A baseball season is more than just a first half, and it would be nice if there was a way to recognize second-half performances in All-Star rosters.
For the most part, the All-Star roster construction process is just fine. Fans get to vote for the starting position players, and sure that could lead to some popularity contents rather than rewarding performance, but let the people see who they want to see. Players get their own votes, selecting a position player at each position plus eight pitchers for each league. This is a way for players to honor their peers, a perfectly fine way to reward a good season.
The commissioner’s office fills the rest of the 32-player rosters in each league, tasked with making sure every MLB team is represented by at least one All-Star. No matter which All-Star roster method one might devise, there will always be someone unhappy with the results.
I don’t have a problem with the selection process in any way. I just wish folks would take into account things that happened after last year’s All-Star break. If the annual rosters are selected based solely on the current year’s performance — this isn’t always the case; actual star power and accrued achievements are difficult to ignore in some cases — nearly half of the previous season gets ignored.
In looking at the 2019 All-Star rosters, here are a few suggestions to add players who missed the cut but have been strong not only this season but also in the second half of 2018.
Tommy Pham, Rays OF
Tampa Bay has been in the news lately for all the talk of the team exploring a bizarre timeshare with Montreal, but on the field the results have been even more compelling. The Rays are in first Wild Card position in the American League, and Pham has been either their best or second-best hitter (the other player in that consideration, Austin Meadows, did make the AL roster in the outfield). Pham entered Sunday hitting .284/.384/.468 with 13 home runs, with a perfectly respectable 132 wRC+.
But if you factor in Pham’s post-break performance in 2018, he’s hitting .304/.407/.514, with a 151 wRC+ that is tied for fifth in the AL break-to-break, ahead of AL All-Star outfielders Meadows and Whit Merrfield.
Luke Voit, Yankees 1B
Voit was an unheralded acquisition at last year’s trade deadline by New York, and all he has done since arriving in the Bronx is hit. Since the 2018 All-Star break Voit is hitting .296/.396/.565 with a 156 wRC+ that ranks third in the AL, along with 31 home runs in just 117 games. Voit also got hurt in Saturday’s game in London, putting his availability for the All-Star Game in question. At that point, any sort of honor would be ceremonial.
Max Muncy, Dodgers IF
The Dodgers signed Muncy to a minor league deal in 2017, and since getting called up to Los Angeles in late April 2018 all Muncy has done is produce at the plate at an elite level.