven six times now that he is already one of the top pitchers in the majors, let alone the National League.  He has 53 strikeouts in 36.2 innings, a 1.06 WHIP and a 2.45 ERA.  If Manuel and Co. want to win this thing, why leave the game’s best young arm off the roster?

Rafael Soriano, RP, Rays

Soriano has quitely put together a dominant first half down in Tampa Bay and can claim a 1.52 ERA, a 0.74 WHIP and 20 saves in 21 chances as of July 3.  He has done everything the Rays have asked and his ability to keep hitters off balance with a slick fastball-slider arsenal would be ideal for the late innings of the Midsummer Classic.

Mike Pelfrey, SP, Mets

His peripheral numbers could be better, but there is no doubt that Pelfrey has kept the Mets alive in the NL East and deserves a spot on his league’s All-Star roster.  The 26-year-old stands 10-2 with a 2.93 ERA, a 1.29 WHIP and a 66/35 K/BB ratio over 104.1 frames.  He would an ideal innings eater if the game were to run late.

Jaime Garcia, SP, Cardinals

The impressive rookie has snapped first-year pitching records in St. Louis this season with a 2.10 ERA, a 1.22 WHIP and 77 strikeouts over his first 94.1 innings.  The Cardinals surely don’t mind that he didn’t make the cut because they’re going to have to limit his workload rather soon, but Garcia is certainly deserving of recognition as one of the first half’s finest starters.

The Padres’ pitching staff

It is July 4, a time to celebrate the birth of our nation, show support for our troops and feast on massive amounts of barbecue.  It’s also time to recognize that the Padres — yes, those khaki-wearing fellows — sit atop the National League West with a 48-33 record. 

The Friars will be represented later this month only by Adrian Gonzalez, and yet it is the San Diego pitching staff that has kept this team ticking.  Mat Latos has a 2.62 ERA, a 0.96 WHIP and 91 strikeouts in 16 starts.  Clayton Richard has a 2.74 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP in 16 starts.  Luke Gregerson owns one of the game’s best sliders and has twirled it for a 51/6 K/BB ratio and a 0.60 WHIP over 40.1 innings.  All three of ’em might have made the cut in another year, and under a different system of determining what it means to be an “All-Star.”

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.