It can be argued that players like Clayton Kershaw and Brett Gardner were unfairly left out of the 2015 MLB All-Star Game, but Alex Rodriguez has been garnering the most attention as the biggest snub. While last year’s National League MVP and the New York Yankees’ outfielder still have a chance to make the team with a final fan vote, A-Rod will be left out of the festivities.
After missing all of 2014 because of a suspension for violating baseball’s substance-abuse policy, Rodriguez is having his best season at the plate since he helped New York win the World Series in 2009. Having played 77 games at the time of the final All-Star selection, Rodriguez is hitting .284 with 16 home runs and 47 RBI. His .390 on-base percentage and .513 slugging percentage are both his best in the last six years.
Based purely on his offensive statistics, it’s somewhat hard to believe that A-Rod won’t be playing in the game on Tuesday, July 14. He ranks fourth in the AL in OPS, and he’s the only American League player with an OPS over .900 that was left off the team.
Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost will coach the AL team, having led the Royals to the 2014 World Series. After replacing the injured Miguel Cabrera with Mark Teixeira, Yost was in charge of picking seven players to the team, leaving Rodriguez off the roster. He even left him off the “Final Vote” ballot, which gives fans a chance to vote for one of five players for the final spot on each team.
"We talked about A-Rod a lot," Yost said on ESPN, via NJ.com. "You look back at this five-man vote and we have three infielders, two outfielders, and we felt that it was important that we don't — we have Brock Holt that can play anywhere in the infield, but any other position we have a starter and a backup. In the outfield we have three starters and three backups. So I just felt very strongly that if we could get another infielder or another outfielder out of that five-man vote it would help us. That's what went in that decision."
Rodriguez has barely seen any time in the field. He’s played four games at third base and two games at first base. Playing at first base for the first time in his career, Rodriguez committed two errors in his first game at the position.
Holt, the final position player named to the roster, hasn’t put up eye-popping offensive numbers. But his .383 OBP and ability to play multiple positions at a high level have given him a higher WAR (3.1) than that of A-Rod (2.2).
The rules required Yost to select a member of the Boston Red Sox to be represented at the All-Star Game. His other option would have been Clay Buchholz, who has a 3.27 ERA and ranks tied for fifth among all MLB pitchers in FIP.
Nelson Cruz was voted in by the fans to be the AL’s starting DH. His 21 home runs rank third in the league, and Rodriguez only has an advantage over him in OBP.
Prince Fielder was named the backup designated hitter, and he’s certainly proven to be deserving enough to make the team. His .347 average ranks second in the AL, while his home run (13) and RBI (50) totals are comparable to that of A-Rod.
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the players didn’t vote to have Rodriguez be one of the reserves. He’s one of the most-hated players in baseball, and had been so even before his second suspension for using PED’s. The players chose one backup for each position, as well as eight pitchers for the AL team.