The 2019 All-Star game in Cleveland is right around the corner and in what has been an unfortunate trend, there won’t be many St. Louis Cardinals there.
When I say that there “won’t be many St. Louis Cardinals there” when the 2019 All-Star game begins in Cleveland on Tuesday, July 9th, I mean that in all likelihood, there will only be one player there.
In what will be the MLB All-Star game equivalent of a participation trophy, the Cardinals will have at least one player in Cleveland as every team has to have at least one representative, but when you look at the current voting and uh… there are no Cardinals on it.
No other Cardinals player is in the top 5 at their position or in the top 15 in the outfield.
This is becoming a trend. Last year, Miles Mikolas was the only player initially but Yadier Molina was a late addition. In 2017, it was just Molina and Carlos Martinez. 2016 was only Matt Carpenter. Not that it’s a huge indicator of the strength of the rosters, but this is not a good trend to see.
Let me put out there that there are just a few players that actually deserve any thought of going to Cleveland. My list would be Marcell Ozuna, Paul DeJong, and John Gant. Paul Goldschmidt, Matt Carpenter, Yadier Molina, and last year’s Cinderella story Mikolas are all players who should be in consideration if they were playing up to par, but they aren’t. This will be Paul Goldschmidt’s first year out of the All-Star game in the last six years. Ouch.
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In my opinion, the All-Star game voting needs a makeover, it is far too much of a popularity contest rather than fans voting in the true best players. Let me illustrate my point.
Starting with Paul DeJong, he is currently tied for first in fWAR among NL shortstops with the Cubs’ Javy Baez (the projected starter). While Baez is more flashy and has hit more homers, DeJong is better in walk rate, strikeout rate, and by wRC+, he’s just a 5% worse player. Trevor Story is second at SS, and while his offense is just 1 point of wRC+ better than DeJong, he has a better average and power numbers, but DeJong has a lead in similar ways as Baez.
I don’t need to go through every category, DeJong is just as good or better than both Story and Baez and I won’t bother digging into Dansby Swanson who is also above DeJong.
Looking over to Marcell Ozuna, he is slightly harder to argue for. By fWAR, he is the 10th best outfielder in the NL, but he’s tied for 5th with his 20 homers and tied for second with his 62 RBI’s. The current starters really do make sense though for the outfield as Ronald Acuna Jr. (3.0 WAR), Cody Bellinger (5.4 WAR), and Christian Yelich (4.6 WAR) are all more or less locks for starters.
Past those three, a breakout year from Ketel Marte (3.7 WAR) is being completely ignored and per usual, the fans in Chicago have voted their three outfielders, Albert Almora Jr. (0.4 WAR), Jason Heyward (0.9 WAR), and Kyle Schwarber (0.6 WAR) are all finalists.
I will admit Ozuna has a very tough argument for making the All-Star roster, but he is arguably the Cardinals best hitter.
For John Gant, we will just have to see as the relievers aren’t shown like the starters are, but he does make a very solid candidate in his current breakout year. He’s 10th in reliever fWAR and 14th in ERA.
Again none of these players have to necessarily be worthy of going in by ranking against their peers, as one will definitely be there, but it’s just funny if you dig into the stats a little to see just how far off fans can be in their voting.
The Cardinals are admittedly still in the race for the playoffs but are gonna need some things to change if they have any hope. The All-Star game signals just after the halfway point in the season and whoever ends up representing the Cardinals there, at least the game no longer decides World Series home-field advantage.