It’s almost that time of the year when baseball takes its annual break to celebrate the best of the best. All-Star week kicked off for fans this Friday with the big game coming Tuesday, July 19. All the picks for the game are in; for the most part, fans did a good job picking the starters. Reserves, also, are full of deserving nods. Sometimes, with the requirement that all 30 teams must have one All-Star, some obvious choices are missed in favor of representation. For the most part, that hasn’t been a significant issue.

Still, no year is perfect. With all the talent out there, there were still some major misses on the All-Star roster. For some, it’s understandable. There are certain positions that are incredibly top-heavy and thus it’s hard to break through. Still, there were plenty of deserving candidates who could’ve made the All-Star game in another year.

Let’s look at some of the biggest, saddest snubs that came out of this year’s selection.

Dylan Cease Deserves an All-Star Nod

White Sox pitcher Dylan Cease is as deserving of an All-Star appearance as anyone.

This miss might be the most criminal because Dylan Cease is provably better than many of the other pitchers on the AL roster. Yes, the White Sox have underwhelmed this year, but Cease has remained one of the best pitchers in the entire league. He owns a stellar 2.30 ERA with a 2.74 FIP to boot. Among all starting pitchers, he’s been by far the best strikeout artist on a rate basis. With 13.1 strikeouts per nine innings, he comes in well ahead of the next best pitcher, Cy Young Award favorite Shane McClanahan, at just under 12 K/9. Everything combines to give him an eye-popping 172 ERA+, seventh in all of baseball.

A number of pitchers on the All-Star roster don’t even sniff these numbers. Nestor Cortes Jr., Gerrit Cole, Paul Blackburn, Framber Valdez, etc. can’t match the ERA and strikeout prowess of Cease. This isn’t to say those pitchers aren’t deserving All-Stars. Rather, it’s to say how criminal it is that, through initial choices and replacements, Cease has continuously been passed over for objectively worse players. It’s frustrating, to say the least, and an affront to someone who’s as deserving of the honor as anyone.

Josh Bell is Belting Homers With the Best of Them

Josh Bell deserved an All-Star nod for his stellar walk year performance.

While it’s hard to argue with Juan Soto being named an All-Star again for the Nationals, Josh Bell is nearly as deserving of the honor. In his walk year, Bell couldn’t be having a better season. The first baseman is just behind his teammate in OPS+ with a 159 mark. That’s ninth in all of baseball and only a few points off of MVP hopefuls like Manny Machado and Jose Ramirez. He’s also among the MLB leaders in batting average, tied with Tim Anderson at a .311 clip. He’s not slugging as much as normal (13 home runs so far), but the increase in average and on-base has made him a very productive player. It’s all made him worth an impressive 3.4 WAR.

Given the number of offensive giants on the NL roster, it’s hard to say who exactly Bell could replace. It’s hard to argue that he’s not deserving though. Considering that his bat places him among the top hitters in all of baseball, it’s a shame that he won’t get to go to LA this year.

Kevin Gausman is Much Better Than the Numbers Show

Among the smattering of pitchers left off the All-Star roster, Kevin Gausman is baffling for one reason in particular. While his ERA is great at 2.87 and his WHIP is solid enough at 1.287, he is the champion of FIP. No pitcher has a lower FIP than Gausman’s eye-popping 1.84. If he could lower his ERA to somewhere within the range of that number, he’d be a Cy Young Award frontrunner. He’d also easily beat out his All-Star competition as was the case for Cease. Gausman has such a great FIP due to an absurdly low home run rate of 0.3 which also handily leads the league. Even though his already great 139 ERA+ is worse than last year, underlying stats betray his brilliance.

Missing Gausman feels like there’s no care for some of the deeper numbers. On the surface, there’s already a case for him to appear over some of the guys mentioned earlier. Yet, when you dig a little, it’s clear that he’s a special player. The Blue Jays already have one excellent starter on the roster in Alek Manoah, but in reality, they should have two.

Zack Wheeler Couldn’t Punch His Ticket to Los Angeles

Zack Wheeler is the ace of the Phillies but still couldn't earn an All-Star nod.

There’s a fair argument for either Aaron Nola or Zach Wheeler to be All-Stars. The duo of Phillies pitchers has been dominant once again. Yet, while Nola has the higher WAR, Wheeler comes with an even lower ERA. In just under 100 innings, he has a 2.89 ERA and a 1.084 WHIP. Even with the lower WAR, he’s still top 10 among NL pitchers along with his teammate Nola. Arguably, Wheeler is even better than the numbers will tell you too. His FIP is only 2.70, indicating a bit of bad luck for the right-hander and proving that his dominance is all-too-real. That FIP is also fifth in the sport, behind the likes of McClanahan, Max Fried, Carlos Rodon, and fellow snub Gausman.

The National League definitely had pitchers Wheeler could’ve been selected over or, at the very least, was similar to. The recently selected Miles Mikolas and Tyler Anderson both have their merits. Still, Wheeler bests the former in FIP and the latter in ERA, FIP, and WAR. It just feels a bit wrong to shut out the Phillies’ duo of aces from the All-Star game considering what they’ve accomplished.

Brandon Drury Should’ve Bashed His Way to the All-Star Game

Brandon Drury deserved his first All-Star nod with the Cincinnati Reds.

The Cincinnati Reds have been pretty awful, but one bright spot is the surprise breakout of Brandon Drury. After years of being a merely okay player, Drury found another gear in 2022 with the Reds similar to Derek Dietrich in 2019. He currently owns a 129 OPS+ this year, by far the best of his career, but his main draw has been the power. Drury’s best power season came in 2016 when he hit 16 bombs with the Diamondbacks. In over 150 fewer plate appearances this year, Drury has 18. That’s mostly due to a massive power surge in June where he launched eight home runs and slugged over .600. Still, he’s kept a great pace into July and is still the main offensive threat on the Reds.

By stats, Drury may have the least compelling case of all the snubs. He’s been a great slugging third baseman, but with how many good third basemen there are around the league, he’s in a crowded field. Even among the Reds, Luis Castillo was hard to deny. With a 2.77 ERA and 3.1 WAR, he’s also deserving of a spot on the roster. Still, it’s frustrating to see a feel-good All-Star story be denied.

Thank you for reading! Check out Belly Up’s MLB content for more baseball coverage. If you want to keep up with me, follow me on Twitter.

About Author

Ryan O'Rourke

Ryan O'Rourke is a recent graduate from Eureka College and contributor to FanSided's Cubbies Crib. He's a diehard Chicago Cubs fan and roots for the Windy City in everything except football where he defects to Green Bay.

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