Who are the best players never to make an All-Star team?

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Since the All-Star rosters were announced Sunday people have been arguing about who should and shouldn’t have made the team, with the focus often being on the biggest snubs. But who are the biggest All-Star snubs, in terms of never being picked for an entire career?
Baseball-Reference.com recently added that sorting feature to its amazing “Play Index” and I crunched the numbers using a stat called Wins Above Replacement to find which players accumulated the most career value as zero-time All-Stars.
Here’s the top 10 for hitters and pitchers:

HITTERS             WAR        PITCHERS            WAR
Tony Phillips      48.2        Tom Candiotti      41.0
Tim Salmon         37.6        Danny Darwin       37.1
Kirk Gibson        37.1        John Tudor         32.3
Eric Chavez        35.8        Bill Hands         31.8
Richie Hebner      35.2        Charlie Leibrandt  31.7
Garry Maddox       33.8        Jim Barr           30.5
Jose Valentin      33.7        John Denny         29.5
Dwayne Murphy      32.9        Fritz Ostermueller 27.6
Ken McMullen       31.7        Ellis Kinder       27.4
Earl Torgeson      31.5        Kevin Tapani       26.7

Some interesting names on those lists, but I think the clear lesson is that while there are plenty of regrettable snubs every season few great or even very good players fail to end up in the All-Star game eventually.
If you’re curious, here are the same lists except with active players only:

HITTERS             WAR        PITCHERS            WAR
Eric Chavez        35.8        Doug Davis         22.1
David DeJesus      22.1        A.J. Burnett       21.5
Casey Blake        21.7        Aaron Harang       18.1
Travis Hafner      19.7        Erik Bedard        17.1
Mark Ellis         19.2        Darren Oliver      16.2
Mark Kotsay        19.0        Rich Harden        15.5
Adam Kennedy       18.1        John Danks         15.2
Craig Counsell     18.1        Octavio Dotel      13.9
Orlando Cabrera    18.0        Joel Pineiro       13.7
Lyle Overbay       17.0        Jeff Weaver        13.4

Eric Chavez and most of the other guys have missed their chance at this point, but John Danks and David DeJesus have played at an All-Star level this season and are young enough to be decent bets to make it eventually.

Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

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Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.